The crowning of Shahril Ishak as the S-League’s Player of the Year for the 2010 season is a sad indictment of the moral state of local football.
Sure, the 26-year-old midfielder and playmaker may have had a stellar season with Home United, his performances and 17 goals playing a major part in Home’s pursuit of the title.
But the fact remains that Shahril left his club to join Indonesia Super League side Persib Bandung several matches before the end of the season.
And as The New Paper astutely noted in its report: “After his departure, the Protectors never regained the momentum to keep their title charge going and finished third.”
The New Paper also quoted Shahril as saying that he had no choice but to take up the offer from Persib Bandung.
“I feel sad that my team struggled after I left. But it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to leave for Indonesia. I had to take it,” he said.
I do not deny that Shahril is a highly-talented player and that he had a great season with Home.
But regardless of how Shahril chose to explain it, the fact remains that he had abandoned his club for a higher-paying opportunity at a crucial stage of the title race. Mind you, his departure didn’t just jeopardise Home’s title chances. It also dealt a huge blow to the attractiveness of the competition.
All this, in my book, should have automatically disqualified him from being even nominated for the Player of the Year award in the first place.
And yet, the S-League chose to put him on a pedestal instead. In doing so, they have sent the wrong message to all other young aspiring footballers.
On his part, Shahril should have also done the noble thing and declined the nomination from the start.
Shame on you, S-League.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan