KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Some 15,000 trainees under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) will now have the opportunity to participate in more competitive and quality competitions through huge allocations provided by the government for the programme next year.
National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the RM45 million allocation would help MSN provide better facilities at the Mokhtar Dahari Football Academy (AMD) in Gambang, Pahang, ensuring that it was on par with football development centres in other developed countries.
“This comes as a relief for us as before this we had to dig into other sports allocations to ensure the programme could be continued as usual,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling the 2020 Budget today, said the government has allocated RM45 million to the NFDP compared to RM15 million last year.
Ahmad Shapawi also thanked the government for providing a special budget of RM299 million for the recovery of old sports complexes as this would give a huge impact to states’ athletes who have been using it as their training ground.
Meanwhile, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Mohamad Norza Zakaria believed that the increase in the allocation provided by the government for sports would boost the spirits of national athletes to hunt for qualification slots at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Last year for the Olympic Games, we received RM100 million but this year RM179 million has been given, it would help the athletes in assisting them in the qualification process.
“With this budget, I’m confident that the selection process for the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam will continue from the Philippines (2019 SEA Games),” he said when contacted by Bernama.
So far, eight athletes have qualified on merit to the 2020 Olympics and they are Pandela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng Yan Yee (diving); Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (sailing); Khairul Anuar Mohamad (archery) and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (gymnastics).
Under the 2020 Budget, RM179 million has been allocated for international competition preparations such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Hanoi 2021 SEA Games as well as the paralympic athletes’ development.
In addition, the RM10 million allocation for the development of women athletes was the highest honour, a positive move towards increasing the quality of their participation.
Besides producing more women athletes at the international stage, OCM vice president and Malaysian Athletics Union (KOM) deputy president, Datuk Mumtaz Jaafar said the allocation could also be channelled to empower women in sports administration.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Esports Association (ESKL) president Hisham Darus called on the Youth and Sports Ministry to empower the Malaysian Electronic Sports Association (ESM) to conduct activities related to the sport and not arbitrarily appoint private companies to organise e-sports competitions.
Through the 2020 Budget, the government has recognised e-Sports potential and doubled its allocation to RM20 million from RM10 million last year. — Bernama