PUTRAJAYA – Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wants the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to preserve the National Under-16 squad by ensuring their welfare since they are an important asset to the country.
The U-16 squad coached by former international S. Balachandran created history by qualifying for the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship in Thailand on Wednesday.
Khairy said their achievement showed that the country’s football standard was progressing positively although Malaysia is not a football power.
“I hope to U-16 squad will be able to maintain their performance and FAM need to assist their progress by giving them the necessary exposure because they have the potential to go far,” he said at the flag handing ceremony for the Asian Games in Incheon, here yesterday.
Khairy also reminded all players, no matter which level they were playing, to remain focused on the task ahead all the time and not just cool off after achieving success.
“We do not want players to peak at an early age and then see a drop in their performance when they grow older,” said Khairy.
Meanwhile, Malaysia who qualified for the quarterfinals after finishing as the runner-up in Group A behind South Korea will meet Australia at the Muangthong Stadium in Thailand on Sunday. – Bernama