KOTA KINABALU: The FA of Malaysia needs to give a good thought about lifting the ban on foreign players in the M-League.
They need to accept a simple and proven fact that the M-League without foreign flavour has lost its thrill and excitement.
Even fan turn-out is in a sorry state which has badly dwindled in recent years. Many teams play in near-empty stadiums, Sabah included!
To get to the point, the M-League is one BIG bore!
What more, for most teams it is a losing battle, operating at a loss every year!
The decision to bar players from the M-League some years ago was a bad and sad decision.
But, it is still not too late for FAM to have a change of heart and lift the ban. As this can be the only answer to at least stop the decline in attendance and the game itself.
It is also an open secret that most State FAs are happy to import players, except for a minority who for a simple fact don’t want to be bogged down financially.
Sabah coach and manager Gary Phillips is one of the many that wish to see foreign players back in the M-League.
Gary said that having foreign players in the League will eventually help raise the standard of the League and the game itself.
“It will help in all aspects of the game. It will also help get more attendance and with the right approach it will get bigger and bigger.
“And I can’t find one professional League in the world that is without foreign players,” said the Aussie coach Gary.
The Australian, who is the only foreign coach in the M-League, believes that it will not only help raise the standard of the game, but it can also help budding talents to grow and become better players in the future.
“If you want to improve the quality of the League or the game, you need to bring the foreign players.
“The foreign players can help the locals how to be true professionals. And it is not only about training … how they work, train, and stay back after training.
“But it also help teach how to behave, the right food to eat and so on.
“The professionalism that they will bring into the League will also help accelerate the quality of the game, especially among youngsters.
“The presence of foreign players also helps build confidence in the team, and this will indirectly make the game more competitive.
“If you can get players with English Premier League experience, it would be better, as they have a big influence.
And as a coach, you will not have to worry about motivating the players, because their presence (EPL) will help you do that.”
“And this will also indirectly motivate players to work harder. And personally, I would like to see the M-League to have foreign players for the benefit of Malaysian football.
Gary said that although some teams may not want to engage the services of foreign players, but for those who do must be given the option to do so.