My boys Muazi and Suresh are right on track and what I started a few years ago seems to be bearing fruit. they have again been selected to participate in the AFC Project Future Referees Development Program. It will be held in KualaLumpur this time around and they have been regulars since 2007. Suresh is the youngest participant and makes me proud that they are the only two referees selected from Malaysia for this batch. Both are former students of SMKTelokPanglimaGarangMuazi being a year senior to Suresh is already a National referee and God willing Suresh will follow suit later this year. They started off as footballers in my school team and I pointed them towards refereeing and they never looked back.
They are my proteges and I hope they will go a long way and achieve more than I did as an active referee. They have age and fitness on their side and a burning desire to succeed. Armed with the 3 'D's that I have drilled into them, "Discipline", "Determination" and "Dedication", I pray that the good lord will help pave the way for them . These three words were once spoken to me by one of my mentors , Mr KohGuanKiat, the Selangor FA Referee Board Chairman.
Suresh has just found work as an accounts assistant while Muazi has only recently been accepted into FAMA as a marketing assistant and I just received news moments ago that he has been posted to Port Klang. Thank God Almighty as if he was posted somewhere far away, it would be difficult to monitor his progress. I was a bit worried about their careers as this could be a hindrance or a stumbling block to their progress. Now that this is out of the way, I guess it's full steam ahead.
Another one of my students from Suresh's batch, Firdaus joined the army and is now serving in JohorBaru. I enlisted the help of ZulJantan and Mr Sinnaya , friends and experienced referees, to help develop him. Mr VKS Sinnaya is one of the refereeing legends in Malaysia and I watched and learned from him from the stands as a young referee in Selangor. He is presently the Referee Development Officer attached to Johor FA. Another refereeing great is also in Johor, Mr Steven Ovinis, former FIFA referee and FAM Referee Board member. I guess Firdaus will never be short of advice if he needs them. He is in safe hands.
I also worry about their involvement with the fairer sex as undoubtedly this will surely influence their life as referees. Not only the referee has to sacrifice but everybody around him, friends, family, extended families, colleagues and the like. Your life partner or intended one too has to truly understand and share your dream of reaching the pinnacle. We can't have unwanted emotional baggage to drag around.
I hope I can groom more to follow their footsteps. My small share of helping to develop Malaysian football. I started with Muazi, my first "baby", and a few more after him of which Suresh stood out. They are proof that everybody has a chance and with the right coaching and guidance, the sky is the limit.
Muazi and Suresh, everybody in SMKTelokPanglimaGarang is proud of you. Always remember, wherever you go, you carry the flag of our nation and the name of your teacher. The ball is now in your court, the world is at your feet.