The bird perched on the netting behind the Jordan crossbar looked relaxed. It was ball watching – just like the Malaysian players.
It also seemed to know that Guilherme de Paula was playing up front for Malaysia, a team stuck in their own half.
Brazil-born de Paula, a naturalised Malaysian, failed to muster a shot on target, did not complete a single dribble and had zero key passes.
He didn’t appear to like his job. His teammates also didn’t seem keen to win, or even to put up a fight in the Tier 1 international match on Wednesday.
Malaysia lost 4-0. They were unskillful, confused, untidy, lazy and timid. Not “we”. They.
On Saturday night, they put on another putrid performance as they were thrashed 5-1 by Uzbekistan.
Both matches, played in Amman, Jordan, might have been friendlies but Malaysia had no right to serve up a dog’s dinner.
They seemed to be on a holiday, lacking pragmatism, pride and endeavour.
National coach Tan Cheng Hoe should stop making excuses that this was not his strongest squad and that the matches were mainly to test strategies and new players.
How could the matches be a preparation for the AFF Cup in December when several of the players might not be in the squad?
Why did the FA of Malaysia (FAM) go to Tier 1 internationals with “second stringers”, knowing defeat will push 154th-ranked Malaysia down the Fifa rankings?
World No 84 Uzbekistan and World No 93 Jordan thought about their games and Malaysia did not: their game is easy to read, so they were easily out-thought and became confused by the simplest concepts, such as ball-carrying, a counter-attack or a deep-lying forward.
By being ball-watchers, they conceded nine goals in the two matches: the Malaysian performance began poorly, got worse in the middle, and by the end was wretched.
At times it almost looked like they couldn’t even tell in which direction was the opponent’s goal.
They were painfully limited, unable to contain the physicality of their opponents, way behind in tactics and individual technical level.
Uzbekistan and Jordan flourished from set-pieces, were quick to seek direct balls over the Malaysian full-backs and were ruthless in their forays.
Tan, who has been in charge of 37 matches, has to explain the weak game plan and the poor team chemistry that caused misunderstandings among the players.
Why is the brain of the operation absent when his team strides out into the international arena?
Why do Malaysian players come onto the pitch looking somewhat puzzled, as if they haven’t received any guidance?
Why do these underachievers malfunction the moment a football match begins?
They have reneged on their duty to the country but then if Tan and the FAM think about it, perhaps they will see that they betrayed no one more than themselves.
Depressing, isn’t it?
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.