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Until When Do We Have To Wear Other Countries' Jersey During World Cup?
By Karina Imran And Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The Brazil 2014 World Cup final in the early hours of Monday will showcase the skills of players from football super powers Germany and Argentina.
Like other football fans from all over the world, many Malaysians will be glued to the television screen wearing the football jersey of countries they support.
The question is, how long do Malaysians have to wear other countries' jersey every time the Fifa World Cup, the most prestigious sports event, comes around?
Several national athletes who appear on the world stage hope the Harimau Malaya (Malaysian football) squad will one day qualify for the World Cup finals.
Diving queen Pandalela Rinong said as an athlete, she will be proud to wear the Malaysian jersey and support Harimau Malaya in the World Cup finals.
"Supporting our own team in the World Cup finals will make other athletes look up to Malaysian athletes. This does not only apply to football but also other sports," she said when contacted Saturday.
The London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medalist said the standard of Malaysian football has progressed much with the arrival of new talents who are willing to show their skills on the field.
"Whether it is football or other sports, only hard work and good performance of the athletes will bring success," she said in support of the Argentina team.
Former national hockey team skipper Azlan Misron said the quality of the Harimau Malaya squad is not as bad as made out to be by local football critics.
"We have a crop of talented players but to get to the World Cup fianls, we need to have strong players who play in the English Premier League (EPL)."
He believed the Harimau Malaya squad can be on par with EPL teams if they can master the 'Simple Play' technique adopted by the national hockey asquad.
Azlan was confident that new Harimau Malaya coach Dollah Salleh could bring major changes to Malaysian football if he opted to adopt 'Simple Play.'
Meanwhile, multiple Mr Universe winner bodybuilder Sazali Samad hopes the Harimau Malaya squad would one day qualify for the World Cup finals.
"I do not follow football much but as an athlete, I can only give my support and encouragement to the players for the progress of football in Malaysia.
He said Malaysia should emulate the example set by Asian countries Japan, South Korea and Iran which had qualified for the World Cup finals.
Sports critic Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim blamed the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for the country's failure at international level.
"There is no use in having members who do not know how to play football or know the rules. They must have a football background or at least played football.
"How can they run a professional team if they do not understand or know the basics of football."
Khoo said just like Malaysia in the 1970's, Brazil were feared by other football teams but it is different now.
"Host Brazil were humiliated in their back yard. This can be due to mistake of the management and players.
"Such a thing would not have happened if the management was competent in managing the team," he added.
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