Thursday, January 24, 2008


Setting a good example

As I talk to people in football here I always ask about the role of foreign players and I always get the same response. They are here to pass on their technical know how and skills; they are here to set a good example.

26 year old Cameroonian Emile Mbamba is without doubt one of the most talented foreign players currently in the Liga. Strong, pacy, prolific scorer, he would benefit almost any team. Singlehandedly almost he has dragged Arema into the Play Offs since arriving in September.

His career has seen him play in Netherlands, Israel and Portugal as well as scoring in the Champions League.

Yesterday against Sriwijaya he was lucky to stay on the pitch for the full 90 minutes. After being pulled up for handball, rightly so proved the TV replays, Mbamba picked the ball up and raced for the linesman, throwing the ball at the official's head. Last week the fans, this week a player.

The referee gave a yellow card. It should have been red. He should be on his way out of the Arema. I wonder, would he have acted so pathetically in Europe? Would he have done that when he played against Juventus in the Champions League? I somehow doubt it.

He showed great disrespect to Indonesian football with that act. An act that couldn't be described as childish as I can imagine no child acting so dumb.

Of course he is not alone in getting upset when decisions go against him. Football is an emotional game and fans like to see their players show feeling on the pitch. But not assaulting the match officials. Not one week after the incidents of Kediri. Not ever.

The rest of the game he was a spoilt brat in a toy shop not allowed to buy anything. He complained to the ref, he complained to the linesmen. He complained at his team mates. For 90 minutes he shrugged and scowled at anything and everything.

Standards in the game here may not be what he is used to but as a professional he has a responsibility, not least to himself. If he wants a new contract back in Europe, in Indonesia or wherever he needs to rise above the fray. Let his undoubted talent hog the headlines and lead by example.


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