Monday, November 4, 2013

Is the buzz for real?

Time to take game to the next level (Published in The Malay Mail on Nov 1, 2013)
Monday, November 04, 2013 

THE pride of Malaysian football is at stake when Kelantan face Pahang in Sunday’s Malaysia Cup final.
But is the crowd frenzy and charged atmosphere that preceded the final a true reflection of the state of the game in this country?
Undoubtedly, the Malaysia Cup competition, since its inception in 1921, has never failed to exude magic and capture the imagination of Malaysians from all walks of life, young and old. And even those who are not sports fans.
It is considered the culmination of a football season. Yet, as we await the 2013 final at Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday, it begs a question: Is Malaysian football heading in the right direction to regain the glory days of the 70s and early 80s?
No doubt, the game has evolved, with a large fan base, professionalism, and teams spending big-money.
But there are still many areas lacking to take the game to the next level.
There are moves to privatise the MLeague in 2015 and a seminar was held recently to discuss this process.
Asian Football Confederation assistant secretary-general Winsdor Paul gave the keynote address and several pointers were given on setting up the independent league management body.
Also discussed was what the league management company needs to possess and what FA of Malaysia and their stakeholders need to look out for in the organisations that may approach FAM.
It is indeed a huge step to take but one which has to be taken to raise the level of game.
But the big question is whether it can happen and be a success?
While many believe that it will work this time around, there are critics who say not much is going to change.
The latter may have a point because the M-League has gone through many changes but the desired result was never achieved. The main reason being the people involved.
As much as they want to see good in Malaysian football, they are the very people who do not pull their weight.
However, it is hoped that things will be different this time as Malaysian football makes a serious attempt to emulate the level of the game attained in South Korea and Japan.
Perhaps, this Malaysia Cup final could be the stepping stone to a new football era for Malaysia.

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