Thursday, March 29, 2012

AFF SUZUKI CUP NEEDS A TOTAL OVERHAUL. …TURN IT INTO A FRIENDLY TOURNAMENT TO PROMOTE GOODWILL AMONGST ASEAN COUNTRIES.

By Mansor Puteh



Have a concert prior to the start of each match to entertain as well as educate the crowds and to soothe their emotions.

The Asean football federation (AFF) Suzuki cup tournament must have a new concept, so that old British-style football which creates hooliganism does not influence some of the supporters of the countries taking part in it, especially Indonesia.

Turn it into the AFF Suzuki cup friendly tournament with the officials from the respective football associations, their political leaders and media highlighting different aspects of the tournament.

Fans and supporters are not allowed to don the jerseys of their national teams so they are allowed and encouraged to co-mingle in the stadium to watch the matches.

In this way they are vulnerable so they know how to behave better.

It is very bad to have them placed in different sections in the stadium where they can misbehave themselves where they can also feel empowered by it.

And putting them in the dark can prove to be effective as what the match at Gelora Bung Karno between Malaysia and Indonesia on 29 December, 2010 had proven, if they misbehave themselves. 

The other competing countries do not have problems with unruly supporters other than Indonesia.

The problem is that the AFF Suzuki Cup does not have a clear reason to have the tournament in the first place.

So what they can do from now is to turn it into a friendly tournament.

What this means is that the national teams and their countries as well as their supporters do not talk about the winning team, but those which exhibit the most grace.

This tournament is therefore aimed to promote goodwill amongst nations.

It cannot be used or copy British and the European football leagues which stress on which team or country is the best.

Media promotion of hooliganism of the rowdy supporters of some of the British football teams had been publicized in many newspapers around the world; this encouraged many in Malaysia and more so in Indonesia to follow suit.

When in the past they would go to the stadiums dressed properly, now they have to turn themselves into clowns.

It’s not just that they want to don the jerseys of their favorite teams but they also want to create a ruckus to attract themselves, and to create street theater and are allowed to spout venomous comments which the media always finds interesting to comment.

The supporters have been encouraged to provide color to the matches. But they have soiled the colors of their own national flags and jerseys.

Malaysian and also ASEAN football have developed by leaps and bounds, so has the type of support that their teams can get from their supporters.

In the ASEAN region, winning should be the least of our concern. The utmost concern is how the tournament can be used to promote goodwill.

If this can be stressed, the supporters of Indonesia can be educated to appreciate this concept and in time they can learn how to behave more properly.

And there must also be audience prizes for the best behaved supporters.

The only reasons why the Indonesian supporters at the finals in Jakarta last night had to 'behave' was that the lights were not lit on them, so they could not exhibit the protests and banners to themselves and to the viewers on live television.

The Malaysian officials other than the team officials were also not shown on live television so they could not be targeted.

These are probably moves that were implemented by FIFA and the Indonesian security officials to clamp down on unnecessary protests.

Yet, the newspapers in Malaysia are still at it by highlighting the negative behaviors of some of the unreasonable Indonesian supporters who carried soiled Upin & Ipin toys when they could have highlighted comments and actions by the many other Indonesian supporters which are positive.

That’s stupid Malaysian journalism at its worst. The journalist must be given the Worst Journalist Award even though it was the editor who published his stupid story. The two of them should share the award then.

The persons involved did not have anything to say; they only want to be seen. And they got what they had wanted, courtesy of old Malaysian journalism which still likes to sensationalize such trivial issues.

If they were not given any prominence and promotion by the media, they would stop doing such things in the future.

Even prime minister, Najib Tun Razak and Indonesian president Susilo's personal comments on the second leg of the finals between Malaysia and Indonesia are not intelligent.

What they should have said was that the match between Malaysia and Indonesia must be seen as a divine way to encourage greater interaction and understanding between the peoples of the two countries.

They should not deal with petty personal and selfish concerns on what chances their national teams had to win the Cup.

So it is disappointing to hear the two saying such things which must not be allowed even by the ordinary supporters, as it could inflame unnecessary passion amongst the supporters of their national teams, especially if they lose.

In fact, even if Indonesia had won the Cup, they would misbehave even more, to taunt the Malaysian team and country.

But at least the final match at Gelora Bung Karno went on well.

This proves that the unruly supporters of the Indonesian team had lost.

So instead of them having a ball throughout the match, they were not seen on television as their image had been darkened when the lights on them were not lit so they could not show their true colors and the words on the banners they had painstakingly created and brought to the stadium.

At the same time, the persons who had earlier wanted to spray laser beams at the Malaysian goal-keeper could not do it as he could be pinpointed in the darkness.

It is therefore a pity if football matches of international tournaments must be held in such a situation with the viewers purposely hidden from their own crowd and on television.

Will this teach them a lesson in future, if they still want to be seen and heard? They have to behave properly if they want this to happen.

And wouldn’t it be good also if the matches can open with some concerts where entertainers and cultural troupes from the participating countries appear for one hour prior to the start of the matches?

This can be done and it can definitely help to promote better understanding of each other’s cultures and to soothe the emotions and nerves of some of those who may want to create unnecessary issues.

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