Sunday, September 26

Spain’s La Liga sparks a look at state of football here — Karim

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KUCHING: Establishing well-organised teams and leagues at various divisions throughout the state is the way forward to improve the standard of football here.

Assistant Minister of Youth Development (Urban Areas) Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state should look at Spain’s La Liga to observe how the 2010 World Cup champion nation orchestrated the development of its football league at every level.

He cited that some of the professional clubs in Spain come from cities that are no bigger than Kuching, Sibu and Miri in terms of population.

Yet, the football standards of these clubs are of high quality due to the well-established administrations and development programmes.

Abdul Karim, who was representing Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, believed that proper league and club establishments, developmental programmes and frequent exposure to competitive football environment would only help to increase the playing standard of footballers.

In the long run, he hoped that proper teams of quality standard would emerge to do the state proud.

“We were discussing recently, how impressed we were with the football league in Spain. The cities in Spain, some of them are not that big in terms of population but the football teams that they have at various cities are so well organised.

“If only we can establish this sort of level in Malaysia or Sarawak in particular, if we can start at various divisions in the state and come out with proper teams which we could be very proud of in the future,” he said when officiating at the certificate presentation ceremony for participants of the iM Sarawak-Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience 2015 held at the Yayasan Sarawak headquarters here. (Story on Page 27).

About 160 young footballers from various age groups throughout the state participated in the five-day programme which ended yesterday.

Also present at the ceremony were Spanish Ambassador to Malaysia Carlos Dominguez Diaz, Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan, 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC) chairman Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, its council member Irwan Zulkarnain Muhammad Hasbie and Yayasan Sarawak director Datu Abu Bakar Marzuki.

In light of the programme, Abdul Karim hopes that the Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) could emulate what have been done by the Real Madrid Foundation.

He added that the Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience programme here had provided an excellent example of the commitment of iM Sarawak’s mission to create long-term sustainable benefits to the people. The close cooperation demonstrated by Real Madrid Foundation and the state could produce good human values for the youths, he continued.

“The state welcome this contribution to improve the quality of life for the people of Sarawak through sports. This campus experience will surely help in the development of the sports.

“The values that have been taught to these youngsters through football, we hope would help towards them becoming productive members in the society.

“Sports can help shaping the character of youths, making them more focus and motivated. It also encourages them the spirits of teamwork and nurtures the positive values of good sportsmanship,” Abdul Karim pointed out.

Kamalanathan, in his speech, said the state Education Department and iM Sarawak have a established working relationship that enhanced the education level via various educational and sporting programmes.

iM Sarawak’s initiatives included donating laptops and television screens to selected pre-schools in the state, improving the libraries of over 1,000 schools by providing books, sending the schools almost indestructible “One World Futbols” and sponsoring school-based sporting events such as the Sarawak Schools’ Pribumi (native) Sports Championship.

“The iM Sarawak-Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience shows that learning does not only happen in the classroom. I hope our budding athletes realise that and continue to learn and grow from their life experiences,” he said.