I have made my stand on the return of foreign players to the Malaysian league and I still stand by it - it will do more harm than good!
All those clamoring for the return of foreign players have all sorts of reasons, ranging from bringing back the crowd to the stands, make the league more entertaining, add quality to the league, to be able to compete on equal footing in the AFC Cup, most countries have foreign players and the list goes on.
But nobody talks about improving the standard or exposing Malaysian players and building the national team.
Let us not forget that teams who did well in the League the last few years without foreign players, still had their local fans packing the Stadiums. So what are we talking about filling the Stadiums. Will filling the Stadiums automatically see the national team achieve success at the international arena?
One State coach who said that Malaysian league is no league, is already talking about hiring foreign players for the positions of a central defender, midfielder and striker - the backbone of any team.
So who is to be blamed when the national team does not have quality players for these key positions.
If every team in the League hires players for these positions to strengthen their team, where are we going to get our national players for these key position - naturalise the foreigners? Like what Singapore had to do and still did not achieve the desired goals!
Coaches at the State level who are paid handsomely, should be working hard to produce players for the national team and not just think about just about boosting their coaching career with results achieved through express methods with import players.
And even the foreign players are no guarantee to success because we have seen so many half-baked foreign players who plied our shores, who were worse than our local players.
Let us not talk about the problems their bring along with them, ranging from keeping late night outs, enticing our local women, off loading all their bad habits to out local players and the list is endless.
Local coaches who clamor for foreign players and do get the success move on for better offers. What happens then to their previous teams. Would these coaches have left behind a legacy of a proper development programme in place, back-up players readily available and a pool quality players to carry on for the next few seasons?
Let us stop thinking of stop-gap measures and short cuts to success. Let us all put in some genuine hard work through long term plans and achieve some real success at all levels - from the grassroots development, districts, schools, state, national to international.
It is going to take time and lots of patience, dedication and determination and if we do not have that - let us not dream of anything and fool ourselves with short term success at the lowest level of competitions.
I have already written a great deal on this subject before this (read here) but I am sure it is not going to make much of a difference, because the majority in the game are only interested in immediate success for themselves - not the nation!
I am probably fighting a losing battle, but if a decision is to be made to bring back the foreigners to please the majority, for the sake of Malaysian soccer, just allow one foreign player per team to minimise the damage!