By Tony Mariadass
Former Kedah coach, David Stuart Mitchell, is still in the country wanting to help Malaysian football but keeps running into obstacles.
The 53-year-old former Selangor player (1995-1996) and Kedah coach (2014) has approached several teams and including Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) with several development proposals but after initial enthusiasm shown by them, nothing got off ground.
Dave as he is affectionately known, is naturally disappointed but has not given up hoping that some door will open to him.
“It is not just any programme but a well-established development programme blueprint based on Holland’s Feyenoord FC development plan,” said Dave who represents Feyenoord’s interest in Southeast Asia and more specifically in Malaysia.
Dave a former Australian international striker played for Feyenoord for two seasons (1987-1989) believes Feyenoord’s famous motto – “No words, just actions” – could help transform youth development in Southeast Asia.
“Even when I played for Feyenoord in the 1980s, they were ahead of their time compared to England. Today they are without peer anywhere else in the world.
“Feyenoord Academy was voted the best youth academy in the Netherlands for the fifth consecutive season last year,” said Dave.
The Football Observatory a research group within the International Centre for
Sports Studies (CIES), a private foundation affiliated to the University of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland in their Player Development Ranking for the 2014 World Cup publication has said that. Feyenoord Rotterdam is the club that contributed the most to develop players selected for the event.
At national association level, France tops the table ahead of England and Germany with Holland in fourth spot.
“It is frustrating that a good programme like this gets the snub here, but I am not giving up as I believe that Malaysia has talent to be groomed to be a power in the region for starters,” said Dave who was born in Glasgow, Scotland.
“But I have to move on and if I do not find anyone interested in Malaysia, I may bring it to other countries in the region. I am still here because I am passionate for Malaysian football having played here,” said Dave to helped Selangor win the Malaysia Cup in 1996 with his golden goal 1-0 victory over Pahang.
Dave is a much travelled player and coach. Having started in youth career with Adelaide City and Sydney City where he played until 1983 he moved to his native town to the Glasgow Rangers in Scotland. In 1985 he moved to Germany to play for Eintracht Frankfurt before playing for Feyenoord. For the season 1990/92 to Chelsea, then to Newcastle United. After five years in England and after playing for Swindon Town 1993, he has a short stint with Altay Izmir in Turkey. He was back in England playing FC Millwall for two years before coming to Malaysia to play for Selangor. He returned to Australia after his Selangor stint played for Sydney Olympic and Sydney United. In both positions, he worked as a player-coach.
For the Australian national team, he played 44 times and scored 13 goals. With the team, he participated in the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988 and finished 5th after having represented Australia in four World Cup campaigns 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993.
As a coach, he had handled Sydney Olympics, Sydney United, Parramatta Power, Sarawak, Perth Glory and Kedah.
Between 2005 and 2006 Dave had also worked as a consultant for the Football Federation of Australia where he had compiled an extensive report on youth development and elite talent identification pathways throughout Australia which became part of the blue print for the structural change in Australian football.
“While I am trying to get someone interested in the development programme, I am also interested in a Technical Director role with M-League teams, like I was at Perth Glory F C.
“It would give me the opportunity to pass on my experience and knowledge and to instil the winning philosophy at a club that served me so well throughout my career. It would marry well with my development programme objectives,” said Dave who also works for Astro as a football pundit for the EPL.