Foreign attachments: Good for coaches, bad for players

MALAYSIA should not send their youth footballers for attachments with clubs overseas as it would be a waste of time and at the expense of their education.

This was stated by former Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD) technical director Lim Teong Kim on the issue of football development in the country.

He said while it is good for coaches to be attached with foreign clubs, it won’t work for youth players.

“If you talk about sending coaches for attachments, that’s alright. Just like what we did with QPR, we sent five coaches for attachment there. That’s part of our plans because it’s very important to develop coaches,” he said.

But speaking from experience, Teong Kim, a former Bayern Munich Under-19 assistant coach, disagrees with proposals to arrange for the country’s young players to have attachments with foreign clubs.

Alluding to the fact that Malaysia’s young players are off the radar of foreign clubs, Teong Kim said: “We are not Korea or Japan and no scout will come to Malaysia to look at our players (because of world ranking). If somebody says they will, it’s all BS.”

“With the attachments done during school, so what about their education? Isn’t it important for the boys? If they fail to secure contracts, what will they fallback on?”

So, what is the best way for Malaysia’s budding footballers to be noticed by foreign clubs?

To this, Teong Kim said the best way to get foreign scouts to be aware of Malaysian players is for them to feature on the international stage.

And that was the main goal of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP). It’s to produce quality players for the national youth team in the mission of qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup and eventually having their graduates play abroad.

To gain recognition from foreign clubs is really difficult, said Teong Kim, who boldly struck out on his own and got to play a full season with Hertha BSC in Germany in 1987.

He said the best way for our young players to be successful abroad is for Malaysia to qualify for the Under-17 World Cup.

“NFDP had a 10-year plan with 2002 being the first batch of its graduates, and we tried to get attention from the European clubs. You need to represent the country in the World Cup (Under-17), so that is why I said our short-term goal was to play in the World Cup (Under-17) because when you do, the coaches from Europe will be sent to whatever country hosting the competition.

“The interest will be there but for now it’s impossible because if you see the players, FAM are sending them to Japan and that’s just pure marketing.”

Teong Kim said he agrees with former sports minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, when the latter said NFDP is in a sad state now due to a change of management.

He said youth footballers should be given a chance to develop their skill and character instead of being “fast-forwarded” for instant results.

“When the 2002 batch of boys came to (graduate), the system was changed when a new management took over.”

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