This report appeared in yesterday’s edition of The Straits Times:
Gombak left me in a bind: Emuejeraye (The Straits Times, 21 Jan 2009)
By Wang Meng Meng
NATIONAL defender Precious Emuejeraye has accused his former club, Gombak United, of leaving him in the lurch.
The new S-League season kicks off on Feb 16, but the 25-year-old is still without a team.
He said yesterday: ‘When the season ended in November, I had the impression that I would stay on with Gombak.
‘But, four days before the new year, I was told that I would be released. That came as a big shock.’
The centre-back missed virtually the entire 2008 campaign after undergoing surgery on his left knee and right ankle.
He recovered in time to play and score in the Bulls’ last league fixture, a 3-3 draw with eventual champions Singapore Armed Forces FC.
Gombak finished fifth in the 12-team league.
Emuejeraye, who lives with his wife and two-year-old daughter in a five-room flat in Jurong, said: ‘All the S-League clubs have assembled their squads. There is very little chance that a club will squeeze me in.
‘Gombak’s reason for letting me go after three seasons is not convincing. They said I was injured for long periods and the team did very well in my absence.
‘If that’s the case, they should have told me earlier. That would have given me a chance to sort out my future early.’
Gombak chairman John Yap declined to comment on his former player’s claims.
Capped 45 times by Singapore, Emuejeraye is part of the Lions backline that conceded just twice in the recent Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup – the tournament’s best defensive record.
And it is his international experience that has given him hope of securing a contract overseas.
Former Singapore captain Fandi Ahmad, now a coach in Indonesia, has alerted Indonesian Super League clubs to the Nigeria-born player’s availability….
Okay, here is something I don’t quite understand.
If Precious was, as according to the ST report, out of action for virtually the whole of the last S-League season because of surgery on his left knee and right ankle, and came back only in Gombak’s last game of the season, then surely it begs this question:
Was he fit enough to represent the Lions in the Suzuki Cup (also known as the Asean Football Championships)?
In fact, Precious was singled out as one of the Lions’ poorest performers in the tournament, even though Singapore, again according to the ST report, conceded only two goals throughout the competition.
He was even rated a 1/10 by radio DJ Glenn Ong after Singapore lost 0-1 to Vietnam in the second-leg of the Suzuki Cup semi-final at the National Stadium, a result which sent us out of the tournament.
So I am wondering here: if Precious was lacking in match fitness yet still consistently chosen as one of Raddy Avramovic’s first-team players, then really, what does this say about
a) the depth of talent in the Lions and
b) the level and quality of our local footballers that they cannot even nudge a recently-recovered Precious off the first eleven?
Is it any wonder then that the number of naturalised citizens playing for the Lions has been steadily increasing over the years from two back in 2002 (Brazilian Egmar Goncalves and Croatian Mirko Grabovac) to its current seven?
And is it any wonder then that we can now have the likes of Indra Sahdan proclaiming that quality is more important than workrate and effort and John Wilkinson that he doesn’t know if there are any other players out there who can come into the squad and do better than the current first 11?
It’s food for thought, but it also makes for very unpleasant thinking.
P/S It will be interesting to see if Precious continues to retain his place in the Lions’ first eleven now that he is club-less.
Think of it this way: if he is considered not good enough to play for Gombak United – an S-LEAGUE club, mind you, – then what does it say about the Lions if he continues to command a first-team spot?
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan