Friday, August 12, 2005


Publication : MM
Date : 12/08/2005

IT does not take much to start a development programme by the various
sports associations but the apathetic attitude of most is hindering the
progress of sports in the country.
All it takes is for sports associations to conduct weekend coaching
clinics and organise tournaments from time to time.
At worst, sports associations could have organise a league for the
various age-groups stretching for at least six to seven months.
Sports in schools is competed on periodical basis, where 23 sports are
divided into the three school terms, thus only giving each sports about
four months of activities for selected schools who reach the highest
Otherwise, everything is over within a month or two.
Under the circumstances, it is little wonder why athletes lack proper
foundation and less of them come through.
But a league for the various sports at State level would at least
ensure schools have a year-round training and athletes get more exposure.
However, in all fairness to sports associations, it is not easy to
reach out to schools because of several technicalities.
Sports associations do not have direct access to schools and have to go
through the respective State Education Departments and more often than
not, efforts to get schools had not filtered down all the way.
Maybe the Education Ministry can ensure minimum bureaucracy in the name
of sports development.
But still, it is no excuse for some sports associations to sit back
while others have shown that with proper planning and hard work, are
doing well at both the junior and senior levels.
In contrast, it is heartening to see private clubs doing much more than
sports associations in sports promotion and development.
While the Combined Old Boys Rugby Association (Cobra) were featured in
this column last week, the Royal Selangor Club (RSC) held a carnival last
weekend to showcase their RSC International Under-12 Soccer 7s.
RSC, who were also featured in this column earlier, are conducting a
soccer programme for more than 200 children every Sunday which also
involved their parents.
At the carnival, the children not only showed how much fun they had,
but also talent.
Even Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary-general Datuk Peter
Velappan, who was at the two-day carnival, was impressed and could only
hope that other sports associations emulate the good work of RSC.
"This is what development is all about. It was great to see both local
and foreign teams competing. It was truly an international affair," said
Also present was Asean Football Confederation secretary-general Datuk
Paul Mony Samuel.
Sadly, although a FA of Malaysia team competed, no senior officials
from the national soccer body attended.
A total of 16 teams, including those from Australia, South Korea,
Singapore, Japan, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Pahang and Negri Sembilan,
"This is all about kids and their parents. This is where development
starts," said Peter.
"It was a pleasure to see parents involved and this will only lead to
progression in the game and we will see a pool of new players emerging
One area Peter could not help noticing was the multi-racial composition
of players.
"Soccer is a school of life, just like school is an institution for
education," he said.
"The children here will learn just more than soccer and it will form
their character for the world outside. It goes to all sports and if we
start young, we will certainly have a much more sporting, healthier and
well balanced and matured society.
"What RSC are doing is correct. Start from the grassroots and move up
through the pyramid system.
"AFC have the same vision in wanting to raise the standards of the game
in Asia and believe that Asian countries, with a population of 3.7
billion, have the potential to produce world-class footballers and
Malaysia are no exception."
Peter said State and national sports associations have to work hand in
hand with schools and clubs.
Development is all about starting young where children between six and
11 are geared towards fun games, 11-13 being the foundation and basic
skills years, 14-18 being the formative and specialisation years and 18
and above being the start of their sporting career.
Until sports associations take development seriously, sports in
Malaysia will continue to progress at a hazy level, despite millions of
ringgit being allocated to sports by the Government and not to mention
the millions generated through sponsorships.

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