Brighter fu­ture for na­tional foot­ball — Khairy

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

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

Khairy Ja­malud­din

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