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Confession to make

I admitted that I'm one of those strongly advocated the use of naturalized citizens to play for the national team, though I maintained that not at the expenses of "sacrifice" our local players.

Been wondering if whatever happened to Agu Casmir and Itimi Dickson had shifted my point of view.

Don't get me wrong.

I am not saying other naturalized players are not committed, it just that the unprofessional attitude shown by these former Nigerians had reflected badly on the rest.

Not surprisingly, letters had been pouring in questioning the selection criteria under the Foreign Talent Scheme (FTS).

It certainly hard to stomach the thoughts that some are merely making use of their sporting talents to gain the coveted red passport.

Furthermore, if memory served me well I still recalled in his first interview as Singapore citizen, Itimi mentioned that he is putting in effort to learn to sing the national anthem.

Barely a year later, the same player seems to be in a "bochup" attitude following the exit from SEA Games, by mocking a follow team mate who was being interviewed by a journalist.

This morning, more shocking revelation revealed the astronomical figure paid to them (Agu and Itimi) last year had further condemned the duo to new lows.

Angry voices bound to be heard despite the justification made at the same time by FAS, their former employers.

But there are signs telling us that the relevant authority are “reviewing” some of the suggestions proposed by the angry public, which included issuing “provisional” citizenship.

However, I wasn't keen about the idea of giving out this “provisional” citizenship as it might encourage mercenaries to don the national colours till their “assignment” is over and walk off with a lump sum of gratuity for the “effort”.

Instead, some form of punishment should be meted out to stop the thing from getting out of hand.

For a start, get these errant guys to do what all Singapore guys supposed to do – SERVE THE NS!

Sure thing to do, why not? After all, being footballers those physical trainings should make them appreciate how lucky they are.

Just ask another naturalized player – Home Utd's Bah Mahmadou.

The former Gombak and Balestier man earned his call-up to the national team this year, used to be an air-con technician after out of contract with the Tigers two years ago.

While earning his bread and butter servicing the air-con, the Malian-born defender continued playing his football with in the low-tier NFL, before returning to the S-league with the Tigers again.

Which he later admitted in an interview last year, he would not want to go back to the lifestyle again and learned to appreciate what good the game had done to him.

So boys, it's better for you to WISE UP before SHIP OUT... the choice is yours..


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