There is always this argument and frustration that national team selection are based mostly on names rather than skill and performance.
People claim there are players in islands who would fit better in terms of quality to represent the country than some of the players selected from Male’ based teams. But playing in an atoll tournament and representing the nation on international platform lies on two very different level.
However, now FAM has pitted four island based champions against four clubs based in Male’ in Dhivehi Premier League. The chance of showcasing their talent to decision makers are easier than before.
So far, Island based teams have not shown much promise in competing against Male’ based clubs, who have better facilities and resources, in a longer run but they have introduced exceptionally well talented players to Maldives biggest football stage.
There were high hopes from those islands and football fans that these youngsters talent will be recognized by the governing authorities by at least inviting them to national team’s preliminary squad. But when the squad for national team that will play against Oman next month was revealed it was real shocking that FAM completely ignored the skillful island based players.
Few positives of the squad include recalling Ali Ashfaq and Rilwan Waheed, who went missing from the squad in recent times for unknown reasons.
But there are players in those island based teams who deserve a better reception than simply ignoring their talent and hard work. One such player is of course Ishan Ibrahim of Milandhoo, who scored two goals to win Milandhoo’s first point in the league and named man of the match twice in the league.
There are similarly talented players in other teams including the two wing players of Kudahuvadhoo.
These players are not playing for money or fame at the moment but what an achievement it would be for them to be included in the national team. There is nothing FAM would lose by giving these island based players an opportunity of lifetime, instead that will encourage hundreds of players in the islands to showcase their talent.
However, instead of thinking about future FAM has once again decided to reduce risk and ensemble a tested squad for a tournament that has a slim chance of qualifying.
Maldives under 15 team’s defeat against India and Nepal for a combined 15-0 score shows the fragile foundation on which our football lies right now. And ignorance in selecting national team squad proves FAM has neither a concrete plan for future nor their idea of adding island based teams to Dhivehi Premier League has no solid purpose.