Subahan wants reality to sink in, start afresh with football as a national agenda
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - 10:12
The Malay Mail
National team manager Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal (pic) said the faster this reality sinks in, the better.
“I am not offering excuses for the current standard of Malaysian football, but merely stating the facts,” said the FA of Malaysia vice-president.
“Many are under the illusion that we are already world beaters after our AFF Cup and Sea Games triumphs. It must be understood that these victories were just the beginning of a long road ahead.
“We cannot transform the national team overnight.
“Yes, we are doing everything possible to fast-track our improvement, but it is not that simple.
“We have to be realistic and start by topping the Asean countries first. As a matter of fact, the standard among Asean countries is almost the same. Our aim is to be consistent against these teams and reach the top first before moving on to Asian teams.
“Even at the Asian level, we should be aiming to be among the top 10 before we can even think of winning the Asian Cup.”
Although it has been said that football's progress is a national agenda, Subahan feels not enough has been done to put it on the right track.
“FA of Malaysia and the National Sports Council (NSC) have a joint committee, but I feel more has to be done than just setting up a committee.
“I feel that the sports minister and even other relevant cabinet ministers should work closely with the FA of Malaysia to bolster Malaysian football.”
Every aspect of the game has to be looked at, said Subahan, not just short-term programmes or instant success.
“There is no instant formula for success in football. It has to be a long-term programme and starting from the grassroots. We cannot address Malaysian soccer woes from the top.
“We have to start looking at the lack of or poor state of football fields in schools. We need to have programmes in place for the young in schools, districts and states. We need to have high calibre coaches placed under these programmes. There needs to be proper monitoring.
“The fact is that although we claim we have gone professional and our players are professionals, the general standard of play among the majority of them is average.”
Subahan also hopes to see more Malaysians play for clubs in Asia.
“Many went abroad but returned in no time. We need players who are mentally strong and serious about being professional footballers with high goals to achieve.
“That is the only way our present batch of players can improve while we wait for better quality and trained players from the grassroots programmes to arrive.
“It has to be a two-pronged attack. While having our footballers play for top Asian clubs is an immediate plan to rectify the ills of the game in Malaysia, the grassroots programmes will be our long-term plan to have better foundations and a steady stream of quality players coming through in the future.”
Patience is the key word, said Subahan, while there is a concerted effort by all the related parties.
“Only then will we see light at the end of the tunnel.”