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Tuesday March 15, 2011
By NG WEI LOON firstname.lastname@example.org Photos by ART CHEN
THE Cardiff City Football Club are not prescribing a fixed method in assisting Malaysia to develop the game at the grassroots.
The club’s chief executive officer Gethin Jenkins said Malaysia would need to discover their own style to scale greater heights in the beautiful game with a huge global appeal.
“We need to find out and understand the current programmes before offering suggestions to improve the skills of budding footballers.
“We are not saying that Malaysia should follow a certain structure. Our aim is to give back because we have received tremendous support from Malaysia.
“We want to contribute by setting up training centres for the youngsters here. Malaysia will definitely need to play to their strengths in adopting the right system,” Jenkins said.
And Cardiff City, boosted with a recruitment of 25 community officers under their banner, have indicated their willingness to share their experiences in educating young beginners to help them build a strong foundation and pick up good fundamental skills.
Jenkins was in town for the launch of the 1Malaysia Cardiff City (1MCC) junior football Under-12 league at the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) in Sungai Buloh on Saturday.
Among the other representatives from the Welsh side keeping a watchful eye on the budding footballers in action were the trio of Neal Ardley (academy head), Steve Ellis (education academy) and Scott Young (community academy).
Malaysian philanthropist Tan Sri Vincent Tan has forged a special link by coming in as the major shareholder of the English championship league side while another Malaysian businessman, Datuk Chan Tien Ghee, is the club’s chairman.
Following a testing financial period, Jenkins said they were committed to elevate the standard of the club’s football.
After winning the play-off for a promotion into the championship level in 2003, Cardiff City have been chasing for a breakthrough into the top flight Premier League.
And their appearance at the FA Cup final in 2008 was the major highlight for the Bluebirds in recent years.
“It is important that we continue to grow from here. So far, the outcome has been very positive. We are running the club more sensibly. It is our dream to be competing at the same league along with the top English clubs.
“Getting on to the bigger stage will give us the push to increase the club’s profile,” he added.
Meanwhile, a total of 31 teams are competing in the Under-12 age-group of the 1MCC league hosted over a nine-week period.
Tien Ghee said they were delighted the league has received overwhelming support from football clubs operating privately and academies fielding their respective teams in the league.
“It is wonderful to provide an uplifting experience for the youngsters attempting to fulfil their potential in football. We will be rewarding the outstanding performers from the league with a memorable trip to Cardiff City.
“But, we also emphasise the element of fun and encourage children to foster stronger bonds with their family and friends through football. It will be good to introduce similar initiatives in other states,” Tien Ghee added.
Besides the ongoing Under-12 category, the Under-14 league is scheduled from May to July followed by the Under-16 challenge between September and December.
National coach K. Rajagopal, who also turned up to mingle with the participants, said the children’s interest in having a kickabout is gaining momentum following the national team’s success capturing the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship at the end of last year.
“We are confident that promising talents will surface in junior tournaments of this nature.
“It is an opportunity for them to shine on the pitch. It is a step forward in restoring our football culture,” he added.
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