Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sarawak Football: Rome Not Built In A Day

BY JEREMY VENO, easterntimes.

KUCHING: The five-year football development plan which is being spearheaded by the Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS), has the long term objective of producing top-notched local players to revive the glory days of Sarawak football.

The initiative is going to start full swing this year, up till 2015 where a meticulous development plan being drawn to cover the whole of Sarawak.

According to a spokesperson from MSNS, the development initiative is still in its infancy stage, where the proposal for the programme made on June 12, 2009 had just been given the green light from the State government.

The good news of the approval also came with a financial boost of RM1.5 million per year allocation by the State government to MSNS for executing the five-year programme, which will see the council will working very closely with the State Education Department.

“These schools are important assets to us. They are the ones supplying us the huge pool of players and coaches and we can also save money on the facilities as the schools can make use of their own football fields for training and competitions,” he said.

He stressed that MSNS role would greatly be focused on the structure and financial aid while keeping an eye on the schools to ensure that they (schools) would not derail from the training syllabus.

Starting with 30 schools to launch the programme at the grassroots level, MSNS will also ensure that their centres in the northern, southern and central region of Sarawak will be pressing on the more advanced trainings.

Regional centres

The northern region (Miri) will oversee their centres of excellence and development centres located in Miri, Bintulu and Limbang while the Southern region (Kuching) will focus on the centres in Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman and Betong.

The central region (Sibu), however, will only be focused in the area of Sibu, Mukah, Sarikei and Kapit where the centres, according to MSNS, will be coached by at least a “B” license coach to ensure the quality of the players produced.

From all the involvement, MSNS has projected over 600 players from all the centres in the Under 17 and Under 15 age groups.

To get the cream of the crop, a selection will be made through a intercentre competitions where only the best players will get a chance to be roped in for the Inter-Regional Centre competition.

Through the tournaments, it will eventually be a golden opportunity for the scouting agent to eye several unpolished gems to be recommended and further trained into the President’s Cup and SUKMA squad (depending on performance) before being roped into the senior squad.

“We have to provide quality players for once on the senior squad, they would already be under the jurisdiction of the Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) who need a huge quantitly and players,” he added.

He said a “two-way-street” also exists between the council and the football association where the upgrading of coaches can only be done by FAS, being affiliated to the football governing body of Malaysia (FAM).

The council also envisioned that by 2012, Sarawak will be able to produce a SUKMA XIV 2012 “Dream Team” to win the gold medal in the most anticipated sporting event of the country. 

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