With the newly created under 13 youth league is ready to kick-off as part of the towards future project by the Football Association of Maldives to improve the local talent and to achieve better international and club success for the Maldives.
Youth development is the basics of a successful footballing national and developing players from an early age is vital to achieve continental and global success. For the Maldives apart from the 2008 SAFF Championship there has been little to cheer about and the Red Snappers have never qualified for the Asian cup or the World cup.
For a country with a population less than half a million means that there is little to choose from and with Islands spanning roughly 298 square kilometers with difficult transportation to some parts of the country it becomes difficult to develop football especially with the fact that many islands do not have proper pitches for football. But small nations like Iceland who have almost the same population as Maldives gives us hope that even the smallest can achieve unthinkable.
The youth league alone would not help to achieve the dreams of a great footballing generation. The realization that lack of facilities and the want to improve the infrastructure along with a nationwide youth development program will surely help.
Many youth development programs have been launched and did not achieve much success. The most important point for the football association to know is that a project only based in Male’ will not change things. For a better result in a youth development the project must be carried out throughout the country with all age groups included.
Apart from the much needed expansion continuity of the project along with top coaches is vital. Iceland’s boom to the global stage was much to be thanked for the development of indoor football arenas and the training of top level coaches. Something the Maldives lack. Iceland have more than 600 elite coaches. That’s one coach for every 500 people in the country.
The most important aspect of a youth development program is to continue the project for couple of decades before the results finally pay for us on the field. As the saying goes all good things take time.