I’m still S’pore capt: Indra

IT HAS been a case of musical chairs with the national football team’s captaincy.

The Lions have played three Suzuki Cup matches with three different starting captains.

However, there has been little evidence to suggest that the rotating captaincy has been a distraction.

On the pitch, the Lions have performed manfully, matching Thailand’s perfect record of three wins out of three.

Mustafic Fahrudin had led the Lions out in their opening group game against Cambodia.

Defender Mohamed Noh Rahman took over the captain’s armband in the next match against Myanmar, before national skipper Indra Sahdan Daud resumed normal duties in the last outing with Indonesia.

When asked about the captaincy and the fact that he was not in national coach Raddy Avramovic’s starting X1 in the opening two games, Indra insists that nothing has changed.

‘I’m still the captain,’ he says. ‘The coach decided on the starting line-up and the captain for those games and I respect his decision. But when I start, I’m the captain.’

For right-back Noh, the captaincy is a non-issue. There are no conflicts among the players and no one is jostling for the armband, he says.

Mustafic and Noh are ’stand-ins’ for Indra when the striker does not start.

Adds Noh, the Geylang United vice-captain: ‘It doesn’t really matter who wears the armband.

‘On the pitch, we have 11 players who are equal and capable of being the captain.

‘We have a tremendous team spirit and we don’t pay too much attention to these matters.

‘It’s up to Raddy to decide who he wants to lead the team out and we respect his decision.’

Sharing his sentiments, Serbia-born Mustafic says: ‘I was very honoured to wear the armband.

‘Any time you get to captain your national team and lead them out is always a special moment.

‘But, for us, Indra is the captain. That’s very clear and there’s no question about it.’

While characteristics such as good leadership skills and the ability to motivate should feature in the selection of a captain, defender Baihakki Khaizan feels another important criterion should also be considered.

He says: ‘I think local-born players must have priority when the choice of national captain is being considered.’

As part of the pioneer group of players adopted under the Foreign Talent Sport scheme back in 2002, Daniel Bennett has played under several captains.

And the 30-year-old is untroubled by any talk of changing captaincy.

But he muses: ‘It’ll be interesting to see who lifts the cup at the end of the tournament should we win.

‘Quite a few hands will be on that trophy.’

Taken from ST

~ by sambalfootball7 on December 16, 2008.

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