Don't lose our talent to Malaysia

Don't lose our talent to Malaysia
Malaysia Super League match between ATM FA and LionsXII in Selayang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Last year, his CV read "guided the LionsXII to second place in the 2012 Malaysian Super League (MSL) and the Malaysia Cup semi-finals", but some questioned V Sundramoorthy's ability as a coach at the end of the season.

Leading a team packed with Singapore internationals and playing home matches on an artificial pitch, the detractors felt the LionsXII should have done better.

After losing a host of stars, Sundram led an outfit with only five players over the age of 23 in the following campaign, and the LionsXII vintage of 2013 stormed to the MSL title.

It was an ideal counter-argument. His CV now also reads "MSL-winning coach", but the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has lost Sundram to Negeri Sembilan.

Singapore football will miss the 48-year-old. As it stands today, Malaysian states and Indonesian clubs easily outmatch the FAS in paying for top talent.

It is time the FAS come out of its slumber.

It is time the FAS come up with a battleplan to staunch the flow.

Any budding ecosystem needs to keep its key pieces in place to continue to progress.

Quality coaches are even more crucial than talented players, and Sundram is gone.

For a country with a limited talent pool, it is a big loss. Already, a clutch of the LionsXII stars are set to follow Sundram across the Causeway.

Some may say the experience will do them a world of good, arguing the pressure to perform and deliver will make them better footballers.

I believe playing for Malaysian clubs will not improve the quality of our footballers. The standing of the game among the top footballing nations of South-east Asia is similar, even if the Lions are the record four-time winners of the ASEAN championship.

Singapore football shouldn't be losing talent to Malaysia, especially when the S-League is crying out for better players. The way the FAS deals with talented local coaches and players needs to be addressed.

Admittedly, it has a limited budget. I know FAS general secretary Winston Lee is constantly striving to attract sponsorship into the local game.

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