Friday, December 31, 2010

FAM must build on ASEAN AFF 2010 Cup success

A distinct lack of excitement at M-League matches left FAM with a few burning questions.
A distinct lack of excitement at M-League matches left FAM with a few burning questions.

MALAYSIAN football received a huge lift following the national team's win in the AFF Suzuki Cup but this is only the start on the long road to recovery.

Much still needs to be done, not least strengthening the domestic league and instituting proper development plans at the youth level.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) deserves much credit for its foresight in building the national team from the ground up despite earlier doubts expressed over its formula.

Hand-picking and centralising youth players at the national level, however, is not a sustainable development model.

Only by casting the net far and wide, that is getting the state FAs into the act of developing talent, can Malaysia be ensured of a flowing pool of players capable of taking over at a moment's notice.

Malaysia's AFF triumph has generated renewed enthusiasm and interest in the national team though the same cannot be said of the M-League.

FAM need to take advantage of the goodwill towards it now and rope in as many sponsors that it can to secure the future of Malaysian football.

The government has already pledged RM20 million to set up an academy in Kuantan but details remain sketchy and now is as good as anytime to push the government to be clear on its commitments.

Football in schools is still much neglected due to a lack of understanding and cooperation with the Malaysian Schools Sports Council and the Education Ministry.

Malaysian youth have had little to be excited about our football until now and the reservoir of talent that can be tapped in schools is potentially unlimited.

On the domestic front, Kelantan emerged as a new force in local football by winning the Malaysia Cup for the first time while Selangor retained the Super League title at a canter.

Negri Sembilan showed consistency by winning the FA Cup but there remains a distinct lack of excitement at M-League matches.

FAM hopes to rectify this by allowing a return of foreign players in the hope of raising the standard of local players

The Slovakia stint for the Young Tigers is proof that only by playing against superior opposition will there be an improvement in our players.

This is an edge denied to M-League players, who only have each other to test their abilities and leading to yawning contests on most match days.

FAM will also reintroduce the Under-19 Youth Cup, a step in the right direction with the President's Cup now becoming an Under-21 affair.

The Malaysia Games football tournament will revert to being Under-21, providing more competition for under-age players.

FAM's primary objective in 2011 will be defending the Sea Games gold medal in Indonesia, and if they are successful, a renaissance is truly underway.

*Taken from NST Online

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