PETALING JAYA, July 14 — Former Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim hopes that new FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, who won unopposed at the 54th FAM Congress today, will continue efforts to establish a formidable national squad.
“All of us know that the national team has started to improve. Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s (Under-23) squad, Bojan Hodak’s (U-19 squad) did well and Tan Cheng Hoe’s (Harimau Malaya) squad is also starting to do well.
“I don’t think it’s a secret who appointed them (the coaches) and placed them where they are, so hopefully, the new president will continue the momentum, especially for the Harimau Malaya squad,” said the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ) during a press conference after the Congress here today.
He also hoped Hamidin would enhance cooperation between the FAM and the National Football Development Program (NFDP) for the future of the sport in the country.
Tunku Ismail, who resigned as FAM president in March said that during his leadership, he had tried to establish close ties with NFDP, but that there were certain individuals within the programme who refused to cooperate with FAM Technical Director Peter de Roo.
“So what we could do was give our views, but the response was negative. There were some weaknesses in the NFDP such as they could not cooperate and facilitate the respective state associations in carrying out their roles.
“I hope FAM, Ministry of Youth and Sports, NFDP and state associations can all work together to improve our footballing level. I have told the new (Youth and Sports) Minister (Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman) about having this close cooperation,” said Tunku Ismail, who is also the Malaysia Football League (MFL) chairman.
He added that the MFL would always work closely with FAM and other affiliates for the mutual benefit of all parties.
Meanwhile, NFDP chief executive officer Safirul Azli Abu Bakar said that cooperation between NFDP and FAM would be enhanced, mainly in terms of technical planning and scouting.
“Previously, there was cooperation, but we will improve on it in terms of technical training. There may be constraints faced by (respective) states as the facilities we provide are only basic. They need to take their own initiative to improve on them.
“At the Mokhtar Dahari Academy (MDA), everything is sufficient, whereby MDA can accommodate up to 400 trainees at a time, but we have only 250 trainees aged between 13-17, as there is a limit of 50 trainees for each year-group,” he said.
He said overall nationwide, there were 25,525 trainees aged between seven and 17 under the NFDP training in 46 Tunas academies, 62 state training centres, 14 state sports schools, three sports schools and MDA. — Bernama