Posts Tagged ‘Football’


I cannot resist the temptation to reproduce this letter below, because, this is exactly how most of my Sabahan friends feel about this much hyped up movie “OLA BOLA”.

Here goes….

I was at the Stadium Merdeka on 6, 1980 when James Wong scored the winning goal against South Korea. With this victory, we qualified for the Moscow Olympics.

I therefore made it a point to go and see the hyped movie Ola Bola, a movie based on the true story of the victorious team and to relive that magical moment when two fellow Sabahans created and scored the winning goal for Malaysia.

I came out of the cinema hall feeling rather despondent. This was a true story that was altered and twisted for reasons best known to Director Chiu Keng Guan and his scriptwriters.

Ever since I was young, it was always drummed into my head that we must render onto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

So when Chiu Keng Guan decided to credit the winning goal to Khalid Ali in his movie and not to James Wong, that was a total disappointment.

That was a white lie and went against what I was thought to believe about giving credit when it is due.

Chiu has “dismissed complaints about factual inaccuracies by pointing out that the film is just inspired by true events”, what rubbish!

Did I read that correctly? True events? Was it not James Wong that scored the winning goal?

Was the score not 2-1 in favour of Malaysia and not 3-2? If the story line is based on “true events” how could anyone ignore the truth?

To give credit where it is due, the film was well executed. The cinematography was great. The story-line of comradeship and determination was excellent and this is 1Malaysia at its best.

There were Chinese, Indians, Sikh, Malays, West Malaysians and East Malaysians all coming together as one to bring glory to the Nation.

The movie showed us what true grit and determination can achieve.

But to change what was the one magical moment that we are all know belongs to James Wong is totally unacceptable by any standard.

Either the film’s Director deliberately changed the facts upon instruction to fit a political master race agenda in order to enjoy Finas funding or he and his scriptwriter did not do enough research on that game and the history behind it. Why they did that is best left to the imagination.

There is a lot of negative perception about this including if there was a hidden agenda behind changing the actual goal scorer from James to Ali. This is a question best left to Director Chiu and his scriptwriter to answer.

For me personally and the thousands of football fans who were there in  Stadium Merdeka you will NEVER, ever convince us that it was not James Wong who scored the winning goal for Malaysia.

You can try taking glory away from James but you will never take away what is etched in my memory – that one magical moment in time when two SABAHANS combined together to produce what was possibly the highest achievement of the Malaysian football team of the 80s.

Thank you Hassan! Thank you James! Shame on you Chiu and Astro!

Note : This letter came out in the Daily Express Sabah


HE was a hard-drinking, chain-smoking free thinker grappling with the higher reaches of truth passed on to posterity by Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx in an awesome Victorian auditorium of a Rio de Janerio University.

He was a head-banded, flamboyant young man with curly brown locks unlocking the splendour of Brazilian country music to an entranced audience.

He was a fiery-eyed left-wing activist, a Che Guevara-type radical spouting slogans while leading a student march to restore democracy in his country.

He was a professional paediatrician hugging sick children at a UNICEF health camp with the missionary zeal of a Mother Teresa.

Socrates Brasilero Sampio de Souza de Oliviera, who passed away on Sunday in Brazil, was all of these…and more. He was one of the most gifted players produced by the greatest of soccer-playing nations, Brazil, in the post-Pele era.

A rebel with a cause, Socrates had a stupendous ability to combine stardom with creative ability on the field. His one-two passing symphony with his team-mate and friend Zico had a Mozartian magnificence.

As the eldest of a middle-rung government official’s 10 sons, as a brilliant young medical student, Socrates was intensely in search of an identity in the fragmented world of the late 1970s.

“I am not a footballer. I am a human being,” he screamed at mediapersons early in his career, apparently fed up with their one-track line of questioning. It was the cry of a man trying to free himself from the chains of a media-manufactured image, the struggle of a very intelligent human being trying to shake off a straitjacket.

It is this protean quality that set Socrates apart from some of the most brilliant players of his era. Deeply rebellious against the over-ordering of life, on and off the football field, he was quintessential nonconformist.

“He would sing a song and all of us wound enjoy it. Then, almost suddenly, Socrates would go into a shell, an impenetrable shell of his own. We knew him, yet we did not know him,” said a team-mate of his when Socrates was playing for the Sao Paulo giant Corinthians.

To be sure, it would take more than an average footballer to have come to terms with Socrates’ multi-faceted personality. For, the Socrates persona was as contradictory as it was compelling. He was a man in search of individual freedom in an age ruled by conformity and organisation, both in and out of football.

If you ever saw a cold-blooded master of life’s capriciousness — someone with knowledge of Nietzsche’s amor fati — then you can picture Socrates striding back nonchalantly after missing a crucial penalty in a World Cup semifinal against France in Mexico.

It is not as if Socrates was an incurable eccentric with a finger on the self-destruct button. He loved the game as much as he loved anything else in life. But he knew sport was just sport, not a matter of life or death. He would have been more devastated by the death of a child in a Rio health facility than a missed World Cup penalty.

Never one to beat around the bush, Socrates admitted early in his career that it was for big money that he temporarily abandoned his life as a doctor to become a footballer. “As a footballer, I get much quicker to the financial stability I need to be what I want to be: a doctor for the poor,” he said.

On the field, he was a master. With Zico and Falcao, he was part of a midfield that was rarely matched in the entire history of the game. So confident were these men about their own skills that they ignored their defensive weaknesses as a resurgent Paolo Rossi of Italy claimed a hat-trick to dump them from the 1982 World Cup.

He made his presence felt in the 1986 World Cup too, but soon the game was up for Doc. But another one, perhaps more rewarding — serving the poor as a doctor and becoming a sagacious commentator on television — began.

“Life is not about quantity. It is about quality,” Socrates said over 30 years ago. By modern standards, he died young.

He drank his way to his grave, like so many other sportspersons. But the difference is, he was a wise man who did know exactly what he was doing. It was his hemlock.

This is contributed by Nirmal Shekar from New Delhi


Billionaire Malaysian media mogul Ananda Krishnan is the man reportedly behind RM460.6 million bid to buy English football club Newcastle United, according to The Sun newspaper in the United Kingdom.

The Sun reported that Ananda, who controls Maxis Communications, gaming group Tanjong plc, Measat and Astro, is closing in on the deal to end Mike Ashley’s nightmare two-year “Toon” reign.

An official announcement on the deal is expected next week.

The British tabloid said the deal represents loose change to the 71-year-old, who is Southeast Asia’s third richest man reportedly worth £4.5 billion. But as the deal has not been sealed, other consortia remain in the running to buy the crisis-hit club.

The Sun said that Ananda is the favourite. All major newspapers in the UK reported this morning that a Malaysian consortium had submitted an £80m bid to Ashley for control of Newcastle United yesterday. The Malaysians were shown round St James’ Park on Thursday.

Another consortium, from the United States, had been regarded as the favourite but when the Malaysians flew to London with Newcastle’s Managing Director Derek Llambias, that perception changed.

Ashley reportedly wants £100 million for the club but is expected to accept the lower offer.

Newcastle United will play its football in the Coca Cola Championship next season after being relegated from the English Premier League.

Former club captain and England legend Alan Shearer took over as interim manager in April but failed to steer the club from the drop. Ananda is said to favour the Shearer’s permanent appointment as manager.

The Malaysian tycoon was also reported to be ready to provide funds for the club’s transfer kitty in its bid to quickly rebound back to top-flight football.