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.