Sylvester Lim, a Form Five student of St Joseph’s Private School is very keen on football. He was invited by “The Inside Scoop” of the United States for an an online interview. Below is his sharing of his experience.
On 26 July 2020, I received an email from “The Inside Scoop”, USA, conveying the intention to interview young and enthusiastic footballers like me. The interviewer would be Neil Kamau Crawford, who is the founder of “Anytime Soccer Training”. I was introduced to Neil and got to know about his training agency from my friend, Derick Liew, who is also a football enthusiast.
Upon agreeing and decided on the interview date and time, I was given a set of questions based on a scenario. “My family and I have just moved to your city, Kuching and I have a 10-year old son. I want to sign him up for local football training or agency. What are the pathways available? What are the key steps of his progression from grassroots to football academy?”
I suggested the National Football Development Program (NFDP). This program is the brainchild of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and they are working closely with Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Youth and Sports, and National Sports Institution in order to help young passionate footballers to pursue their career.
One of the ways to join the program is through Academy Tunas. This academy trains players starting from age 7 to 12 years old. SK Bandar Samariang is one of the primary schools entrusted to take charge of the National Football Development Program (NFDP) in Kuching. After completing the program in Academy Tunas, players of age 13 to 17 years old will be given 2 options to continue NFDP by either enrolling into the State Sports School, SMK Tabuan Jaya or District Training Center (Pusat Latihan Daerah), which is located in SMK Bako.
In sports school, players are exposed to competitive matches and leagues every weekend. In between players will either go for trials in Malaysia Sports School (Bukit Jalil Sports School) or shortlisted in Mokthar Dahari Academy (National U17 Footballers Training Center) in Pahang. After that, they will either go for trials in professional clubs or they just end their career at 17 years old.
All in all, I felt relieved that I have answered all the questions and shared my opinions and thoughts. As a 17-year old youth, I am honoured to be given the opportunity to talk to people who share the same interest in sports, particularly football. I hope that there will be such interviews again. • Sylvester Lim