Saturday, November 4, 1995

Time to give Reserve League a facelift (03/11/1995 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 03/11/1995
Headline : Time to give Reserve League a facelift

THE FA of Malaysia should seriously consider giving the Reserve League,
which concluded last Friday, a facelift to make it more attractive.
It was indeed sad that the nation's top youth tournament, which paraded
the future stars of Malaysia, did not receive enough publicity and fan
For the first leg final at Tun Razak Stadium where Kuala Lumpur and
Kelantan played to a 1-1 draw, there were less than 1,000 fans.
For the return leg in Kota Baru, where Kelantan wrested the Cup with a
solitary goal win for a 2-1 aggregate, there were less than 3,000 fans.
There was hardly any build-up in the local media for the Cup final.
The fact that FAM deemed it fit to postpone the semifinals for a month
because of a protest by Selangor, who were edged out in the quarterfinals,
probably speaks of the importance placed on the tournament by teams.
Would FAM have done the same if it was a situation in the M-League or
Malaysia Cup competition?
While there will be great hype for the Malaysia Cup final, the Reserve
League did not enjoy these luxuries to create the atmosphere of a Cup
The FAM top brass present for the first leg final were vice-president
Datuk Syed Ahmad Kuning, while KLFA president Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who is
also a FAM vice-president, was the other one there.
It is about time that FAM seriously consider playing the Reserve League
together with the M-League to give it more prominence.
To play a Reserve League match as a curtain-raiser before a M-League
match sounds ideal.
Of course State FAs might protest saying that the pitch might be ruined
before the M-League match.
Well, when two matches could be played on a night for more than a week
during the Merdeka Tournament, surely two matches on a night once a week
is not too demanding!
In any case, if the weather is really bad on a particular match day, the
Reserve League match surely can be played the next morning.
At least playing the Reserve League match together with M-League matches
will give youth players some importance and fan following.
Imagine the Reserve League final being played as a curtain-raiser to the
Malaysia Cup final?
The electrifying atmosphere on the Cup final day itself, will see the
youth players give 120 or 130 per cent effort.
Another area where FAM should look into is Reserve League players'
movement to play in the M-League and M-League players playing in the
Reserve League.
It is agreed that FAM had problems previously when some State FAs,
instead of using the Reserve League as an arena to develop their
youngsters, were more obsessed about winning at all cost that they
manipulated the rules.
But FAM should seriously consider being more flexible about players from
the Reserve League moving up to play in the M-League because the whole
idea is to see these youngsters move up to the League one day.
If some players show enough potential to move up earlier, especially
during the season, why not encourage it.
In order not to allow States to manipulate the rules, probably there
should be one stating that a M-League player can only take part in the
Reserve League if he does not play in the M-League for three consecutive
The moment a M-League player comes on as a substitute or starts among
the first XI for M-League matches, he will have to sit out three matches
before he is eligible for a Reserve League match.
There are strong speculations that FAM are considering implementing a
new ruling for the new season where 25 players be registered for the M-
League and another set of 25 for the Reserve League and there cannot be
any movement of players from the two squads.