Monday, January 30

Big boost for state football devt

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RM1.5 mln annually for five years programme

KUCHING: The Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS) got a big shot in the arm on Thursday when its application for funds to run a five-year football development programme was given the nod by the State Cabinet.MSNS director Francis Nyurang Ding said with the funds, the Council could proceed with implementation immediately.

“I have just been notified by the state government today that the application we submitted last year has been approved, and we will be given RM1.5 million annually for five years to run the programme,” he disclosed on Thursday.

Francis said the groundwork was, in fact, laid last year when the Council organised a course in June for 33 coaches in Miri.

Former Sarawak coach Alan Vest conducted the course with the assistance of state football development coordinator Lucas Kalang.

According to Francis, the programme was on hold for a while as the council was awaiting the government’s approval for the application.

The council was tasked by the state government in the beginning of last year to oversee football development in the state.

“We will be organising another coaching course in Miri on February 11 and 12 under Vest who is now a technical director of the development programme,” he said.

According to Francis, the programme will start with 30 school-based and three regional centres (northern, central and southern zones).

“We will be working very closely with the State Education Department as the schools are very much involved.”

He said the school-based centres would concentrate on the basics while the three regional centres would tackle the more advanced level.

“Over 670 players from the Under 22, Under 17 and Under 15 age groups in the 33 centres will be involved,” Francis said.

He sees no reason why good players cannot be trained up from such a big pool of players.

The players will first compete in Inter-School and Inter-Centre competitions where they will be selected for the Inter-Regional Centre competition.

Other competitions include Borneo Games (U23), Piala Yayasan Sarawak (Emas, U17) and Under-18 MSSS League.

From these competitions, the best players will be absorbed into the President Cup and Sukma teams and eventually play for the senior team in the Malaysian League.

The object is to develop players with good technical and tactical skills and who are also knowledgeable and disciplined.

It is part of an on-going effort to produce players for the state President Cup, Sukma and senior teams and to strengthen cooperation between the Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry, MSNS, the Malaysian Schools Sports Council and the Football Association of Sarawak.

“I believe with the   support, commitment and cooperation of all  concerned, we can run the programme successfully,” Francis said.