KUCHING: Former Sarawak football coach Alan Vest admits that youth football development is indeed a tough job to tackle, especially in a big state like Sarawak.
Is the state paying the price for failing to invest in youth training programme for the past 15 years?
Clearing the air over the five-year football development programme which came under scrutiny lately, the former Crocs supremo has revealed the structure and the vision of the programme.
“Football development cannot happen overnight,” enthused Vest adding further that a proper groundwork must be done for football development in the state to progress.
According to him, it is best that Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS) be part of the football development process. “They have better facilities and a big pool of players to spearhead the programme,” informed Vest who is currently the technical advisor of the MSNS football development programme.
“I love Sarawak and I come here to help. I don’t receive any wages but for the love of the game,” said Vest when met at MSNS office at Civic centre yesterday.
Vest, who brought Sarawak to win the FA Cup in 1992, the Premier League title and put Sarawak on top flight in Malaysia football scene, said that MSNS is heading on the right direction in bringing and implementing football development in the state with the collaboration of the state education department.
Eager to revive and bring Sarawak to its football glory days, MSNS receives a directive from the Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation (KPSU) to spearhead the five-year football development programme after receiving the nod from the state cabinet in 2009.
Vest mentioned that there is a vital need to have a proper football league in the state to allow potential players to horn their skills and their talent identified.
“It will be waste of money (state funds) if there is no proper league, spread over many months as a platform to identify players for the state,” stressed Vest.
He lamented that a football development blueprint he has developed 15-years ago for Sarawak has apparently never seen the light of day.
“Nothing has been done over the past 15-years on football development,” said Vest, adding that the state is paying a hefty price for failing to invest in youth development.
Vest mentioned that regardless of the coaches’ coaching level, it would be futile for football development without proper solid base for them to work on. “No matter how many A, B or C license coaches we have, it’s about quality not quantity that matters,” he added.
Vest’s opinion was echoed by the MSNS director Francis Nyurang Ding who expressed that MSNS never chose to implement youth development but instead being entrusted to look into the development programme under the directive of KPSU with its minister Dato Sri William Mawan as the advisor.
The steering committee comprises of MSNS, State Education Department, Sarawak Youth and Sports Department, Football Association of Sarawak, Brooke Dockyard and Sarawak Energy.
“We in MSNS are merely the secretariat of the committee,” said Nyurang, who added that MSNS role is to provide technical and financial support to the aged-group football development league organised by State Education Department at the three Zones (Miri, Sibu and Kuching) throughout Sarawak.
He also said that the report of the development programme have to be submitted to the committee once the junior league is completed. Nyurang added that amendments to the five-year development programme modules are necessary if the current plan fails to produce fruitful results.
“We will have to relook, evaluate and make changes to the modules if it is not working,” said Nyurang, who is satisfied with the ongoing inaugural aged-group league which kicked-off in Miri followed by the tournament in central region of Sibu and currently in Kuching. “Scientific approaches is also vital to the football development which encompasses physiotherapist, dieticians and sports science,” he added.
Also present at the briefing were project coordinator Lucas Kallang, President Cup team coach Sulaiman Mustanir, Sukma team Coach Shamsurin Abdul Rahman and goalkeeping coach Jahar Nor.