PUTRAJAYA, Jan 17 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said that English Premier League side Chelsea and the Vietnam national team are the gold standard for footballing success and that Malaysia should take a leaf out of both teams' blueprint.
He said both have an incredible academy, strong grassroots and developed a sustainable footballing ecosystem that should be the envy of all footballing communities.
“Chelsea or The Blues who’re based in Stamford Bridge have one of the best grassroots programmes with players aged between nine to 23.
“Their ecosystem consisting of not just players but coaches, administrators and parents creates a football ecosystem that’s rife for success.
“Apart from improving the quality of players they increase the marketability and skills of those who eventually wear that blue jersey.
“This should be emulated by football clubs in Malaysia,” he said today.
Ismail Sabri said this in his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) new office complex in Putrajaya.
The building will be called Kompleks FAM Sultan Ahmad Shah and is built on 3.01 acres of land with state of the art facilities.
The goal is to improve Malaysian football, which Ismail Sabri said is still the number one sport in the country.
“I’m also a huge football fan and always follow Harimau Malaya and their fans the Ultras. They are hungry for success, to return to the glory days of the 70s.
“I believe grassroots development is crucial, building professionalism is crucial and failing to plan is planning to fail.
“The government is serious in developing Malaysian football in line with FAMs F:30 blueprint so we will be allocating RM10 million to FAM from 2022 onwards.”
Ismail Sabri said Vietnam were minnows in Asia in the past but are now one of the top footballing nations in Asia due to a strong academy and proper planning.
“They were ranked 172 in 2006 but are now one of the only teams to make the final qualification rounds for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
“What differentiates them from us is their grassroots development.
“Their Hoang Anh Gia Lai academy has partnerships with Arsenal, JMG Academy in France and has the support of the Vietnamese conglomerate.
“Hence if we start improving our academies and grassroots we will be able to develop high caliber football talents as well,” he added.
The plot of land for the new building is opposite the current Asian Football Federation office in Precinct 5, Putrajaya.
During the ceremony, FAM President Datuk Hamidin Mohd Ali said the name was to commemorate the late Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah and his contributions to football.
The cost is estimated to be around RM30-35 million and expected to finish in three years.
It will be equipped with all modern facilities such as video rooms, physiotherapy, gyms, auditoriums for referees and players and more.