Sunday, March 05, 2006

much ado about Agu

Anger and outrage.
Those are 2 of the strong feelings shared by most Singapore football fans over the recent Agu Casmir episode.

About a month ago, Agu, formally of the Young Lions returned into the open arms of the FAS and Woodlands Wellington, with most fans outraged at his behaviour.
While the officials seem to be standing by him, i like most other fans are refusing to do so.

In late 2005, Agu returned back from the SEA games having had a miserable tournament.
He was subsequently dropped from the national team for the upcoming Asian Cup qualifiers and released from his club.
Agu decided to try his luck abroad, signing for Indonesian club Persija Jakarta.
He also requested a signing on fee of US$20 000.

Upon doing so, he promptly took the money and fled without a word.
He had left his home in Singapore shared with fellow Nigerian Itimi Dickson.
His first stop was Russia where he claimed he was attending trials, before moving on to England and Canada.
But the trials never materialised and he promptly returned, with the money all gone.
His actions almost resulted in Persija launching a complaint with FIFA.

With his return, he is now contracted to Woodlands, with the FAS deciding to punish him for bringing the game into disrepute.
His punishment was a S$20 000 fine and a one year ban from the national team.
And regarding the signing on fee he took, his club has offered to absorb the debt and settle it for him.

But more juicy details have sinced emerged.
Apparently the FAS gave him S$50 000 to remain with the Young Lions after 2004's victorious Tiger Cup run where Agu finished as Singapore's top scorer and returned a national hero.

I feel this is a great injustice to many other players.
Members of the century cap club only get a one time payoff about maybe S$100 000, whereas here is Agu, after playing just a handful of games getting $50 000.

I feel he was let off too lightly.
I mean, a fine of S$20 000?
He took a signing on fee of US$20 000!
Moreover, he was also given that 50k signing on fee!
The US$20 000 he took from Persija was also covered by his new club.
No Sinagpore player has been given S$50 000 to play for the national team.
Yet when a foreigner was, he ran away with the money, biting the hand that fed him.
Further more the FAS are also continuing his subsidising like club salary and accomodation.

I also have words to say about his national team ban.
The ban would not hurt him that hard.
What commitments do the national team have this year besides the ongoing Asian Cup qualifiers?
And those are just qualifiers and not the actual tournament mind you.
Moreover, having left Singapore so eagerly, do you think he is really committed to playing for Singapore?
So in what way will the year long ban hurt him?

With this kind of punishments, the FAS seems to be sending out the wrong signal.
To me, Agu is looked up to by impressionable teenagers whom i believe seem to be getting the message that what Agu did was alright since he has talent in abundance.
With this kind of punishments, really, what signal are we sending out?


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