Don’t get carried away, SEA Games football winners told

FEET ON THE GROUND: Baharom Mohd Nasriq (bottom) of Malaysia fights for the ball with Tran Dinh Dong of Vietnam during the men’s football final at the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane. Malaysia won 1-0 to clinch the gold medal last week. — AFP photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad wants the national Under-23 players who won the gold medal at the Laos SEA Games to keep their feet firmly on the ground and not get carried away.

Azzuddin said although they had ended a 20-year wait to win the gold, they should remain calm and stay focused on strengthening their positions at international competitions.

“During my discussion with national head coach K.

Rajagobal yesterday, I have asked him to ensure the players maintain their consistency.

“To do that the players will report for centralised training once every month even when the M-League is going on,” said Azzuddin when met at the National Sports Convention at Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.

Azzuddin said FAM wanted the team to continue performing well to improve their rankings in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) competition and the Asian Games in 2014 because football had been given due recognition compared with negative criticisms before the gold-medal feat.

“We are relieved with the achievement as it has received a positive response and we do not want to disappoint the fans. We want to work very hard to keep up that image,” he said.

Azzuddin also thanked Youth and Sports Ministry for approving the setting up of a fund for the development of football in the country.

“The funds to be allocated, expected to be in the region of RM60 to RM70 million will be used to develop football,” he said.

He also said that a special incentive for the team that won the gold had been decided but was waiting for approval from FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah.

“Once the president comes back from overseas, it will be presented to him before an announcement is made,” he said.

In the race for the gold medal in Laos, Malaysia beat Vietnam 1-0. — Bernama

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