Maldives National Youth Teams have been humiliated in the last 30 days with 26 goals conceded in just 5 matches. The Under 15, Under 16 and Under 18 teams participated in sub-regional and regional tournaments and have failed to score a single goal. We have got beaten for the first time by regional minnows, Bhutan. It raises the question of whether we are following the footsteps of the failure of former regional giants – Sri Lanka.
There is no reason to blame the players and the officials. When a team is assembled for a tournament a month or two before and just gets to practice in a half pitch, 5 days a week for 2 hours, we can’t expect them to show miracles!
We can’t really blame the Government of Maldives either! Despite number of futsal pitches that are being developed throughout the country Maldives government always back Football Association and their masters.
So, who has failed?
Football Association of Maldives and their Exco is one obvious organisation that has to take responsibility of this shambolic outcomes. They have been fighting over power for the last 5 – 6 years and the saga still continues. So, everything that’s done, it’s to fulfill the pledges that they have made for the clubs who voted for them! Some of them only use the platform as a transit to achieve other individual successes. When Football Association of Maldives circulated this year’s calendar on 8th January 2017, there were no tournaments for youth except the Interschool tournaments. So, the million rufiyya spent to clubs to form their youth teams and academy are just for the sake of marketing and putting a name tag!
But the real failures is us. The spectators and the people who love Maldivian football. We have been watching our teams getting beaten time and time again and has kept our mouth shut! We have been silent when FAM has been embroiled in an election fiasco without any proper directions for the last 5 – 6 years. We have been silent when the senior team play a pre-match friendly against third or fourth division teams, while the rest of the SAARC countries play other nations. We have been silent when our youth teams are just assembled for the purpose of participating in the tournaments. We have been silent when FAM host women’s tournaments for the sake of accessing the funds from AFC. It’s us, who have been silent when the whole focus has shifted in hosting veteran’s tournaments and getting them international matches.
The last five to six years, everyone has been talking about huge masterplans, to win SAFF championship and other regional tournaments. But, at this pace, I pray that we don’t fall to the bottom of the group just like our neighbours.
Maldives National Youth Teams results in last 30 days
18 Sep U18 Maldives 0-1 Bhutan
20 Sep U18 Maldives 0-2 Bangladesh
20 Sep U16 Maldives 0-8 Oman
19 Aug U15 Maldives 0-9 India
20 Aug U15 Maldives 0-6 Nepal