‘Swim or die’ mentality for youth players not the right way, says Teong Kim

Mokhtar Dahari Academy

The war of words continues as Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD) director Lim Teong Kim fired back at former national coach B. Satiananthan following the latter’s claim that the youth squad defeating older boys is nothing new.

Lim stressed there should be a proper pathway for youth players to ensure they survive in the football ecosystem.

He was responding to Satiananthan’s comments that the AMD boys beating older teams was “nothing new“.

On Tuesday, Lim said 12 of his academy players were called up by national Under-19 coach Brad Maloney for centralised training, adding this showed the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) was on track to creating a large pool of talents for the national team. He also pointed out that the AMD Under-17 team was defeating Under-21 teams in the President’s Cup.

“Satiananthan speaks about Akmal Rizal (Rakhli), he compares AMD against other academies … he is living in denial and provided unsubstantiated facts and figures,” said Lim.

Lim, who spent 12 years with Bayern Munich before returning to Malaysia to be the NFDP project director in 2016, had several questions for Satiananthan.

“Satiananthan said Akmal Rizal, had at the age of 17, represented the Under-19 national team and a year later was part of the Olympic 2000 squad. He was playing against those elder than him and that many others did the same so it’s nothing new. Who were the rest?

“Satiananthan compared AMD with other football academies. Shouldn’t he be comparing us with the state teams instead, who I presume train daily?

“He criticised the tactics (Lim employed) during the Under-17 World Cup qualifiers last year. So what was wrong with the tactics and which game was he referring to?

“Satiananthan spoke about a club in Japan having 10,000 youth footballers. Which club is this and how did he come to that number (10,000)? During my 12 years with a club like Bayern Munich we had less than 20 youth footballers graduating (annually) from the academy.

“Has he ever watched our Under-21 (President’s Cup) league before? Has he seen our Under-17 team play before making sweeping statements?”

Lim was slighted that many failed to see the fact that AMD’s Under-17 team was defeating Under-21 teams in the President’s Cup – which, to him, is “unbelievable”.

“Isn’t this a (poor) reflection on the coaches and players?”

He also stressed that the way forward was to ensure the academy players were put on the right track upon graduating from AMD.

“We need to create a pathway for them to play with Under-19 teams. Let’s be realistic, not all of them are ready for the senior team while not all coaches are willing to play younger players. They want results, especially those who are pressured to get results.

“With this mentality that they need to swim or die, that’s not the right way. This is my concern. A lot has been invested in these players and somebody needs to take responsibility for them and I’m doing just that,” he added.