THE Football Association of Penang (FAP) is going all out with its Protege Bolasepak Pulau Pinang 2018 (PBPP2018) programme to encourage young football talents.
The programme’s objective is to ensure that every child in the state who aspires to become a professional footballer is given the opportunity to blossom.
The PBPP2018 is aimed at the grassroots level for those between the ages of five and 19 years old.
It was initiated late last year with the setting up of Penang’s first Under-10 football team.
FAP’s long-term mission is to assemble a pool of Penang-born players by 2018 who are able to compete at the Malaysian and Asian club levels.
The programme will also ensure Penang football does not lose out on precious talents who have to play elsewhere due to a lack of opportunities in the state.
“The search for young talents will be conducted through coaching, games and competitions at schools and clubs,” said FAP president Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff at a fund- raising dinner for the development of Penang football at Royale Bintang Hotel recently.
“This ambitious project will involve about 10,000 schoolchildren in the state and ta-lented youngsters in every age group will be identified and nurtured.”
Youngsters selected for the programme will start in one of the several established football academies on the island and mainland.
Talented players will then graduate to the FAP football academy and the state age-group teams.
The cream of the crop will be offered professional playing contracts in the state senior team.
Besides the state team who compete in the second-tier Premier League, the FAP also handles the Penang teams for the Under-21 President Cup and the Under-19 Youth Cup national competitions.
During the dinner attended by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, the FAP also launched the Penang team jerseys for the 2015 season.
The Penang team’s new coaching lineup was introduced. The players are led by Brazilian Jacksen Tiago.
Two Penang jerseys autographed by Lim were auctioned off, one for RM5,000 and the other for RM3,500, during the event.
The FAP also unveiled its new website (fapenang.my) and a new bus donated by the Aspen Group.
It also introduced its new magazine named ‘Arena Penang Panthers’ which contains news about the Penang football team.