Saturday, February 28, 2009

KJ on crappy state of Malaysian football

It is interesting to read Khairy Jamaluddin's views in Malaysiakini on the bad state of Malaysian football. KJ is the deputy president of FAM. So, his views obviously carry more weight than that of a blogger.

That his views on the abject absence of grassroots football development in Malaysia are consistent with the issues raised in my earlier post entitled, A Malaysian football academy idea that never was, gives me some encouragement.

In the Malaysiakini's report, Khairy: Own goals keep local football down, KJ suggests a drastic measure of suspending the local football league for a whole year in order to revamp it. from here.

This part of the report was resonant and interesting:

Khairy also listed five reasons for the abysmal standard of Malaysian football today - lack of money, no grassroots structure to pool young players from, no professional coaches, the scourge of corruption among players and losing supporters to the European leagues.

"Football today suffers from a lack of money. We have lost the tobacco sponsorship. So most of the money that we get is spent on the league and all the national teams, both of which are crap," he admitted.

It must be noted that about RM300 million was pumped into the FAM from 1997-2005 by then sponsor Dunhill. This funding has now dried up and the FAM is seeking fresh aid from the government to revitalise the local football scene.

The cash-flow problem is also a reason why local teams have been barred by the FAM from hiring foreign players.

khairy jamaluddin interview 230209 07Many teams have struggled to pay the wages of these foreign players, leaving them unpaid or worse still, having their contracts terminated without proper reasons.

Supporters and football pundits have argued that the presence of these foreign players would have added glamour to the league - like how it has done for the Japanese league.

The other view - which eventually won the day - was that the presence of foreign players would hamper the growth of local talent.

Several local teams too have been guilty of hiring questionable foreign players who are eventually let off due to their sub-playing standards.

Khairy, however, felt that it was not just the presence of foreign players that was hampering the growth of the local talent.

He blames that squarely on a lack of opportunities for young local talents to be spotted.

"We don't have a grassroots structure anymore. There are no more (new) state-run academies or any local leagues for new talents to come up and be identified," he said.

If you have read my earlier post as referenced above, you will find that I quite agree with KJ on this.

But, as always, will the deputy president of FAM be able to engender positive change for local football?

Funding is not really an issue. Football is an important sport (if the local councils stop taking bribes from developers to destroy all the precious public padang bola in the suburbs).

Besides, I have a few ideas of how to organise the funding model and grassroots football development programmes. But, let's see what the deputy president of FAM comes up with in the aftermath of MyTeam.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

In my younger days, in the 50s, we used to see a lot of football played: there were inter -school leagues - both primary and secondary - district leagues and then inter-state games. I believe it was from these programmes or leagues that our country was able to produce some of the best players we have ever seen. The 1960's were the golden years 0f Malaysian football.

Who were amongst those who provided the leadership, energy, commitment and dedication then so that boys and young men enjoyed their football and these young men and boys eventually became great footballers? School teachers, rubber estate managers and district as well as state department personnel.

I believe if we can rediscover the spirit of the 50s and 60s, we can very well produce more Ghani Minhats, Arthur Kohs, Arumugams, Mokhtar Daharis, Soh Chin Auns and so on; so many I cannot list them all here.

Perhaps the simple management styles and the type of funding then prevalent - teachers belanja their players to mee bandung and syrup meals after a match irrespective of the results of a particular match - may not be prcatical in these days of big sponsorships and power play. But people seem to forget that there has to be that 'semangat' to play, even in your own discoloured singlets, that may be missing now.

Maybe too much space, time and money have been given to those at the top. In the quest for success, players have been spoilt rotten. Money, lots of it, not managed well and spent for short term gain, has been the bane of Malaysian soccer since the inception of the so-called professional game. All this while, grassroots players and 'activists' have been neglected.

I still see children playing futsal in my housing estate, playing with gutso and wilsd abandon, organising inter team competitions. Community mosques have also come into the game, organising futsal competitons during community week or on whatever occasion to bring people together. Maybe someone at the top should take notice of what is happening at the grassroots.

It is the grassroots really, isn't it. that needs encouragement, nurturing and perhaps a little funding? I don't know but I will contnue to watch the futsal matches the kids in my housing estate play almost every afternoon and hope something positive can result from their enthusiasm.


de minimis said...


I agree with your comments completely.

Anonymous said...

"KJ is the deputy president of FAM. So, his views obviously carry more weight than that of a blogger."

Won't be for much longer now that KJ will be slithered by Najib and gang.

Navi said...

The Government has to accept a larger part of the blame for the low level of football played.

Football fields have been taken away to make way for shopping complexes and other buildings. Schools have lost their fields to accomodate hostels and more classrooms.

The selection of teachers has been dismissal. Teachers who do not play games and who have shown utter lack of interest. What type of training do they undergo. Except for a few, most teachers seems to be "kayus". What are the selection criteria?

The poor importance given to the teaching of physical education is another reason for such poor interest.

What happened to the local leagues, at distrct levels? In most districts today, there are no footbal or for that matter for any games an association to organize some form of training, and competition.

If we do have any players now, most of them are there because of their own interest, the interest shown by parents and the few individuals who undertalke responsibilities in the interest of the games. The State Associations and FAM have not done their share to promote the game at the lower levels.

Before the Ministry of Youths and Sports was set up, volunteers formed clubs and associations at every level to promote the game. With the ministry appointing sports and youth officers to every district, we have not seen any concrete step taken by them to do likewise.