Another poor performance by Malaysia in the recent Asean Suzuki Cup has led to the normal finger pointing and accusations of why Malaysia continues to be stuck in the International backwaters. FAM, the coach and the players have copped it from all quarters but I am yet to read anything constructive of just what needs to happen for the long term benefit of Malaysian Football.
I don’t profess to have all the answers however what I do know is this – FOR ANY COUNTRY TO SUCCEED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL THEY NEED TO HAVE AN EFFICIENTLY WELL RUN JUNIOR PROGRAMME.
At the very least Malaysia needs to have organized Leagues for our Junior players all over the country. I will use Sabah as an example however the same principle would apply for all states.
KK JUNIOR LEAGUES
- Under 10, 12, 14, 16 & 18
- All Leagues to be maximum 10 teams
- 10 teams to be taken from areas (eg-Likas,Tanjung Aru, Karamunsing, Kingfisher, Kepayan ridge and so on)
- All Leagues to be played every Saturday on the Sukma & Likas fields from 1pm-6pm
- Each team to have their own coach with training twice a week plus Saturdays game
- Each League would be 3 rounds which means each team plays minimum 27 games during year
- Top 4 teams would go through to semi finals
The only expense for a League like this would be rental of grounds and referees plus some small administration costs. The cost would be significantly less than the millions spent on football development over the last decade.
DIRECTOR OF COACHING
Once the Leagues were set up the next step would be to hire a qualified Director of Coaching for each state. His job is not to train the players. The Director of Coaching would simply teach all the Junior coaches on the correct methods of coaching Junior players as per their age group. Obviously, you would teach a 10 year old differently to a 16 year old. Having a Director of Coaching is an added cost however it’s essential that the junior coaches are teaching the players correct techniques and principles of football.
You would also have League’s in other towns such as Sandakan, Keningau, Tuaran using same model as KK League. The time has come for proper development at grass roots level. The lessons of the past need to be absorbed. In Football, quick fixes don’t produce long term results. At the moment you have Senior coaches having to teach professional Malaysian players how to kick and control a ball when they should be working on team tactics. If you cant kick a ball at 23 ,then you”ll never be able to kick a ball.
As a young kid I played football every Saturday from the age of 6. Beckham, Ronaldo, Messi all played for junior teams every weekend as they grew up. How on earth can you expect young players to improve if their not playing games. My son trains Monday with his school, Wednesdays with me ,Saturdays with David Woodfield and Sundays with Mr Matasin. 4 training sessions a week and not one competitive game.
A combination of patience, good junior development programme’s and passionate organized football administrators might just see Malaysia slowly reclaim their spot as a South East Asian powerhouse. The talent is their so lets nurture it.
But remember – ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY.