The bola is more than just bulat

Haresh Says as published in The Malay Mail today

We sat at a regular mamak restaurant in Bukit Jalil, drinking teh-o as a camera crew of three stood in front of us.

It was a typical setting of football show Bola@Mamak which, sadly, is no longer aired over Astro Supersport.

There was an episode where I sat next to former KL player Stanley Bernard Stephen Samuel and another guest jokingly referred to him as a 'professional injured footballer'.

Stanley featured for India’s Sporting Clube de Goa and MyTeam. He is still itching to get back on the field but a long knee injury has seen him taking up a new role — as a pundit and a match commentator.

Stanley is not alone. Newly appointed T-Team assistant coach Azlan Johar, who once coached KL Malay Mail thanks to an offer made by then team manager Tony Mariadass, made his name as a pundit and commentator for Astro Arena over the years.

During the recent Malaysia-FC Barcelona match, Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak provided analysis before, during half time and after the match as it was aired live by TV3.

Former national squash player Sharon Wee is now a regular face on Astro Arena while former international Minarwan Nawawi does live hockey matches.

Even Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who announced her retirement last week, will now be a TV pundit for the US Open next week.

As the Malaysia Cup kicked off yesterday, our ‘professional injured players’, former footballers and coaches will be part of the drama — outside the field. They will be called up to provide commentaries, analyses and updates for football fans.

There have been instances where these athletes received the wrath of fans and compatriots. Some claim they do not possess the flair compared to their European counterparts.

This should not be seen as a setback for such criticism is important to ensure our commentators and pundits progress further. Indirectly, this will also encourage athletes to speak eloquently and better express themselves.

Such confidence will go a long way for they will learn how to interact with people outside the circle. It will allow them to think out of the box, to understand what is it like to analyse a situation and provide a solution.

Gone are the days when athletes had limited options once they retired. Today they can turn to showbiz.

Here’s a shout out to our athletes who have made it big on the telly. May you provide better insights and avoid saying: bola itu bulat.

Haresh Deol is a news editor with The Malay Mail. He can be reached at and on Twitter @HareshDeol


  1. How come there's no articles/comments from you on JDT's loss to PKNS, Haresh?

  2. 'They must say what they want to say and, the heart must be able to "hear" what they say'

  3. Speaking of the latest development related to Lim Teong Kim's appointment as the technical head for football, as urged me to share my thought about one or two things which can be questionable in relation to the weaknesses of our policy makers on implementation.

    In the first place, can the above move by the policy makers, can guarantee hope? - we had before this some top coaches from around the world, but the problem remains the same. They are still lacking in vision and looking at the wrong place for answers. We need to educate and improve all the stake holders involved, particularly the sports coaches at all level of development before we can even thing of improving the sport itself.

    We need to improve the ability of the sports coaches in-order to improve the athlete. This area need urgent attention and improvement. We need moulders and character builders besides coaching the sport. We need to put a system in place to improve the role of the sports coaches at all level(grassroot)

    almost all the sports coaches we have today are lacking in so many areas due to the weaknesses in the coaching courses being offered - FAM particularly. We have coaches who don't even understand their role towards the society and nation building. They failed to leave any impact in the athlete they coach to acquire life long learning qualities.

    HSKL says: 'It has only become a routine rather then passion at the expense of the future generation.'


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