‘Our footballers lack confidence’

Lim Teong Kim

As Luqman Hakim Shamsudin joins the list of Malaysian footballers playing abroad, outgoing Moktar Dahari Academy (AMD) director Lim Teong Kim firmly believes gaining experience beyond the nation’s borders will help players grow.

National striker Luqman, who is a product of AMD, will enjoy a three-month stint with Cardiff City before playing for Belgium outfit KV Kortrijk next year.

“Our footballers have inferiority complex issues. It’s not that they are not good. Our boys are talented but they lack confidence. It’s obvious,” said Lim, who returned from Munich for a short break last week.

“When you are out there (abroad), you are on your own. You have no one to turn to and you fight for your survival. That builds self-confidence. When you are tough, you are tough on the field too.”

Lim donned the colours of German club Hertha BSC in 1987. He was there for one season.

Malaysians have been stamping their mark abroad since the 60s with the legendary Chow Chee Keong, once hailed as Asia’s best goalkeeper, playing for various clubs in Hong Kong. Another former international, Yip Chee Keong, also played in Hong Kong.

Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Rudie Ramli played in France and Germany respectively in the 90s while Titus James Palani is still playing in France. The others who played outside Malaysia include Stanley Bernard Samuel (Sporting Clube de Goa), Fadzli Shaari (SV Wehen), Safee Sali (FC Pelita Jaya), Ahmad Fakhri Saarani (Atletico SC), Faiz Mansor (SC Beira Mar) and Wan Zack Wan Haikal, Irfan Fazail and Mohd Fadli Shas (FC Zlate Vion Moravce).

Fight for Change 2019

Lim, who coached at Bayern Munich youth academy for a decade, said he was pleased that his footballers from AMD have shown much courage and character during his stint there.

AMD, comprising those aged 17 and below, plays in the President’s Cup featuring Under-21 players. The AMD Under-16 boys are playing in the Youth Cup against 19-year-olds.

“Ask the other coaches. Our players play against older footballers and yet they are mature. They have confidence.

“But I have my reservations of young players going up against older players in a competitive manner. I believe it is wrong as the older players are physically bigger and stronger. Also, we seem to be eager to rush our young players … they need time to grow (as a footballer). That’s how nature works.”

Lim described the young footballers training at AMD and under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) as “hardworking”.

“The Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) said Malays are lazy. The Malay boys at AMD are hardworking. I don’t know what the Prime Minister is talking about.”

Lim said many in Malaysia failed to understand the concept of youth football. He also stressed education is important for these children.

“League matches for youths should be once a week, not two or three matches (in a week). They have to go to school as education is important.

“Several AMD footballers were selected by the FA of Malaysia to go for trials in Japan. Don’t the football officials know that these players have to sit for their SPM examinations?”

Lim, however, kept mum over his next move once his stint at AMD ends on Oct 31.

“I’ll be going back to Munich in the first week of November,” he said.

Catch Lim on BFM’s Bar None, together with co-producers and co-hosts Daryl Ong and Haresh Deol, tomorrow at 9pm on 89.9FM or at www.bfm.my.