Say What

Published: Thursday January 16, 2014 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday January 15, 2014 MYT 8:40:27 PM

Only the elite get to play competitive football?

Grants given to the state FAs by FAM should be spent on grassroots development instead of their football teams.

Grants given to the state FAs by FAM should be spent on grassroots development instead of their football teams.

LET us see if the scenario below is familiar to all of us:

Ahmad, a Form 5 student, loves to play football. But, he never sees himself as a skilful player, and thus has never joined the tryouts for the school team in the past.

However, since this is his last year in secondary school, he decides to give it a try.

When the school calls for tryouts, all interested students, including Ahmad, sign up. In the end, 18 are selected to represent the school team, and will proceed to weekly trainings, and eventually, the school's tournaments.

All the resources given by the school towards the “cause” of football is fully invested into training equipment, rides to training camps and friendly matches and accommodation. In other words, it is fully invested in those 18 players, so that they will perform well and put the school in a good placing at the tournament.

No resources are spared for those who are not selected, or should I say, those whose talent has not been realised yet.

The school, as usual, does not organise a closed tournament for its students, because no resources have been reserved for that sort of thing. In other words, these players are denied further development of their skills, and will remain a kick-about-at-the-public-field players for the rest of their life.

Ahmad is not selected. And so, along with the rest, apart from the occasional kick-around during physical education, his school years end without having any experience in competitive football.

This has always been the case in our country: the political agenda. In other words, sport is used as a political tool to make Malaysia shine internationally. Thus, the majority of the resources should be put into that aspect.

Questions: What about us? What about the amateur players?

Why is all the money granted by FAM each year to state FAs spent on their precious football team who play in empty stadiums every year (except Kelantan, of course)?

Why is the additional revenue from Astro's live broadcasts of matches spent entirely on the professional team, including recruitment of foreign players whose salary is probably five figures?

What about grassroots development? What about amateur players? What about youth players?

That money should be spent on organising local amateur football leagues, youth tournaments, school football clinics, local referee courses, local coaching courses, etc.

Why is it that only the elite get to play competitively and further develop their skills, but the rest can “balik kampung” (go home)?

How can we be sure that this player who failed to impress during a tryout will never be a good player, when we deny him a chance to play competitively and develop his skills?

How do we expect to find talent when we deny them the chance to play competitive football regularly and develop their talent?

In my opinion, the yearly grant to state FAs by FAM should be spent on actual grassroots development, instead of just feeding off the elite.

How can we develop talent for our football when we do not give them a chance to even play competitively?

The chance to play competitive football should not just be given to the elite, but to all who want to play football. In my opinion, those who want to play football should be given a chance to play competitive football, regardless of the level of their skill.

Harry Lee

Tags / Keywords: football, FAM, Football Association of Malaysia, state FAs, development, grassroots

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