KUALA LUMPUR – The Youth and Sports Ministry expects the country’s national football team to take at least 10 years to emerge as international contenders, according to its minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said the time frame was deemed appropriate, as many potential players, ranging from ages seven to 17, were still under intensive and long-term exposure training through initiatives such as the National Football Development Programme (NFDP).
“Recently, a former national footballer said it would be better if our senior players are replaced with under-19 players who recently qualified for the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) round, but that’s not possible, because if they are exposed (to that level) too early, for those who are too young, maybe they don’t have the endurance to achieve the desired performance.
“But with new developments, with the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) under a new leadership assisted by the NFDP, operated by the National Sports Council which currently has 21,000 players aged 7 to 17, I expect it to take 10 years before we can see the revival of the national team,” he said, when winding up debate at the committee-level for the 2018 Supplies Bill for his ministry at the Dewan Rakyat, today. – Bernama