This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times. My observations appear after the report. Do note the ‘interesting’ parts that I have highlighted.
Please don’t make us scapegoats: Baihakki
(The Straits Times, 12 March 2010)
By Wang Meng Meng
BAIHAKKI Khaizan and Ridhuan Muhamad, the two national footballers at the centre of the latecoming controversy in Jordan, have apologised for their transgressions.
Baihakki, who plays for Indonesia Super League club Persija, said: ‘I am sorry to the coach and my teammates for being late. I didn’t do it on purpose.’
Arema Malang right-winger Ridhuan also issued an apology. But he explained the circumstances leading up to Lions coach Raddy Avramovic filing a report on the duo’s tardiness, which kept their teammates waiting for seven minutes on the team bus that was to take them for their Asian Cup qualifier against Jordan.
The 25-year-old said: ‘I wanted to apologise to the guys when I was on the bus but Raddy’s stern look scared me.’
Baihakki, a defender, added: ‘I wasn’t trying to be arrogant or act like a superstar. When I boarded the bus, Raddy was staring at Ridhuan and me. The way he stared at us was as if he wanted to eat us.
‘That’s why Ridhuan and I quickly sat down and kept quiet. I blocked the incident out of my mind immediately as I wanted to focus totally on the big match.’
With the two players, who were roommates in Amman, likely to face disciplinary action, Baihakki, 26, hopes that he will not be held responsible for the 1-2 defeat that ended Singapore’s hopes of qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup Finals.
He said: ‘I’m prepared to face the disciplinary committee. I will explain my side of the story. But don’t use this case to drop me. Don’t destroy my international career over seven minutes. Please don’t make Ridhuan and me the scapegoats for the defeat. We lost to a hungrier team.’
Avramovic has decided on the duo’s fate, but he declined to reveal his verdict for now.
Baihakki lamented that the issue came to light after Singapore’s loss, saying: ‘When we lose, big and small issues will start to come out. But when we win, everything looks so nice.’
Ridhuan, meanwhile, believes that he is a target of envy. He said: ‘Maybe, some people don’t like us. Just because Baihakki and I play in Indonesia, some people think we’re big-headed.
‘Honestly, we are still the same guys. We want to win for Singapore as much as everybody else
I’ve made up my mind: Baihakki Khaizan and Muhammad Ridhuan should not be made scapegoats for Singapore’s 1-2 loss to Jordan which ended the Lions’ hopes of qualifying for next year’s Asian Cup. The team’s failure was a collective one. Besides, we just weren’t good enough against Jordan.
But nevertheless, Baihakki and Ridhuan should be axed from the Lions’ squad, regardless.
Just look at their sorry excuse of an attempt at an apology, and ask yourselves: are these the sort of players we want in the national team?
In their own words, they didn’t apologise to the team for being late because they were scared of Raddy Avramovic. They were intimidated by his black face, and so they kept quiet.
So, was that a valid excuse for not apologising subsequently?
Let’s call a spade a spade.
If you are not man enough to stand up and admit you are wrong, even when you are fearful of the coach, then honestly, what sort of person are you? And how does that make you fit to be a Lion?
What was to stop them, while the bus was making its way to the stadium in Amman, to ask team manager Eugene Loo if they could have permission to apologise to the team for their tardiness?
Nothing, right? At most, if it had been rebuffed, they still could have said they tried to apologise.
What was to stop them from apologising in the locker room before the game? Wouldn’t that have done wonders for team unity minutes before the game?
Instead, they opted not to apologise, and in Baihakki’s words, tried to block the incident from their minds.
Which means they didn’t take into account the possibility that their teammates could have been resentful of their poor discipline en route to the stadiujm, Not very good for team unity, right?
And they only chose to apologise several days after the match, upon hearing about Avramovic’s decision to report their ill-discipline to the FAS.
In that light, their apologies don’t seem terribly sincere after all.
But what was most revealing was what these two clowns said to pad up their attempt at an apology.
Please don’t make us scapegoats, said Baihakki.
Also, he asked, why is it that when the Lions lose,m the big and small issues come out?
So is this what you think it is all about, Baihakki? That everyone is looking for a scapegoat?
Hasn’t it occured to you that your ill discipline, on the day of the big match, was unforgivable in itself?
And here’s another question: do you think your lateness is a big or a small issue?
If it is a big issue, then why are you apologising only now?
And if it is a small issue, then what does it say about you? Is lateness really such a small issue?
Ridhuan was even better. After attempting to apologise, this clown of a footballer says “Maybe some people don’t like us. Just because Baihakki and I play in Indonesia, some people think we are big-headed.”
The moment he said that, I knew his apology had no sincerity in it.
So is this you think this hoo-hah is all about, Ridhuan? Jealousy?
What about respect for the team and your teammates? Isn’t that the issue here?
And aren’t you supposed to be a professional footballer in Indonesia now?
If so, then how is it that you can be so unprofessional in your behaviour in the Singapore jersey?
Doesn’t playing for one’s country deserve a higher level of professional conduct?
I am flabbergasted at these two clowns. And I have had enough of them. Their attempt at an apology is a sheer insult to the Lions, to Avramovic, and to us long-suffering die-hard fans.
Please, Raddy, axe them.
They do not deserve to have the five stars and crescent on their chests from now on.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan