Malaysian state FA starts grassroots development

Malaysia's state-level football associations have been long criticised for relying on financial allocations from the national body while contributing little to grassroots development. But last week, the Negri Sembilan FA took the initiative to launch a development program, lead by K. Dharmarajasingam, for seven to 12 year-olds. NSFA secretary Abd Halim Abd Latif said the program will initially be confined to Seremban. "But we plan to gradually conduct similar weekend coaching programs in all the districts in Negri," Abd Halim told Tony Mariadass of the Malay Mail.

The program will cost NSFA about RM30,000 annually, with the money coming from the Football Association of Malaysia’s allocation for development.

"Kuala Lumpur FA used to have a similar programme in the 1980s when Tan Sri Elyas Omar was their president and despite it being a tremendous success, it was stopped – to everyone’s surprise," Mariadass commented. "FAM should seriously consider making it compulsory for all State FAs to conduct similar programs which should be run all-year round – and to withhold their development grants if these programs are not in place. At the moment, most states’ so-called "contributions" to the development of the game are only managing the Academy teams (Under-16), Youth Cup (Under-19) and President’s Cup (Under-21) sides, held for only six months in a year ...

"NSFA again must be commended for keeping the fees to a minimum, so that everyone can learn to play football the right way from young. They are only charging RM70 as an initial fee, which is for a set of jerseys, shorts, socks and a size four ball. The monthly fee is only RM20. And if there are any kids who cannot afford the initial fees and the monthly subscription, NSFA are prepared to look into their cases on an individual basis," he noted.