NOTA RAZAK CHIK
The Malaysian national football team – dubbed Malayan Tigers – returned home to great fanfare on Sunday (16 December 2018). Unlike other football outings, the players, manager and coaches got a heroes’ welcome and were still feted as the nation’s football saviours, despite losing one-nil in Hanoi (thereby losing 3-2 on aggregate in the two-legged final).
If one were to study the Malaysian football team players lineup, one name looks oddly out-of-place – that of Mohamadou Sumareh.
For the sake of football heathens, he is Gambian-born, 24-year-old player who easily stands out in the starting line-up. At just under six-feet tall, he still is an imposing figure, especially when marshalling Malaysia’s once notoriously brittle backline.
His inclusion in the Malaysian national team has raised eyebrows, seen as a way for Malaysia to climb up from the depths of football doldrum in its dismal FIFA rankings.
African-born footballers are making waves in the world’s most fashionable football leagues from Belgium to Great Britain and as far north from Moscow to Milan.
Importing foreign talent, awarding them a passport and offering them citizenship is not new. Zola Budd who ran for Great Britain against Mary Slaney in the Olympics comes to mind, and Singapore’s cunning tactic of harvesting China’s table talent pool at its nurturing stage has brought it a veritable harvest at the world level.
Razak Chik resorts to soliloquy to lead the call for #MoreMoForMalaysia.