Malaysia does not need an incarnation of world-famous footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in order to emerge as one of the giants in football, said Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
Infantino, who is in Kuala Lumpur for the first time as Fifa chief, said the important elements in standing tall with other strong countries in football were discipline and a complete action plan.
“There’s no magic formula, there’s no secret...to say football is changing and Malaysia will be a world champion. The only way is to work seriously.
“Obviously in a football country like Malaysia, with so much passion, success will come. You don’t have to wait for Ronaldo or Messi to be born in Malaysia to wait for the success...this can be achieved with hard work, with discipline and with complete action.”
He said this to reporters here today after launching the Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) new roadmap codenamed F:30, which has the ultimate aim of being Asia’s top five football giants by 2030.
F:30 is a 12-year roadmap divided into three strategic plans with its first phase from 2019 to 2022 to build a solid foundation in governance, competition and human capital development as well as infrastructure.
It is followed by the second phase (2023-2026) where the target is to be accomplished at the Asian level while the third phase (2027-2030) is to produce a national team of the world-class level.
Meanwhile, Asia Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who was also present at the event, described the F:30 as a basic framework capable of building an ecosystem that would promote the growth of Malaysian football.
“On behalf of AFC, we hope Malaysia reaps the rewards of this wonderful initiative,” he said.