KUALA LUMPUR: The plan to have naturalised players representing the country in football must be studied carefully before it’s implemented, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said.
“For me, the most important thing is grassroots development. We can’t find a shortcut to success.
“If we cannot ensure the next generation of players are capable in this sport, it means my ministry and the association have failed,” he told reporters after witnessing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) ceremony between the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Ehime Prefecture at the Academy Badminton Malaysia at Bukit Kiara.
“I want to emphasise the point that there cannot be an easy way out – grassroots development is very important.
“We want to ensure that in the end, there will be many Malaysian athletes who can carry and strengthen the spirit of Malaysian football,” he said.
Syed Saddiq was commenting on FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin’s plans to allow naturalised players to represent the country in the future.
On the National Football Development Programme of Malaysia (NFDP) which is under the ministry’s purview, Syed Saddiq said he has asked the FAM to propose a short and long- term plan on grassroots development so that both parties can work together and ensure grassroots development in football.
“No final decision has been made, we’re still waiting to see what they (FAM) can offer and how we can help.
“We in the ministry want to help as much as possible and to collaborate to ensure a good future for Malaysian football.”
Earlier, former FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim urged the NFDP to work closely with the national body and said that a more concerted effort is needed from all the stakeholders to raise the standard of Malaysian football.
Tunku Ismail said that the FAM did not have a good working relationship with the NFDP during his short one-year tenure as the FAM president.