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Sad tragedy of women's national soccer team

Posted: 23 Mar 2011 04:04 AM PDT

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 19:00:00

KUALA LUMPUR: The players in the national women's squad had to shoulder the brunt of the blame when the squad performed dismally at the Laos SEA Games two years ago.

Having remained silent since the debacle, Angela Kais, who was team captain then, has now come forward to tell their side of the story.

Angela, 31, said the absence of a systematic training programme and lack of exposure were the main factors why the team was not able to perform up to expectations.

"We were only called up for training six to seven months before the Games unlike the teams from other countries which had started training some two years earlier and competed in their local leagues," she told Bernama today.

She said this state of affairs made them the "whipping girls" at Laos and that the situation could have been avoided had there been systematic preparation and exposure.

"My friends and I do not fault others including the FA of Malaysia (FAM) (for our failure). It could be that the focus was more on the men's team then," she said, adding that the absence of a national league for women also did not help in terms of competitions exposure.

Angela suggested that FAM organise a national league for women along the lines of the state league in Sabah to develop women's football.

At the Laos SEA Games, Malaysia lost all the matches they played,  0-14 to Thailand in their opening match, 0-8 to Vietnam, 0-5 to the hosts who are considered minnows and 1-7 to Mynmar in the final round robin match.

Yesterday, FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzudin Ahmad announced that the national women's squad had been disbanded and that FAM's focus would be on grassroots development so that a formidable national women's squad could be built in the near future.

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Typhoon Bale

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 09:43 PM PDT

England's Cole, Dawson wary of threat posed by Welsh ace

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 12:36:00

Football

ONE FIERCE DRAGON: Bale is regarded by many to be a fantastic player

LONDON: England defenders Ashley Cole and Michael Dawson believe Gareth Bale is no doubt the most potent threat in the Wales squad.

Bale, 21, has been hit by a back injury since January, but the Tottenham star has returned to fitness and is expected to start in left midfield for Wales when England visit Millenium Stadium on Saturday.

The winger has been in sensational form since the beginning of 2010. He scored 11 goals for Spurs this season — including an incredible hattrick against Inter Milan in the group stage of this season's Champions League.

England leftback Cole is well aware of the threat Bale possesses, having the ability to be a matchdecider on his day.

"Bale is fantastic. Last season and this season he has shown how good he is," Cole told FATV.

"It shows in football you just need confidence. At one time, he didn't have much confidence as he wasn't playing as much as he would have liked.

"Then he starts to play and now he is proving how good he is."

Bale's Spurs teammate Dawson is even more aware of the Welshman's abilities.

Despite having the advantage of knowing his style, the centreback still believes the Professional Footballer Association's Player-of-the-Year candidate will be a formidable opponent.

"In the Premier League, in the Champions League, Bale has been unbelievable and that's credit to him," said Dawson.

"He's had to work hard but people don't stop talking about him everywhere he goes. He deserves it.

"When we play against him, we're certainly going to have to be prepared for him."

Cole also called on his teammates not to take the threat of Wales — or any home-nation — lightly, saying matches against neighbouring countries are different to every other.

"From when I played against Wales, it's a totally different team.

"But whenever you play against them, Scotland or Ireland it is always going to be a tough game. The atmosphere is electric and no team want to lose," said the Chelsea man.

"We know we have to keep going in qualification and keep picking up points. It will be a big game for us and we have to win."

Meanwhile, Bale declared himself fully fit ahead of the England clash. His availability offers a timely boost to coach Gary Speed, as he attempts to plot England's downfall.

"I had my first 90 minutes on Saturday (against West Ham in the league) and was a bit stiff after the game and the next day. But I have recovered well and am just getting prepared for the weekend now," he said.

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