Skip to main content

Phew, what a relief!

As published in Mailsport today

Haresh Deol

KUALA LUMPUR — It was a sensation Datuk Ong Kim Swee could not describe.

Right after Fifa informed FA of Malaysia (FAM) regarding a switch in the Palestine-Malaysia World Cup qualifying venue, the interim national coach quickly called his family.

Palestine were to host Saudi Arabia in Ramallah today and Malaysia on Nov 12 at the Dura Stadium in Hebron — a city which had been hit by numerous attacks between security forces and Palestinians in recent weeks.

Palestinian FA (PFA) were supposed to “provide Fifa urgently all the details of the chosen neutral ground for the hosting of both matches”. 

“My family were relieved. I was relieved as well after (FAM general secretary) Datuk Hamidin Amin broke the news,” he said.

Fifa had yesterday informed PFA the matches against Saudi Arabia and Malaysia must be played on neutral ground. 

Fifa said “the Palestinian government confirmed it cannot guarantee the safety and security around the two matches anymore”. 

Ong added: “The fear was still there. The players and coaching staff have been monitoring news reports of the tensed situation.

“I was torn between going to Hebron on Friday through Jordan or to only leave for Hebron on Monday. With this latest development, we have to make new plans.”

He hoped the travel arrangements would not be disrupted.

“We still have time on our side, unlike the Saudis who will play Palestine on Monday,” Ong said.
“More importantly, we can now focus on the game.”

The world body had in their letter said the match between Palestine and Saudi Arabia was postponed to Nov 9 while the clash between the war-torn nation and Malaysia remained on Nov 12.

Palestine had been looking forward to hosting both teams.

However, tensions between Israel and Palestine had surged, raising plenty of security fears. 

Saudi Arabia Football Federation and FAM had sent several letters to Fifa, appealing for a change in venue, who had insisted the matches would go on as planned.

Mailsport, had on Tuesday, reported FAM wrote to the world body on the same day and received a reply later in the evening, insisting the match would be held in Hebron.

The report also revealed Harimau Malaya’s participation in Hebron was also discussed by the Foreign and Sports Ministries.

Malaysia are virtually out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, having only collected four points from five matches in the five-team group.


Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.


It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.


UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.


A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…