I have high regard for my close friend, blogger Loose Cannon. My respect for him are enormous and huge. He knows that. As friends, we are close. But we quarrel a lot too. Professionally, that is.
Today, my friend Loose Cannon feels that Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek has erred when he announced the move to send our National Under 23 players to England for attachment stint.
I would, however, like to give this Minister a benefit of doubt.
Yes, the same thing had been done before, in fact, countless times by different Sports Ministers who happen to need some publicity or to justify their 'shopping trip' to England.
This time around, as mentioned by the Minister, the emphasis will be on the effort to secure trial period with clubs in Europe. If the players are good enough, then clubs are free to sign them. No worries about contractual obligations or compensation payment, because FAM and Ministry own this players after 'buying out' their contracts from state or club teams.
For a start, a group of 30 players will be identified.
A friend of mine used to say 'you can't expect different results by doing the same thing.' True. But don't you think its too early for us to criticise when we dont really know what will they be doing?
We are pessimistic when it comes to our football. Remember the lesson from Vientiane? How many actually dare to predict confidently that we will win the gold medal in Laos? My esteemed colleague himself predict their challenge will end at the group stage. But we, pleasantly, were proven wrong.
I would like togive this idea a chance. Let's see what difference can this Minister bring to these approach. If he later proves to be just another 'shopping trip' minister, then we will know what to do.
* I am, however, opposed to the idea of putting the under-23 football team under the 'Road to London 2012' program. That is going too far in term of ridiculous idea, Mr Minister!