Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Can we be patient? (The Malay Mail)

ONE of the main reasons for the setback in Malaysian sports is the lack of
patience by the administrators.
Now, there is a call to bring back the foreign players just two years
after the FAM move to restrict the M-League to locals only.
But what happened to the intention of seeing local talents get a shot at
playing at the highest level and leading to a wider base of selection for
the national team?
The about turn is the reasoning that without the foreign players, there
have been poor turnouts at matches and that the standards of soccer have
But can this really be the solution?
It all boils down to us not being patient enough to see the many young
players who have had an opportunity to see action in the M-League develop
their skills.
If examined closer, the problem of them needing time to develop into
better players lies with the State FAs themselves. If only the State FAs
had put emphasis on youth development, it wouldn't have led to this
If we bring the foreigners back again, many of the young players who
have had the benefit of two years of playing experience will once again be
shunted aside.
Even the many players from the disbanded Olympic 2000 squad now playing
in the M-League might have to take a backseat.
And that would be sad because these players have had at least four years
of training with the national youth squad and featured in hundreds of
international matches.
That will not help Malaysian soccer at all.
How much can the foreigners help in raising the standards of Malaysian
And more often than not, the foreigners who grace Malaysian soccer are
have-beens, or players who cannot make the grade in the country they come
When countries all over the world are seriously thinking about the
repercussions of the presence of foreign players, it is sad that Malaysia
want to get back into it.
Even England have admitted that the influx of too many foreign players
has affected the standards of English soccer. Manchester United's Ryan
Giggs has openly said these foreign players have blocked the progress of
young home grown players.
Maybe, our soccer administrators, if they really want foreigners to play
in Malaysia to get better fans response, should limit it to only one
foreign player each team. This way, teams will only select the better
Secondly, the financial burden on State teams - from hiring foreign
players - that had been a problem in the past, will be lightened.
And maybe, clubs in the league should be allowed to recruit a foreign
player to help close the gap between them and State teams.
To say that there are not enough local talents is surely an
Just look at Kelantan who have three teams playing in Premier II -
Kelantan, Kelantan JKR and Kelantan TNB.
While some may argue that the strength of the State team has been
stretched thin, the fact that Kelantan and Kelantan JKR are in the race
for the Premier II title only underlines that there is depth in them.
If we continue to have short term plans and keep abandoning programmes
and concepts, we will never realise our true potential.