Jun 4, 2009
Ex-Hammer Slams Ban ... WILL FAM take action against him now for speaking against policy matters ... Over to Datuk Azzuddin Ahamd
Former West Ham player and current Malaysian-based coach Peter Butler says the no-foreigners rule in Malaysia’s top league is hampering, not helping, the country’s progress.
This season, after years of under-achieving at international level, the Football Association of Malaysia implemented a no-foreigner rule for their domestic league.
Local players, the FA argued, were being frozen out by the foreigners and were not getting adequate exposure in their league.
"While I can see the reasoning behind it, I honestly believe that quality foreign coaches and players would raise the bar and set the standards that the local players should be aspiring to," Butler, who coaches Kelantan, told au.fourfourtwo.com.
One victim of this rule was former Socceroo Ante Milicic. He found himself back in Sydney after a spell with Shahzan Muda in Malaysia's second tier last season.
Malaysia has long been a destination for Australian players with former Socceroos Alan Davidson, Mehmet Durakovic, Abbas Saad, Marshall Soper, Alistair Edwards and Scott Ollerenshaw all plying their trades in the Malaysian league in the 1990s.
Ollerenshaw stayed in Sabah and now runs the Malaysian Airlines Borneo Football Cup (www.borneofootballcup.com) for amateur teams.
As a destination for up-and-coming Aussie players it's a good stepping stone. In nearby Singapore, Australian Brian Soane recently signed with Balestier and more are tipped to follow while a second tier B-League is set up -
Butler says he biggest problem over the last few years is that Malaysian clubs were signing African players on the cheap.
"Admittingly, some of these African players were good pros however some of them were simply not good enough as players who also had bad attitudes thus setting bad examples to the local players".
Many Malaysian fans are said to be cynical about the impact that the rule will have on the national team.
FAM claim that by playing every week, Malaysian players will receive the exposure required to improve as players which in turn will benefit the struggling national team, ranked in the 150-200s.
"The problem with this theory is that the standards set by the local players in the league is simply not good enough," said Butler.
"Therefore, when they play at international level, they are not able to adopt to a game played at a quicker tempo. They are forced to make decisions under pressure situations that they don't experience in their league".
Butler, who played for West Ham in the 1990s, has enjoyed a successful six years in south-east Asia and having coached in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
He adds that if Malaysian clubs were prepared to pay decent money on quality foreign players and coaches, the standard will improve and local players will naturally evolve into better players.
"Quality foreign players create interest amongst the fans and raise standards on the pitch," he said.
"Let me stress they must be quality - clubs must do proper research on these players and ensure they are not being conned by a dodgy agent looking to make an easy buck."
Jun 4 2009 - (http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/104796,exhammer-slams-import-ban.aspx)