Though Singapore din qualify to fly in this year's world cup, we are represented by a referee, who is chosen to be the elite group of 23 officials to officiate in the world cup. This is no mean feat, considering that this is only the second time a Singaporean has been shortlisted and only 23 from all over the world to be selected makes it a great honour.
However, a german football official made disparaging remarks this week about our local league and our top referee who is going to the world cup. He is furious that his country's best has been left out of the 23. "One referee who usually work in the student city league in Singapore is going to the world cup and Fandel (the german ref) is left in the cold, no one knows why." "You cant treat that the public are dumb, if they are talking about having the best refs, then a couple of the best, at least from Europe are missing."
This guy is one idiot. For the record 50 referees were short listed and went thru interviews and selection tests in europe before they are chosen for the world cup. And our top ref din only officiate in the s league, he was an official for the African Nations Cup (the most prestiguous nation football tournament in Africa). And he was the ref officiating the second leg of world cup qualifier play-off between Uruguay and Australia.
We cant compare the quality of nations who have qualified for the world cup, For example, is Togo better than China? Why is China not in the World Cup and Togo in the world cup? This is because Togo qualified as one of the best in their continent but China din do well in Asia. We have to understand that this is a world cup, not some Euro competitions, so all continents have to be represented, in every aspect. Its obvious that our top ref did better than his euro counterparts in those selection test so just accept it and move on!
Anyway i've sent a email to the German Fooball Association, as follow:
I am sending this email Singapore, one of the smallest country in the world situated in Asia. I feel deeply disappointed and disgusted by one of your official's disparaging comments on my country's top referee Shamsul Maidin, who is going to officiate in the world cup 2006, and our football league.
I read in our nation's newspaper this morning that German Football Association referees spokesman Mr. Manfred Amerell complained about how Europe finest Referees are not selected yet a little known referees is chosen to officiate in the world cup. This is not something we expect to hear from a top nation' football officials just before the world cup, let alone from the host nation.
Our ref went for the selection tests like all refs shortlisted for the world cup did, and he got in with his own merits, nobody should doubt FIFA on that. But to criticize him and my nation's fooball league as a "student city league" is unacceptable. Where is the respect we are talking about before this world cup, which aims to "make new friends", chosen as its slogan?
This ref is one who officiated in African Nations Cup and the playoff second leg of World Cup Qualifier between Australia and Uruguay, your official should check up the records before he speak so publicly of his ignorance.
I hope this German Official will step out and clear the air, for he offended Singaporeans and possibly, Asians.