If a footballer is good enough to represent Singapore, he is young enough

I disagree with Mr Joseph Hooi Liang Kee's age-related assumptions about older footballers ("Sorry, Sundram, but age does matter"; Forum Online, Sept 2).

It is unacceptable in any other profession to have a policy whereby employees above a certain age are blatantly treated less favourably than their younger colleagues.

Direct age discrimination cannot be justified, since some older players currently plying their trade in the S-League or overseas may be technically superior and even fitter than their younger teammates.

Put simply, if a footballer can demonstrate that he has enough stamina to play, then he is able to contribute towards achieving a justifiable aim for the team.

Conventional reasoning suggests that when a player reaches his 30s, he will not be able to play as many games in a season and that he becomes prone to career-threatening injuries, or at least, will take longer to recover from knocks.

Bearing in mind the huge salaries that professional footballers in the top leagues of Europe and Latin America are paid, it is perhaps understandable that some clubs may offer shorter contracts to players over a certain age.

The aim is to mitigate the employers' exposure, should these older players not make it through the season unscathed.

If the Football Association of Singapore introduces a blanket policy to choose only the best young men for the job and not the best men, then our much maligned governing body will be seen to not only condone, but also sanction, ageism.

Recent appalling losses to a team of students from the Niigata University of Health and Welfare in Japan, and to Cambodia, which is ranked 180th in the world, are alarming.

It shows that our emerging talents lack the aptitude to compete anywhere near international level.

Technique, intelligence, experience and the will to win are the qualities that the Lions need most.

Strength and work rate - which are the hallmarks of youth - will not win us games. If a footballer is good enough to represent Singapore, he is young enough, in my reckoning.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock