PUTRAJAYA: Wunderbar! The National Football Development Programme (NFDP) will get a touch of German class following the appointment of new project director Lim Teong Kim.
The 50-year-old Teong Kim, with 12 years of youth coaching experience with German champions Bayern Munich, will begin work in November in a bid to help Malaysia qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2019.
Teong Kim is one of the few Malaysian footballers to have succeeded in Europe, having played for Hertha Berlin in Germany and Grazer AK in Austria.
“Wunderbar!” was how Teong Kim responded when asked about his appointment by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in Putrajaya on Wednesday.
“It’s a big challenge to come back to the place where I started my playing career. I’m looking forward to pooling my resources together from my experience – 76 caps with the national team and 12 years with the Bayern Munich system.
“I’d like to impart my knowledge to the younger coaches and players,” said Teong Kim.
Asked what he had gathered from his older brother Kim Chon, who laid the laid the groundwork for the programme, which began in June 2011, Teong Kim said there was still plenty to be done.
“We have good young players ... but these talents don’t grow on trees. You have to really work with them and, by the will of God, we should one day meet our goal,” said Teong Kim.
Teong Kim also stressed the need for support from all quarters in making the NFDP a success.
“I’ve been here before and said that we were behind time in our football aspirations ... lacking in infra-structure. But we have to try to make the changes from now.
Everyone has a role to play and the people’s mindset must change,” said Teong Kim.
Khairy said that Teong Kim’s appointment was necessary following the departure of Kim Chon for a new FIFA posting in May.
“We will hire him (Teong Kim) for three years, with an option to extend it for another two more years. The project director’s post is a bigger responsibility than the technical director. The entire programme will be run by Teong Kim and his team. We are working on a budget and will make an announcement soon. Basically, we are looking at a pyramid system and the base needs to be broadened.
“In order to get the cream of the crop we have to start with the base, with players from 7-12 years of age. The laying of the foundation will take about five years,” said Khairy.
The NFDP is organised and funded by the Youth and Sports Ministry.