|The David Beckham of Malaysia?|
For the last couple of days, Malaysia has been buzzing on Safee Sali's becoming the first Malaysian millionaire footballer, and also the other related issues: the FIFA's ban on Persatuan Sepak Bola Seluruh Indonesia (PSSI) that some parties, in particular our own FAM (Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia) seems prefer not to take the issue seriously enough.
To refresh our memory, let me take you into the historical fact that made PSSI in such a quandary state. Like in any other country, including our dearest Malaysia, having a seat in the football board is very much similar to contesting for public office. Many wants it. It spells power. And wealth. Personally, I don't mind if the football association is handled by former players or some one that has massive experience in world of football. Since I am writing on PSSI, do not think I am excluding FAM in this subject. We're talking about football's politic. We saw with horror the havoc in the world governing body of FIFA when they sacked Mohamed bin Hammam.
The subsequent inferno from the political battle fought in PSSI for the top echelon's post, forced FIFA to ban PSSI on April 4, 2011. According to a worldfootballinsider.com, FIFA have brought an end to the career of disgraced Indonesian FA (PSSI) president Nurdin Halid and devolved the current PSSI executive committee of all of its responsibilities after FIFA's emergencies committee decreed it was "not in control of football in Indonesia" and had lost "all credibility."
FIFA's emergency committee met April 1 and announced on April 4 that control of the PSSI would pass to a normalisation committee made up of personalities in Indonesian football to oversee presidential elections by 21 May. It also barred Halid from standing, along with three other candidates - George Toisutta, Arifin Panigora and Nirwan Bakrie - from standing.
The development follows fears that Halid - a two time graft convict - and his colleagues seeking to manipulate the electoral process ahead of planned FA elections scheduled for later this month.
In late March 2011, FIFA castigated the discredited leadership of the PSSI after it prevented a FIFA observer from attending a special congress it had ordered, and for falsely claiming that football’s world governing body ordered the cancellation of the meeting.
FIFA said in a statement April 4 that the current PSSI leadership's lack of control over Indonesian football was evidenced by "the failure to gain control of the run-away league (Liga Premiere, LPI) set up without the involvement of PSSI or by the fact it could not organise a congress whose sole goals were to adopt an electoral code and elect an electoral commission."
It said that its emergency committee had concluded that the PSSI leadership "had lost all credibility" and was no longer "in a position anymore to lead the process to solve the current crisis."
A normalisation committee made up of personalities in Indonesian football who are not seeking electoral office or a position on an electoral commission is to take over running of Indonesian football until new leadership is elected by May 21.
FIFA has vested the normalisation committee with a threefold "mission": "to organise elections based on the FIFA electoral code and PSSI statutes before 21 May 2011; to bring the run-away league under PSSI control or have it stopped as soon as possible; to run the day-to-day activities of PSSI in a spirit of reconciliation for the good of the Indonesian football."
What happened then until now? It is still in quandary, I say.
So the next question is, why oh why did Safee Sali, when he has been clearly advised by FAM to quit Indonesia, decided to stay put? His quick-thinking manager was quoted as saying ``if the Indonesian league is haram, I will be the first to take Safee out''. Wow, that is really assuring.
I have no issues for Safee to earn RM2 million in the Indonesian league. I have the highest respect for the Indonesian TIMNAS. They have a good squad. A nation of more than 250 million population, yet Indonesia still requires import players to win them matches. It would be a matter of time before some one in PSSI would approach Safee if he wants to represent Indonesian TIMNAS.
Based on the contract announced to the public, Safee has a specific clause in his RM2 million contract that when ever, if ever the Indonesian league is found haram, he will be transferred to another club co-owned by Pelita Jaya owner. How convenience it is since not many clubs in the world is co-owned by a single entity. Pelita Jaya must be the richest club in the world to have sister clubs in Australia and Belgium. Manchester United, eat your heart out!
Yes it is true Safee's career can be saved by switching him to another club, if the situation forced him to do so. But what about the other less-important thing for some of us; that Safee could be disqualified to play for the national team due to his participation in the haram league?. At the time of writing, many would love to quash away the question because `there isn't any letter from FIFA about the eligibility of Safee, thus making him OKAY to carry on playing in Indonesia and donning the Malaysian jersey later on'.
Based on today's Malaysian media report, that was what the FAM gave as an assurance to the whole 27 million people of Malaysia. ``No letter means OKAY''. I say this kind of assurance must be came straight from the pile left by herds of donkeys.
Can some one tell FAM to be a bit proactive, such as sending a formal query to FIFA, so that this issue won't be hanging in the air, so that Safee can enjoy his RM2 million to the fullest and we, Malaysian can see him scoring again and again for the national team. A simple complaint from other contesting country in the ASEAN Cup is sufficient to rock the already unstable Safee's boat. Do you really think Indonesia's PSSI would protect Safee by then? After all, Safee would be the opponent striker for the so-called Malingsia team.
The onus is on FAM to get the FIFA's formal stand. Not because of Safee's being a Pelita Jaya player but because there is a serious concerned of his eligibility to represent Malaysia in the near future. If we lose Safee to this silly situation, the losses would cost Malaysia more than RM2 million. Definitely. A striker of Safee's calibre doesn't come too often. In a penalty box, Safee is one of the best finisher Malaysia has seen for many decades. He has proven that his killer instinct not only in the domestic matches but also in the international arena.
We can't fault him if he chooses money over everything else. Who wouldn't? So FAM must be proactive to solve his status. Once and for all. MALAYSIA BOLEH!