| KOTA KINABALU (5 June 2010) – Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Festival of Football can promote the sport and raise the bar for the game in the state.
He said the Festival would not only have great significance for future stars of Asia but also add invaluable experience to officials and football followers in Sabah.
“The mission of the AFC to increase the football playing base and ensure positive and enjoyable life experience for children can raise the standard of performance and development of football not only in Asia but in Malaysia including Sabah.
“Through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the State government has always been very supportive of those who take the initiative to develop, promote and strengthen sports development in Sabah,” said Musa.
He made these remarks in a speech that was delivered by Assistant Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Jahid Jahim at the AFC Under-14 Festival of Football recently.
Also present were Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Deputy President, Datuk Redzuan Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad, FAM Secretary General, Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, Sabah FA Deputy President, Datuk Lawrence Gimbang and AFC Deputy Secretary General, Hassan Al Sabah, among others.
On the significance of the sport, Musa said that football is education in motion.
“The game teaches diligence, discipline and teamwork while promoting the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship. While we all strive to win, football also teaches that losing is part and parcel of the game,” he said.
Musa said that the State government recognises the importance of sports as a whole and will always support organisations that are oriented towards its development.
“Sports is important in the overall development of our people. The government always remains committed in providing every Sabahan with the best opportunities possible to participate in sports because it believes that a healthy lifestyle provides for healthy minds that can contribute to our development and steer us forward,” he said.
Towards this end, Musa urged the Youth and Sports Ministry to continue to be supportive of initiatives that develop, promote and strengthen sports development in Sabah.
He also thanked AFC and FAM for choosing Sabah again as the host for the AFC U-14 Festival of Football 2010.
“It is my hope that this festival will boost the level of football and generate greater interest in the game in Asia,” he said.
A total of 11 countries took part in the AFC U-14 Festival of Football (ASEAN Region), including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore Myanmar, Vietnam, East Timor, Cambodia, Laos, Australia and the Philippines.