SERDANG: The future of trainees under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) is now more secure as a clear blueprint is part of nine new initiatives to improve the programmes agenda.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pix) said a joint venture with the Football Association of Malaysia and the Malaysian Football League would be planned to provide support services to trainees after they ‘graduated’ from the programme at age 17.
He said the initiative was important to safeguard the interests of athletes and state associations as well as to ensure trainees did not miss out on any opportunities.
“If we look at the more advanced countries of the world, even though they (athletes) are not academically excellent, but as long as they meet the criteria, the sport will be a benchmark for them to get into university, and receive a good education. It is just one of the many other things we will do.
“In principle, we will do our best to ensure it (no trainee is left behind),“ he told a press conference after opening the NFDP Empowerment Seminar here, today.
Launched in 2014, the NFDP aims to produce world-class players, and now has over 25,000 trainees as young as 12 years undergoing training at NFDP centres nationwide, with over 200 elite trainees based at the Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD).
Meanwhile, a total of 34 first-generation elite players under the NFDP are said to have been snapped up by major local clubs including Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), Selangor and Kedah, with some even receiving offers from Japanese clubs.
Sensational Under-18 (U-18) national striker Luqman Hakim Shamsuddin, who is one of the 34 elite athletes, became the first Malaysian to be offered a contract with Belgian Professional League club KV Kortrijk.
Among the other new initiatives undertaken by the NFDP were empowering women’s football development programme, the establishment academies at the zone-level, strengthening the field of coaching and comprehensive grassroots development. — Bernama