Monday, February 21, 2011
Spice Boys
The journey from Bangsar to my place is getting mundane. Other than questioning the trivial unexpected state of Jalan Mahameru, time spent was either listening to the radio or letting my mind to be lost in my own thought. Thick-headed motorists have their fair share of cameos in my journey, much to the pleasure of my tongue to work on its cursing vocabulary. It is a tricky little journey I take for granted, because honestly, I hate driving back home alone and spend 20 minutes doing nothing but talking to myself.


We had to come up with a name, and I suggested Spice Boys by reflex. It is quite easy to draw connection of the name with the British pop girl group, but little did they know that Spice Boys actually existed in the form of a group of Liverpool legends and I wanted the team to be as entertaining the pop girl and play wonderful football as the lads from Liverpool.

Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer were not who they were in a matter of days, and I have always been telling myself that if I can do it with Gangdust FC, I can do it here with Spice Boys.

Spice Boys had to start somewhere, and the annual Dean’s Cup is the perfect opportunity to kick off the dream.

Dean’s Cup is the holy grail of sporting achievement in the little faculty, and to win the Cup is a bragging right you have all year and a message to everyone that you are untouchable on the court.

But the story unfolded few months before the Cup.

I was a clueless new boy in the faculty when one of them invited me to play in their weekly futsal session. I was quite excited to realize amidst the intimidating air the faculty has, it still values the sports I love, and I didn’t take long a time to say yes and show up.

I met most of them in the faculty's lecture hall and that’s when I learned their name and background – but on futsal court, I learned a great deal of their character, attitude and conviction. All of them are younger than me, but I am surprised to figure out how much I have learned from them – as a footballer, as a friend and as a person,

I can never imagine how my life would be without football and friends and I can never thank God enough for constantly blessing me with them.

The friendly ghost of Gangdust FC memory seems to have missed me and it knocks my door and say hello in the form of Spice Boys. We are the faculty’s underdogs, and we are not blessed with breathtaking trickery and wonderful skills to kill the opponents. Our strength is in the passion and love we have for the game and I was so confident Spice Boys could be a force to be reckoned with, despite our limited skills and preparations.

Napoli didn’t shake the world of football in its first 80 years and Barcelona didn’t gather the team with amazing esteem overnight. It takes time and perseverance to leave a legacy behind, so we joined this year’s Deans Cup with the hope to set alight the legacy and most importantly to have fun along the way.

Spice Boys is a balanced outfit, and for a young and fledgling team, we have all it takes to actually play sexy and entertaining football. But sexy and entertaining alone will not win a team a match, as tactical and set pieces have to be carefully meted out in complement.

Syazwan is the man between our goal post, and wears invisible iron glove everytime we play. He is a fitness freak and his efforts blessed him with quite a huge pair of arms. With a bit of practice, the decision to give him the glove was quite easy.

Adzraai, Syafiq and Tuan Arief, who all have the knack to cut down attacks with their great timing and strength, man the defensive department. We rely so much on the creativity of Rhastdan, Qayyum and Shahrul up front to provide us with goals, while Farid and Faris are always on the lookout for opportunities on the bench, obviously not just merely making up the number.

I love the team, and I have a huge feeling that the team will leave a huge mark in my heart, so looking at how well the team looks on paper, we were set to play in this year’s Dean’s Cup.

Maybe what we asked was a bit too much, as it proved to be not the best first tournament we had. We failed to win any medal and had to settle for fifth place. We played some excellent games, and had decent amount of possession, but like Liverpool, sometimes to convert possession and chances into goal is just so hard, not even Steven Gerrard can casually do. I am quite happy that despite the result, we actually played quite entertaining game and we had fun making love with the ball. Every one of us were smiling. We had fun.

We held our chin up high and left the court with burning desire to return and bounce back next year. I am proud to be part of team. It is certainly not the end of the story we plan to finish on high note one day.

The story has just begun.


Tonight’s drive along the mundane Jalan Mahameru was the first that I actually enjoyed. When I usually take about 20 minutes to get home, I purposely joined the more congested lane so that for once I could sit quietly, not to swear at ignorant motorists nor listening to crappy songs on the radio, but to go through the mental image of the smile each one of us had few hours before and the fun we had by playing as team we hope to be a legacy we know as the Spice Boys.

It took me one hour, and I enjoyed every fucking minute.

posted by Izham Ismail at 2:52 am | Permalink | 3 comments
Monday, February 14, 2011

Pembalasan Allah terhadap kebaikan begitu cepat sehinggakan terdetik sahaja di hati hendak berbuat kebaikan, sudah Allah akan memberi pembalasan yang tiada ternilai.

Kadang-kadang jauh benar kita menyimpang dan jauh benar hati kita dengan Dia. Mari kita ambil sedikit masa untuk kembali mengingati yang Maha Kuasa, tidak kira besar mana pun kita - dan pandai mana pun kita.


posted by Izham Ismail at 12:12 am | Permalink | 3 comments
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Adieu Nando

Torres to Chelsea is not a news anymore.

I was a happy kid in 2007 when he signed for Liverpool and committed to be a Red for life. Writing about him was a natural act of adoration for the new idol I would eventually detest 4 years later.

Few days prior him leaving Melwood for Cobham, I stood by his pledge to remain a Red for life and announced to the world that money might buy your wife a Coach handbag, not Fernando Torres.

I was wrong, because few days and £50m later, Roman Abramovich broke the bank to get Torres together with a nice Coach handbag he might have already bought for his wife.

I am against the idea of vilifying a certain player just because he left a club, because that is what players naturally do - they come and go, stray like a hungry vulture craving for sustenance to live the next day.

The closest thing to a silverware Torres got with Liverpool was 2008/2009 season when Liverpool finished second, four points behind Manchester United. It is only natural when he backs his judgment in joining Chelsea to win silverware, and some hefty salary along the way. It was an offer he could not refuse.

But I can't help to be mad to see him leaving for a rival team. Xabi Alonso left for Real Madrid and Javier Mascherano for Barcelona and they both escaped the ridicule for the decency. Torres in an interview after being an official Blue said in much pleasure that he is so happy to 'finally' play for a big club. Right in the face of millions Liverpool fans - including me.

King Kenny threw his class by saying no one is bigger than the club and the most important people in Liverpool are the one who wants to stay in Liverpool. Well as for me, no single player is above the other in Liverpool and I am glad to see a sulky boy leaving than paying him money when he doesn't want to play for the club.

There was life after Keegan, there was life after Dalglish, and there was life after Rush. Surely, there will be life after Torres.

Because Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and the rest of the team will give the life Liverpool fans deserve.

Life starts now.

P.S. My prayer to everyone in Egypt and all over the world.

posted by Izham Ismail at 11:56 pm | Permalink | 6 comments