Lim Teong Kim insisted the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) has not been a failure despite seeing his Malaysia Under-16 side crash out of the group stages of the AFC U16 Championship after the 2-0 loss to Japan in the final Group A match on Thursday.
The exit from the tournament ultimately crushed Malaysia’s hopes of making it to the U17 World Cup in 2019, the reason why the NFDP was birthed in 2014.
“The result was not positive for us. From the way we played, the NFDP is heading in the right direction. Maybe I’m wrong,” the Malaysia U16 head coach told FOX Sports Malaysia.
“Let me tell you something about Bayern Munich. They spend millions of euros on youth development, and sometimes there are no players coming through the first team.”
“You have to invest, not spend. If you don’t start now, when are you going to start? My players only started playing football at the age of 11, 12, some 13. You know how late is that?”
“Of course we wanted to win, the boys are crying. We have continue developing players. All European clubs invest a lot in players. I was 12 years in Bayern Munich, I know what I am talking about.”
Goals in either half from the Japanese condemned the young Malaysians to their second defeat in three games.
The defeat ended an abysmal tournament for them, having started so brightly with the 6-2 thrashing of Tajikistan.
A 4-2 defeat to Thailand followed, and Malaysia came into this match with hopes of three points.
Lim feels the development programme should continue, but with bigger funds.
“This is only the first try, we have to continue until we succeed. You are judging at success, my goal is to develop good players for the national team.”
“There must be serious, consistent investments. Not stop for a while when there is another political party running the country. Football should not be connected to politics.”
When asked if he is the right man to continue leading the team, Lim simply said : “I have always been the right man.”
“In Europe, football is a culture. So we have to change the culture first. And it is not only me. The governing body of football must do something about football.”
In 2014, the U16 under the charge of S. Balachandran took Malaysia within cusp of the U17 World Cup in 2015.
But the 2-1 loss to Australia in the quarterfinals dashed that hopes, and the NFDP was incepted to take Malaysia to the U17 World Cup this year.
Photo Credit: FAM