Friday, July 26, 2013

Why aren't the past showing way to the future?
Friday, July 26, 2013 - 15:43

Talk is cheap.
Turn all the football advice into action and perhaps Malaysia will have a future.
There are many who can make a difference to football, but they would rather talk about it than do something.
Take the Ex-State and Ex-National Players Association of Malaysia, whose members are the cream of Malaysia’s former players.
While they clamour to be included in the state coaching programmes, they themselves have not initiated any for young players.
They cannot keep waiting for others to offer assistance.
As an association for former national and state players, I am sure one of their objectives is to help with the development of the game.
So, why have they not set up academies around the country with their members at the helm? Obviously, the question is who will finance such academies.
I am sure as household names and with titles to their names, many of these former players can source for sponsors who will want to be associated with such noble programmes.
Or the association could approach the Ministry of Education to help out at schools.
And nobody is asking these ex-internationals and state players to offer their services for free.
With funds from the sponsors or an agreement with the Ministry of Education, I am sure there will be enough to pay the coaches.
But more often than not, these ex-stars seem more interested in their own welfare.
Two years ago, the association came up with a brilliant idea to organise the 1st Malaysia Day Ex-Internationals/State Invitational Soccer 9s. It was a congregation of past players from all the states and ex-international players from Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Australia.
The tournament, held under the chairmanship of Datuk M. Kuppan and Bwandi Hiralal, was not only to enhance comradeship among past players, but to raise funds as well.
The funds were to be used for the well-being of the members, scholarships for their children and to organise coaching clinics.
Sadly, poor efforts by the members, many of whom did not lift a finger to source for funds, saw the tournament end in the red.

Datuk M. Kuppan and Bwandi Hiralal
HONOURED: Datuk M. Kuppan and Bwandi Hiralal awarding Malacca's V. Kalimuthu the oldest player award for the 2011 Ex- Internationals tournament

And even sadder, the tournament died.
It was a great endeavour that could have been developed into one of the region’s premier tournaments for ex-internationals.
More importantly it could become a regular source of funds for the association. However, the association is just content with playing annual friendly matches and going on overseas trips.
There are some ex-internationals, however, who are contributing to Malaysian soccer in their own way. Former Perak and national player Datuk M. Karathu travels every weekend from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur to handle the Royal Selangor Club Junior Soccer development programme. He has enlisted the services of former internationals V. Kalimuthu, P. Umparam and brothers Lim Chuan Chin and Lim Hong Guan.
If more ex-internationals got involved in grassroots development, the future of soccer would certainly brighten.
On that note, it is interesting to note the mushrooming of private football academies in the country.
While this is good for the development of the game, many of these academies cater to the rich and famous and charge exorbitant fees.
Yes, there are also many academies that cater to the masses, some of which are well managed with sponsors backing them. But many are just money-making businesses, and the majority of them do not even have qualified coaches.
Perhaps, it is time the FA of Malaysia or even the Ex-State and Ex-National Players Association of Malaysia sanctioned and monitored these centres. This will ensure there is some quality control and we can be assured that the children are taught the right way and above all they get value for their money.
So, let us walk the talk.

TONY MARIADASS, is the consulting
Sports Editor with The
Malay Mail. A former Sports Editor
of the paper, he has 27 years
of sports writing experience.
He can be reached at tonym@

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