Best wishes and congratulations to the Maldives National Team, you have proved to be the king of football in the South Asia.
It was a dramatic game of football where the national side of Maldives made history is Sugathadasa Stadium, both sides fought till the last minute to be crowned as the South Asian Champions.
When our team proved that we are the best in the region with Mukhtars thunderbolt at the dying minutes of the second half it was time for a nationwide celebration, and also different people looked into the win at different angles. Some claiming their hard work for football development in Maldives.
It is a well-known fact that the Maldivians learnt their soccer from Sri Lankans. There have been many reputed Sri Lanka coaches who later moved on to Male to coach Maldives. Those hard efforts and humble beginnings are now paying dividends. People who learnt their ‘a’ and ‘b’ in soccer alphabet are now giving us a dose of our own medicine. “19th June 2008, Daily News Sri Lanka”
Well it is understood that we had Sri Lankan Coaches and players in the local top club. that doesn’t give the Sri Lankans the right to claim that we learnt our “a” and “b” of football from them. The people of Maldive had worked hard.
Neither the football governing body nor the sports governing body is entitled to claim that it’s only their hard work, it’s also the work done by the people of Maldives. Ask this question “How many of these players has become a top level footballer being in a proper youth development program?. Almost all of the players on this team came from different atolls; the atoll community should be praised for developing these talent. Looking into the facilities available in atolls developing players like ARIF, ISMAIL, IMRAN, MUKHTAR, THORIQ and SAEED is almost an impossible task. And the island community should be proud of this.
At this point we need to raise serious questions to the football governing body if we are to defend the title in the coming years. We need a future infrastructure for youth development concentrating on all atolls if we are to tap talent and to keep this title back in Maldives.
We need the governing body to build up a structure where the top teams in the first division and leading teams in the atoll community should have their football training academy for youngsters, we need the governing body to arrange youth tournament on a bigger scale where the teams represents their junior under 14, 16, 18 and see our youth climbing the ladder to represent the country on an international level.
It is understood that FAM is undergoing a remodeling phase where a new elected chairman and an executive committee will be elected shortly. I believe that largest association in the country need a committed person who is willing to explore and develop football in a larger scale nationwide, who have a passion for the beautiful game. If the expectations are unmatched it will break the hearts of thousands and thousands of fans within this small nation.
It’s time we need to think on a positive attitude to develop talent for future, I am convinced that if a proper development plan is not produced we might have to dream or even wait 17 more years to bring back this title home.
Now that we are the kings of South Asia we need to think on a bigger scale for the future, as a football fan I would want to see Maldives playing in the Asian Championships. We need the rich to spend on sporting academies to make this a reality.