Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Parliament: Malaysia Hopes To Relive Football Glory Days By Training 10,000 Teens

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Bernama) -- The Youth and Sports Ministry strives to relive the football glory days by launching the National Football Development Plan 2014-2020 soon to train 10,000 teenagers aged between seven and 17, the Dewan Rakyat was told on Monday.

Its minister, Khairy Jamaluddin said the teenagers would be recruited nationwide to uncover potentials and bring out the best in them and no latent talent would be left out.

He said the ministry's commitment to raise the standards of football was evident with the appointment of former Bayern Munich youth team coach Lim Teong Kim as national football development director effective November.

"We hope to get back to glory days of football aces, Datuk Mokhtar Dahari and Datuk Soh Chin Aun. Our goal is to qualify for the Youth World Cup 2019," he said when replying to a supplementary question from Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-Bandar Tun Razak).

On local football craze, Khairy said it was on the rise with stadiums packed to capacity not only when the national team was playing or during finals but also when state teams took to the pitch on weekends - thanks to efforts made by football associations.

He said some local football matches secured higher ratings than overseas matches on Astro sports channels.

However, Khairy admitted that the national football team world's ranking was still left to be desired and the Football Association of Malaysia was striving to fix it.

-- BERNAMA

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