Brighter future for national football — Khairy
KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin sees the future of Malaysian football as becoming increasingly bright following positive developments of the young national teams in the international stage.
Khairy said the success of the Under-22 (B-22) team in qualifying for the Under23 Asia Football Confederation (AFC) Championship and advancing to the finals of the SEA Games last month, other than the success of the Under-18 team to the final of the Under-18 2017 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship, yesterday signalled high hopes for the success of the Harimau Malaya squad in the next five years.
The Under-18 squad advanced to the final to meet Thailand today after beating host team Myanmar via penalty kicks 5-4 after being tied 0-0 at full time.
“This proves that the changes under the new leadership of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has borne fruit. They are looking at the next five to 10 years and not only focusing on the existing national senior football team.
“If the young teams under Datuk Ong Kim Swee (B-23), Bojan Hodak (B-18) and Lim Teong Kim (National Football Development Programme – PPBN) maintain their momentum and given adequate exposure, surely our national squad will be dreaded by opponents,” he told reporters after visiting several Ninth ASEAN Para venues at Kuala Lumpur Sports City here yesterday.
According to Khairy, the young players must expand their football career by seeking experience to boost their abilities and capabilities, not only at the domestic but also international level.
“I am proud when our SEA Games squad players attracted the interest of regional teams. They should also look at opportunities to glean experience with the best clubs on the Asian continent, and if possible in Europe,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the decision of AFC to carry on the 2019 Asia Cup qualification match between Malaysia and North Korea in Pyongyang, Khairy said there was no objection from the government for the Harimau Malaya squad to play in the East Asian country.
The squad, which is coached by Nelo Vingada, would meet North Korea on Oct 5 in the third match of Group B final qualification round of the 2019 Asia Cup.
The match between the two teams, which was initially scheduled for March 28 in Pyongyang, was delayed to June 8 after the diplomatic tension following the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the elder brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jongun at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.
Following the extension of the tension, the match was again pushed off to Oct 5, only five days before the match against Hong Kong on Oct 10. - Bernama