PETALING JAYA: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have welcomed Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s support to use naturalised players for the national team.
FAM are contemplating on using naturalising footballers as a short-term approach to improve the national team’s world ranking which is at 171.
However, the plan came under the microscope and was criticised by the Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
But, Dr Mahathir has thrown in his support for the naturalisation move but reminded that local talents must not be sidelined in a press conference at the Parliament yesterday.
FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said they have appointed deputy president Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi to head a special committee to prepare for the move to include naturalised players.
“I want to thank Dr Mahathir for giving us the green light to use naturalised players for the national team,” said Hamidin in a statement yesterday.
“We are touched that Dr Mahathir is following the development of the national team and the support from the government will play a positive role in improving our football.”
Hamidin added that the FAM will mobilise the special committee to fine-tune the matters pertaining to naturalising players and also work on enhancing development programmes at the grass-root level as advised by the Sports Minister.
“The development programmes at the grassroot level to produce future players for the national team will continue,” said Hamidin.