Scott Ollerenshaw: Indra Putra proves why age is nothing but a number

What is it about this preconceived idea in Malaysia that a football player is washed up & finished by the age of 32 or 33? His career can be flourishing and he could be in the form of his life but once he hits that 32 to 33 age bracket, it’s like the end of the world has arrived.

Let me introduce Mr. Indra Putra to the stage:

Age: 33
Current Team: Felda United
Malaysian National Team: 48 appearances – 16 goals.

So why were the skeptics so shocked when Dollah Salleh took a “massive risk” in bringing Indra Putra back from obscurity. From my perspective, it was a no brainer for Dollah to select one of the best attacking players Malaysia has produced over the last decade. Age should not be a factor; if a player still has the hunger then he will never lose his ability & skills.

Malaysia's Indra Putra Mahayuddin (R) is
Indra Putra does not rely on speed, he is a player who has great technique & vision. He has an ability to see the pass a few seconds before most do and this gives him a point of difference. His performance in the AFF Suzuki Cup has not surprised me one bit; in fact I would have been surprised if he did not contribute to Malaysia’s run to the final.

Times are changing in the world of football. The evolution of sport science now allows players to play at the highest level into their late 30s. Diet & recovery have become pivotal to extending a player’s career. Cristiano Ronaldo sits in the ice bath chamber after every game and he credits this for his quick recovery, allowing him to be in peak condition for the next game. How often does Ronaldo miss a game due to a soft tissue injury?

All Malaysian teams must move with the time in terms of pre & post match practices. Broken bones and snapped tendons are unavoidable, however  soft issue injuries must be avoided at all cost. By soft tissue, we mean hamstring, quadriceps, calf & groin (abductor) strains. If a particular team is suffering from many soft tissue injuries, then a post-mortem must be conducted – are the players over-training, or under-training? Is their diet insufficient or are they not doing correct recovery training after games. Or maybe the training ground is in poor condition? These are all possible reasons as to why a team may suffer from many soft tissue injuries.

We now have many educated football people here in Malaysia , both local & foreign, so being ignorant or naive when it comes to making footballing decisions is no longer an excuse. If these football people are allowed to make the important decisions, then you will find this perception of not selecting older players becoming a thing of the past. David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Javier Zanetti, Del Piero, Andrea Pirlo & Gary Neville are a few examples of players who have continued to produce at the highest level into their late 30s.

So well done Indra Putra – you have truly shown that age is but a number and your fantastic performance in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup will hopefully inspire all the ’30-somethings’ Malaysian players that they can continue to perform with distinction on the local front for years to come.


Down 2-0 from the first leg , the natural reaction for Malaysia will be to go for the jugular in the return leg at Bukit Jalil on Saturday night.

Yes, Malaysia must be positive from the outset, but they must be street smart as well. Dollah’s cannot afford to be gung-ho and attack blindly, committing too many players forward, which will leave them vulnerable to the quick Thai players catching them on the counter attack.

For me, Malaysia must slowly but surely build pressure and this will lead to goal scoring chances. Being at home, Malaysia will have more possession, so if Safiq Rahim can dictate play with his vast array of passing skills & Indra Putra can get on the ball in dangerous areas of the final 3rd, then chances will come. After that, it’s a case of whether Mat Yo, Amri Yaya & Safee Sali  can convert the chances that come their way.

But if Malaysia adopt the charge of the light brigade strategy, they will be playing right into Thailand’s hands. If Malaysia can score just 1 goal by the 70th minute, you will see a Thailand team becoming nervous & feeling intimidated. Remember, Thailand are a young & inexperienced team and if Malaysia are within 1 goal, I expect them to finish all over the top of Thailand, who will concede possession and just try to hang on.

When that happens it’s just a matter of time before Malaysia’s experienced & quality players take advantage. I expect a game of intrigue, passion,  tactical battles and ultimately late drama.


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