Eleven years ago, the FA of Malaysia were dead serious to get development up and going, at the State level - to have competitive and well run local leagues.
It was none other than,Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, the then the deputy president of FA of Malaysia and technical and development chair, who made the announcement. (Read this story)
It was indeed a noble move and if it had been toed to the dot with serious monitoring, Malaysian football would have seen a steady flow of talented players coming through.
Then, there was the State Soccer Academies which kicked off, but ran into all sorts of problems, until it finally closed (Read this story). Certainly a major setback for development.
FA of Malaysia continued to breathe down the necks of the State FAs (Read this story). to see development take a firm footing in Malaysian soccer.
But has it been fruitful? Have the State FAs adhered to all the pressure from the national body?
One really has to look at the respective State FA's local league to get some answers. While most State FAs have a league, the question is whether it is run effectively, whether it is competitive and is it a League or just a carnival or knockout tournament?
Gone were the days, when the Selangor League was considered the best in the country. It was so difficult to get to play for the clubs in that League, because it was so competitive.
I still remember veteran referees Koh Guan Kiat and S. Karthrivel, who used to referee in the Selangor league comment: "It is even more difficult to referee a League match than a Malaysia Cup match. It is in this League that we find ourselves having to make difficult decisions, as the game was very competitive and demanding."
"Once we get through the Selangor League "test" it is a breeze at the Malaysia Cup matches," they said.
Little wonder then, that referees of those years were competent because they had gone through some tough training at the grass root level. These days, referees became national or even FIFA referees, with hardly much exposure.
Thus, the local League has two very important areas that it addresses - grooming players and referees - besides producing coaches, officials and administrators.
The top Division in the Selangor league these days has ten teams and they are divided into two groups to play a one round league - four matches per team - before they move to knockout stages of quarterfinals. The top two teams play seven matches in the League! Is that a League?
At least, neighbours Kuala Lumpur, have 20 teams in their Premier Division where the teams divided into two Groups, to play a one round League. But do not ask me about the quality of the League. Go see for yourself - Turun Padang!
Maybe the State FAs should take a queue from the social footballers in the Klang Valley where they organise the own League - The Social League, Kuala Lumpur.
The League was started back in 1994 and is still running, getting better with each passing year. What started with eight founding teams, it has now grown to 24 teams and over 600 players players play in the League.
They play every weekend in up to 12 venues ( who says you cannot get a pitch in the Klang Valley) and the home teams are responsible for the booking of the field. There is hardly any case of match postponements or teams failing to turn up for matches.
All correspondence is done through emails and their website (currently being upgraded as it is their off-season now). Even the teams in the Leagues have their own websites (View one of the websites - Wednesday FC)
Some of the State FAs might be put to shame by these websites.
When a group of veterans can organise and a league effectively, one wonders what is the problem with State FAs who not only financially much stronger than this veteran organisation, but also have the strong backing of the FA of Malaysia.
I suppose, the answer has got something to do with - PASSION!
State FAs and soccer officials get upset and send nasty messages with vulgarities when issues are raised and the truth is written by sportswriters, but at least these group of writers have the - PASSION!
We do not have any no hidden agendas, just pure - PASSION!
So let us see some real PASSION! among soccer officials, rather back bite each other in their race to attain high posts in the organisation and achieving their personal agendas.