14th General Election (GE14)

KUALA LUMPUR: The main objective of establishing the football academy in the country is to unearth new talents at the grassroots level, but it is feared that the academy is purely set up to make profit.

The spawning of the football academies are likened to mushrooms flourishing after the rain, yet it has posed a big question mark - how many new young talents have helped to elevate the nation’s marred football reputation.

Moreover, Malaysia’s ranking at 164th, which is lower than Bhutan and Bangladesh teams, by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) gives an alarming signal about the nation’s sports status.

National player, Lim Chan Yew expressed his skepticism over the matter and questioned the academies’ objective in using the names of prominent European clubs.

“I want to know actually what is their main agenda in forming these academies? Is it to churn out new football talents who will bring this sport to a higher level of scale or solely for business. There are too many of these academies especially in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have to look if these academies had been formed 10 years ago, where are their players now, are they in the national team or in the league team? We have to recollect, do some research, if so, then it is useful,” he said.

Lim was commenting the issue during a Bernama TV talk-show programme called ‘Ruang Bicara’ where he was one of the panel members in discussing ‘the malaysian football discourse’ here, last night.

Former Bernama Editor-In-Chief, Datuk Seri Azman Ujang was another panel member in the one-hour show, which was hosted by Sherkawi Jirim.

Lim, 36, who was in the national team from 1999 to 2005, also expressed his worry over the lukewarm national team’s performance during an international match where Oman won 6-0.

Commenting on the services of foreign coaches, Lim said he had trained with Britain’s second division league and said “it all depended on the players’ readiness mentality and team management’s will to change.”

The former national defence said if the ‘change’ could not be materialised then the efforts made to improve the performance of the national team would be futile.

“You can even bring in Alex Ferguson here, let him adapt to our culture. Let’s say if he goes against a high ranking official in the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to change on food intake. Will the Malaysians agree to it?

“It is like taking the Malaysian team to train abroad but with the same coach and doing the training the same way as we do here. We go there just for friendly matches with the foreign teams,” he said.

Lim, who had played with Selangor and Negeri Sembilan state teams, said national players should take the opportunity to learn several things outside the field, when they go abroad including training methods, food intake, what should be done before and after a match.

Meanwhile, Azman, who had covered football matches between Malaysia and two Asian countries, namely Japan and Korea in the 70’s and 80’s, urged FAM to review its program to unearth football talents which should be made comprehensively without limiting the search area. – BERNAMA

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