KUCHING: The recent announcement of the launching of the Football Development project after a year’s delay and thousands of ringgit in grant must be music to the ears of success-starved Sarawak football fans.
If the report by a local newspaper that former Sarawak legendary coach Alan Vest will be the director of coaching is correct, Sarawak football shall have a strong SUKMA squad this time.
It may be able to enter at least the semifinals or capture the SUKMA trophy after the millions of ringgits spent.
But why Vest who is semi-retired and who has already stated that he will never hold a full-time job unless he is invited to do short courses or give a few day’s coaching clinics.
He might be a legend and well versed in development, but he will not be able to give his all.
The critical thing about Sarawak football development according to a football official is that there must be a very qualified person who is always on the ground.
He must be an expert to implement and planprojects and oversee that quality coaching are carried out by selecting the right coaches.
Another alarming feature to note about the project administered by the State Sports Council may be asked by a question: Why the one year delay?
One year is a long time in football development according to a critic, for the MSN in charge of implementing the project should have come out with a ready President’s Cup squad, coaches selected and programmes like competitions organised at the schools levels.
Football is the perennial poor cousin of Sarawak sports in SUKMA.
The first to pack up their bags and go home after failing to go beyond the first round in the past few SUKMAs, they only captured the trophy in 1990 when the Games was hosted by Sarawak. And after that, they were just like cannon fodders for the other teams.
An individual had presented to the Minister in charge of sports a working paper proposing that football development should be placed fully under the Ministry of Social Development instead of being left to the Sarawak FA.
The proposal was approved and a task force committee had been setup consisting of the MSN, the Education department, FAS and a few individuals who embarked on a “wholistic approach” towards football development.
That task force, instead of appointing the individual who had taken the initiative with his ideas to tackle football development, appointed MSN because it is the operating arm that implement the project on the ground.
MSN that had been a “failure” in football development in terms of the SUKMA context was given the task but to be fair to them, they had in the past had to concentrate on the development of other sports some of which like diving, athletics, volleyball, tennis, archery were highly successful.
But footbal has not been MSN’s success story.
One year later after it was launched, success is still as elusive as ever and the MSN is still searching for players for the junior squad and there is no leagues or regular competitions being organised.
Apart from former players Jahar Nor and Sulaiman Mustanir who travelled extensively to conduct scouting and coaching, MSN has selected hardly any worthy coach worth mentioning.