Names are important in football. Names become popular and they have fans following every move of the big names.
According to Oxford dictionary, “name” (noun) is a set of words by which a person or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.
In football, names can be of clubs, teams, players and other personalities associated with the sport of football. Fans follow the “big” names without actually knowing the team or persons.
The mention of these names brings excitement to crowds and these are factors which has helped football, the world’s beautiful game, to become one of the most popular sports in the world.
Recently there has been some interesting discussion about names of players. The discussion began when Malaysian Olympic squad player Wan Zaharulizam Wan Zakaria’s name was written as “Kecik” in the official start list of the match against Pakistan on Feb 23.
The start list was issued by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) appointed Match Commissioner from Lebanon, M.Ramdan. He used Wan Zaharulizam’s nickname as registered in his registration with the continental body.
Six years ago, AFC introduced a registration system name AFC-AC under which all players playing in official tournaments are registered. The details on the registration include full name, given name and nickname of any particular player.
Wan Zaharulizam was registered in the system when he played in the AFC Under- 16 Championship. The registration will be in the system from the time a player is registered and officials issuing start lists can use nicknames, if they decide to do so.
All players are aware of this registration and they also know that their nicknames have been registered and can be used. They also have the right to change or cancel their nicknames from the registration, if they choose to do so.
Mr Ramdan could have assumed Malaysia is used to this practice. Surely there are those who have no problems accepting it and there are those who feel that it is not necessary.
The rationale behind using nickname or popular names could be so that they could be easily identified by fans when playing in international tournaments. These nicknames then can become commercial names that could bring income for the players concern.
One such nickname which has become a house-hold name is Brazilian star, Ricardo Izecson dos Santos who is known as Kaka the world-over. He started playing at the age of eight and they have been calling him Kaka since then.
In 2004, Kaka was chosen as the Ambassador for United Nations World Food Program. A nickname belonging to an unknown eight year old player is now world renown.
Another star who became popular with his nickname was Manuel Francisco dos Santos, also known as “Garrincha” or “little bird” in Portuguese.
While it is not fair to compare Kaka or Garrincha with Kecik, it would be good if we see the potential ahead for a player who can one day reach star status and his nickname becomes a brand name.
However, there are those who feel that names are sensitive and one should always respect the name given by his parents. Obviously this is a valid argument.
There are those who feel that Kecik is not suitable for the player concern. They did not indicate whether they would accept another nickname.
At the end of the day, it comes down to changing how we look at things. Some changes are necessary, some could be done differently and others maybe not necessary for now.
Either way, if one cannot change then we should not go around telling others to change.
What is in a name? Plenty.