FIFA seemed to be really pushing it, despite charges of corruption still swirling over the supposedly haloed heads of Blatt and Platini.
In the past few years or so, world football’s governing body apparently had been condoning what some quarters believed to be the illegal national eleven of Timor-Leste (East Timor).
The buzz picked up middle of last year when the island-nation that won a bloody battle for independence from Indonesia almost held to a draw the United Arab Emirates, an Asian futbol powerhouse, in a 2018 World Cup qualifier (it lost 0-1 in the first game and 0-8 in the second for a 9-0 aggregate in favor of the Middle East team).
Against Mongolia, also in Cup qualifiers, Timor-Leste triumphed, 4-1 and 1-0, but bowed to Malaysia, 1-1 and 0-1.
Timor-Leste’s run to Russia four years from now ended with losses to another regional titan Saudi Arabia, 0-7 and 0-10, ending its bid for the World Cup.
The secret to Dili’s relative success?
Brazilian players, most of whom were part of the team that nearly embarrassed the UAE.
Now, the beef is that the boys from Brazil had been allowed by FIFA to play for Timor-Leste under what criteria nobody knows, except those whipped up by the federation’s big shots.
And these honchos are not prevented by anyone or anything from releasing documents on status of players but they are not letting a page slip out without the say-so, perhaps, of recently disgraced Blatt and Platini.
The East Timorese are complaining about a “surge” in futbol in their tiny country, or at least somebody else is voicing out their grievances about their squad that is more Latino than Asian in physical looks and sporting skills.
One of them is “Nola Fitz¬gerald LoveTimor,” who, in sports.vice.com recently wrote,
“FIFA is so corrupt and you seriously expect them to investigate this? It is up to the Timor-Leste Football Association to do this investigation [assuming that they are not corrupt], although from what I have just read, they may well be. The problem is that those who set the rules, then turn a blind eye to those rules because it is for the ‘greater good.’”
Nola continued, “Sport and honesty are a thing of the past. It is just entertainment and national pride is jeopardized by this. This happens in many sports, not only soccer. Who is the ultimate watchdog and the ultimate judge? The Fans. And seriously, when a country such as Timor-Leste is so disadvantaged in so many ways, I think a ‘leg up’ so to speak is fine. The rules need to be changed so that this issue becomes a non-issue.”
What the guy seemed to be saying was that FIFA and Timorese football authorities man up on the seemingly mysterious and secretive rules they had come up with to legalize, not justify, the Brazilian players’ inclusion in the national team.
Certainly and given the considerable futbol savvy of these South Americans, they cannot be had, also certainly for a song.
Incidentally, Indonesia—the country that Timor-Leste separated from—is ranked 180 by FIFA in 2015, to the former colony’s 170.