Some would prefer to see foreign talents being naturalised in a national team and others could oppose the idea as it impedes the youth and local talents to grow.
In Malaysia, various grass root programmes have been introduced in order to keep the football sports industry alive.
To get a better understanding, One Malaya had a chance to receive feedback from Steve Darby who was a well-known coach in Malaysia, former goalkeeper and ESPN Star Sports pundit.
“In principle I am against the foreign talent path. I have no problem with a player with Malaysian heritage as an example Brendan Gan, if someone has a Malaysian bloodline, I think its fine.
“But if you import players to play for the national team, not only will you get mercenaries but you will also demotivate local talent.” said Steve.
Additionally, he expressed that the key for football growth is ‘finance’.
“There has to be money invested and used sensibly, mainly on training grounds and quality staff.
“Not on ridiculous wages and transfer and agent fees.”
He exampled that JDT as one of the fine examples of money spent wisely and they are getting the success they deserve.
“I believe players and coaches have been improving every year, but the administration appears to be lagging behind.” suggested Englishman Steve Darby.
Smaller and well marketed Super League
To make the local football industry viable, Steve proposed that “smaller Super League, well marketed, well financed and with quality TV and online coverage will greatly help the game”.
“Good pitches for training and matches are vital. Quality coaching is also important for youth players, clubs should not just choose a cheap option for Youth Coach.
“A well paid (on time) league also reduces the chances of match fixing and if anyone says it doesn’t exist, they are either lying or stupid. It’s a major cancer on the game.”
Foreign players vital, but…
Not completely side-lining foreign players, Steve said that they are important to the growth of the game but they must be a good professional role models ON and OFF the pitch and be able to teach as well as be an example to local youth.
On the other hand, if foreign professionals can be a crowd puller and bring revenue for the club it will be well justified to spend extra bucks on them.
Steve suggested South East Asian footballers should make an attempt to travel abroad as foreign players, even if they don’t make it, they will return with improved skills and stronger player.
“Making it abroad demands a strong mentality. Players like Kawin, Theerathon and Chanathip have that mentality.”