Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Windfall for national players

Players and coaches of the national football team that won the AFF Suzuki Cup recently will receive shares and cash incentives worth RM65,000 each.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who hosted a reception to celebrate their victory at Seri Perdana on Wednesday said all 25 members of the national squad would receive Amanah Saham Wawasan 2020 shares worth RM50,000 each, plus RM15,000 in cash.

Apart from the shares that cannot be redeemed for at least 10 years, Najib announced RM10,000 cash incentives from the government and RM5,000 cash from the Skim Hadiah Kemenangan Sukan (Shakam) from the National Sports Council, for each of the 25 members.

Najib added that the Youth and Sports Ministry would also allocate RM500,000 to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to upgrade facilities like the gymnasium and sauna room at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya.

Malaysia ended a 14-year wait to lift the AFF Suzuki Cup by beating Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate after winning 3-0 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here during the first leg final and losing 1-2 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia during the second leg final.

Najib also said that the government and FAM would work together when sending players for training stints with prominent international football clubs abroad.

"For the development of football, the government will do everything possible to support the FAM. The government will also sponsor players for attachment with renown clubs abroad. However, FAM will have to discuss such options with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and NSC," he said.

Najib added that the "Harimau Malaya" squad's achievement must be exemplary to others, especially the younger generation.

"It is not just any victory but one that triggered an extraordinary sense of patriotism among the people. I guess no other event that could have produced such euphoria when compared with the AFF Suzuki Cup win.

"The atmosphere at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil was simply electrifying and although I was not there physically, I did watch the goals on You Tube," he said.

The Prime Minister who was among hundreds of fans who sat on the street of Bukit Bintang to watch the second leg semi-final match between Malaysia and Vietnam that was played in Vietnam, through a big screen display, said he himself had set a personal history of sorts by doing so.

"No other Prime Minister has sat on the road and watched a football match with the people...and I am proud. When (Malaysia) eventually won, we were close to shedding tears," he said.

The focus for the national team now would be to try and qualify for the 2012 London Olympics and try to become a power house in Asia, he said.


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