Kedah reaping the rewards for investing in kids!

PETALING JAYA: The seeds of Kedah's unprecedented treble were sown almost three years ago. And on Saturday night, it all came to fruition.

Having already bagged the Super League and FA Cup, the youthful Kedah side added the Malaysia Cup to their trophy cabinet when they defeated Perak 3-0 in the final on Saturday.

But this wasn't achieved overnight.

In fact, the Canaries' youth development programme took root when coach Azraai Khor Abdullah took over from Brazil's Mirandinha midway through the 2004 season.

“When I first took over, we were just three days away from the start of the Malaysia Cup tournament (in 2004),” Azraai said on Saturday.

Despite the short period of time, Azraai managed to guide Kedah to the Malaysia Cup final that year which they lost 0-2 to Perlis.

“It was clear that we did not have the material, especially the youth. So we decided to kick-start our development programme in the state,” said Azraai.

“We got our officials and coaches together to work out a proper development programme and to ensure that it was efficiently implemented, right from the youth set-up to the President's Cup and state sides.

“We used the same type of programme for all three levels. That way, the players were able to make a smooth transition from one level to another....

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Credit where credit is due, and Kedah Coach, Azraai Khor Abdullah and his back room staff deserves all the plaudits. Because of him, Kedah have shown a matured and committed effort to bringing up the kids, and are now reaping the rewards, having just won a historic treble. Its just proved what everyone has been saying in this country for years, that we need to start with kids, that Malaysia must have a long term plan. Not just any long term plan, but a comprehensive and cohesive plan that will be enforced.

Kedah should be the template for Malaysia's success. Kedah has shown what a team can achieve with good long term planning.

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