Thursday, September 28, 2017
Egy Basks In Glow Of Publicity But He Has Achieved Nothing
Every couple of years we hear of the latest wonderkid to emerge from Indonesia. Players who have the misfortune to show bucket loads of talent at an early age, get snapped up by unscrupulous hangers on who promise these kids from the kampungs untold riches, develop obscenely large social media followings, get TV air time but then fade to anonymity where it really matters; on the pitch where they made their name initially.
The 2017 vintage looks to be Egy Maulana Vikri. The 17 year old Medan born player hit the back, and front, pages during the recent AFF U19 Championships when he scored six goals to help Indonesia overcome Myanmar, Philippines and Brunei in the group stage before ultimately losing to the Thais, who else, on penalties in the knock out rounds.
Observant fans though had been charting this young man's rise earlier. He had put in a man of the match performance in a friendly against Espanyol B and earned accolades playing for Indonesia in the Toulon Tournament where he was named Breakthrough Player
Clearly this is a young man who has done a lot in the last few months, and made a lot of people sit up and take notice.
Already there is talk of Arema being interested while the PSSI have said they will be working with an as yet unidentified foreign agent to try and secure him a move overseas.
Egy has shown he is a player of talent and he has proved this playing in foreign countries against foreign opposition. Perhaps he is the next big thing in Indonesian football. Perhaps he does have a similar playing style as Lionel Messi as one pundit has suggested having inhaled to much hyperbole.
But he is only 17 and he is still at school. It would be nice to see of he is allowed to develop as a footballer away from the media circus that is suddenly building him and, and will just as suddenly drop him before he reaches his 20s.
We've seen it all before. Teenage headlines beget social media followings beget commercial opportunities. And the player concerned perhaps believe the hype and believes the hype. Football has been nothing more than a vehicle to a nebulous celebrity status where the player stops being a player and becomes famous for being, um, famous. The football becomes an afterthought, almost a hobby for a player who now moves in circles vastly different to those of his teammates and supporters.
And then we wonder why Indonesia doesn't produce top class players.
The best thing that can happen for Indonesian football is for Egy to be surrounded by people who love him and can help in nuture his talent as a footballer and if that entails playing overseas then so be it. But he needs to remember if he wants to be a top class footballer and have a top class footballer he needs to be professional and focus only on top class football.
Yes, sign up for the odd commercial endorsement here and there, no one begrudges a player that. But do the work on the training field and on the pitch, don't become a fixture on shallow celebrity TV gossip shows. Become a professional footballer, not a pretty boy footballer.
Do that and be successful and there will be plenty of time once the career ends to enjoy the profits of fame and glamour. But first earn that fame and glamour. Let the talent to the talking, not the sponsors.