Monday, December 4, 2000

D-Day on foreign players tomorrow (The Malay Mail)

WILL they be allowed back? The FA of Malaysia's technical committee will
decide tomorrow on whether to allow the return of foreign players into the
Indications are the committee, headed by FAM deputy president Tengku
Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, will put the return of foreign players on
This despite a recent public survey which favoured their return.
Even the State FAs are clamouring for foreign players as they believe
their presence will boost gate collections.
But the bottom line is whether the teams can afford and manage them.
Everything indicate that the State FAs are still not in a position to do
that because they cannot even pay their local players on time.
Many States this season have had problems settling the wages of the
local players and some outstanding.
Then, there is the question of whether they help raise the standard of
the game. There is proof that the absence of foreign players has seen the
emergence of many new local talent.
Our national team's third placing in the recently-concluded Tiger Cup
tournament is a small indication that we are in the right direction though
there are still lots of grounds to cover.
If at all the technical committee decide to give the nod to foreigners,
it should be to recruit coaches, not players.
The foreign coaches must be for development work in their respective
States not for the M-League as the returns will be better.
And it would cost the State FAs much less than hiring foreign players.
These coaches should be hired on a long-term basis to ensure that they
draw up and implement development programmes in the States and supervise
it with local coaches.
Several foreign coaches who had done development work - former
Selangor's Ken Shellito, Pahang's Fred Binney and Terengganu's Marco Bilic
- have been productive in their respective States.
It is without doubt even more difficult to handle youth development than
coach a M-League team.
The youth level, requires a lot of patience, proper planning and an eye
to spot talent.
There are many foreign coaches who are experienced at the youth level
and who are prepared to come to Malaysia.
Tomorrow the technical committee will probably decide which way our
soccer game goes from here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Can we be patient? (The Malay Mail)

ONE of the main reasons for the setback in Malaysian sports is the lack of
patience by the administrators.
Now, there is a call to bring back the foreign players just two years
after the FAM move to restrict the M-League to locals only.
But what happened to the intention of seeing local talents get a shot at
playing at the highest level and leading to a wider base of selection for
the national team?
The about turn is the reasoning that without the foreign players, there
have been poor turnouts at matches and that the standards of soccer have
But can this really be the solution?
It all boils down to us not being patient enough to see the many young
players who have had an opportunity to see action in the M-League develop
their skills.
If examined closer, the problem of them needing time to develop into
better players lies with the State FAs themselves. If only the State FAs
had put emphasis on youth development, it wouldn't have led to this
If we bring the foreigners back again, many of the young players who
have had the benefit of two years of playing experience will once again be
shunted aside.
Even the many players from the disbanded Olympic 2000 squad now playing
in the M-League might have to take a backseat.
And that would be sad because these players have had at least four years
of training with the national youth squad and featured in hundreds of
international matches.
That will not help Malaysian soccer at all.
How much can the foreigners help in raising the standards of Malaysian
And more often than not, the foreigners who grace Malaysian soccer are
have-beens, or players who cannot make the grade in the country they come
When countries all over the world are seriously thinking about the
repercussions of the presence of foreign players, it is sad that Malaysia
want to get back into it.
Even England have admitted that the influx of too many foreign players
has affected the standards of English soccer. Manchester United's Ryan
Giggs has openly said these foreign players have blocked the progress of
young home grown players.
Maybe, our soccer administrators, if they really want foreigners to play
in Malaysia to get better fans response, should limit it to only one
foreign player each team. This way, teams will only select the better
Secondly, the financial burden on State teams - from hiring foreign
players - that had been a problem in the past, will be lightened.
And maybe, clubs in the league should be allowed to recruit a foreign
player to help close the gap between them and State teams.
To say that there are not enough local talents is surely an
Just look at Kelantan who have three teams playing in Premier II -
Kelantan, Kelantan JKR and Kelantan TNB.
While some may argue that the strength of the State team has been
stretched thin, the fact that Kelantan and Kelantan JKR are in the race
for the Premier II title only underlines that there is depth in them.
If we continue to have short term plans and keep abandoning programmes
and concepts, we will never realise our true potential.

Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Local coaches left out of W-Cup picture (30/05/2002 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 30/05/2002
Headline : Local coaches left out of W-Cup picture

IT is sad Malaysian coaches will not get an opportunity to witness the
World Cup, starting tomorrow in Korea and Japan, despite the countries'
close proximity.
While a group of FA of Malaysia Council members left on Monday and
another entourage last night to witness the opening match between France
and Senegal, local coaches were not on board those two flights.
Members of the FAM Council are either respective State FA presidents or
their administrators.
While it should be lauded that the national body - in recognising these
members' services towards the development of Malaysian soccer, FAM should
have also considered the benefits of sending at least a few top local
coaches to witness a few of the matches.
No doubt the council members would be witnessing the World Cup opener,
but money would have been more wisely spent to send a few coaches, even if
the trip was through sponsorship.
While it would probably cost more to send a technical study group of
local coaches, allowing some of them to watch the World Cup matches would
lead to a better understanding of the demands and changes in the game, as
well as the various systems played.
These coaches could even return and prepare a book on their experiences
and their observations, which could be distributed all their peers in the
For the last World Cup in France, Japan sent 40 of their coaches to do
their own comprehensive technical study.
Maybe Malaysia do not have so many coaches to conduct technical studies,
but they have a handful who took part in technical studies during the 1997
Youth World Cup here.
FAM also have a youth section and technical Department, both headed by
their deputy president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah (above). And it
is not too late to make arrangements to send a few coaches from these
departments and maybe a few top local coaches to garner first-hand
experience as the World Cup is for a month.
Though FIFA will also be conducting their own technical study as in
every World Cup, with end reports distributed to all countries, it is
nothing like the local coaches being there to personally absorb the World
Cup experience.
In previous overseas study tours, also organised by the FAM, many
officials who were hardly involved with the game at coaching level were
part of the entourages that returned without providing any feedback at
We cannot allow this scenario to go on.
If Malaysian soccer is to progress, the coaches have to be exposed to
high-level matches and coaching methods, just like players need tough
And FAM must take every opportunity to send coaches overseas on study or
technical tours so that they can keep up with the modern trends of the
game and not be left behind in years.
For the first time in its history, the World Cup is being played on
Asian soil and being so close to Malaysia, it would indeed be a pity if
FAM do not grasp this opportunity that would benefit local coaches.
The Asian Football Confederation headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, but
if we are not going to exploit the chance to work closely to get the
maximum benefits, it will indeed be a crying shame.

Friday, January 28, 2000

Over to you, Mr Minister! (27/01/2000 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 27/01/2000
Headline : Over to you, Mr Minister!

DATUK Hishammuddin Hussein must surely be considering the timing of his
appointment as Youth and Sports Minister.
His appointment was in early December and he replaced Tan Sri Muhyiddin
The controversy that has now shaken the bowling fraternity will be an
acid test of his calibre. How he handles the crisis will not only be
watched by sporting circles but also scrutinised by his political
Fourteen national bowlers resigned after issuing an ultimatum to the
Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress that national coach, Sid Allen, be
Neither impressed nor amused, MTBC accepted the resignations and issued
the bowlers with their own ultimatum - apologise publicly if they ever
want to bowl for the country again.
Hishammuddin is expected to meet MTBC president Datuk Dr P. S. Nathan
and the 14 bowlers separately today.
Hishammuddin is unsure if the decision by MTBC is the best solution
though he understands the reasons behind it. But he is more concerned
about the interest of the sport and the nation.
He is, however, expected to direct the bowlers to return to the fold.
Hishammuddin has to strike a fine balance when he does make a decision.
On one hand, the grouses by the bowlers may be genuine but on the other,
he could open a can of worms if he allows "player power".
He cannot be seen to undermine national associations either.
The next few days will be crucial.
There are indications that the National Sports Council (NSC) and Sports
Ministry officials have leaned in favour of the bowlers.
There are suggestions that if one man - Allen - is the problem, then he
should be the one to go. But the question is - will justice be served?
Removing Allen will be the simple way out, not necessarily the right one.
We are all governed by rules and regulations. Just because a few people
take to the streets does not make their cause a noble one.
If authority bows to pressure, the end results would be anarchy and
Your move, Mr Minister!