Malaysians gather to discuss football directions

A three-day International Football Symposium on Malaysian football starts Monday in Kuala Lumpur, hosted by the Football Association of Malaysia, FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and supported by the National Sports Council. Keynote speakers include Datuk Peter Velappan, AFC general secretary, Dr Gyorgy Mezey from FIFA technical committee who was also a member of the Technical Study in the last World Cup and Takashi Ono, technical director of the Japan Football Association.

Coaches, past and present, have also been invited to give their views and observations about the present status of Malaysian football and the best direction it should take. National team coach, Norizan Bakar, will present a paper on the preparation of the Malaysian team for the 2007 Asian Cup; B. Sathianathan, the Malaysian Olympic head coach who FAM sent to Germany for the World Cup, will also present a paper on the Malaysian World Cup dream; and National youth coach K. Rajagopal will give his analysis of the Malaysian team at the recent Asian Youth Championships in Bangalore, India.

"We have received some heavy criticism and also suggestions from those who do not wish to see the game erode any further in Malaysia, so we will be discussing its direction, what we have done and are we on the right track," said Robert Alberts, FAM technical director. "I am hoping very much that there will also be a change of mentality among the participants as we need to be positive and find ways and means to see how we can improve. We also hope to learn from the experts who are coming to this symposium," Roberts.told Christopher Raj of the New Straits Times.

Some 200 participants from State FAs, National Sports Council and other associations and organisations are expected to attend.