Alex Ferguson shared a valuable lesson on unity with me, says Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has shared an experience he had with the former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, saying sports bodies, associations and individuals can replicate such words of wisdom for the development of sports in the country.

Speaking at the 2021 National Sports Awards ceremony here on Tuesday (Jan 31), Anwar related his discussion with Alex Ferguson during a meeting that was made possible by former United States vice president Al Gore in New York some time ago.

He said what remained etched in his mind was the love and respect that the manager had instilled among the players to build a strong successful team.

“It was not easy to unite, blend and mould players from many countries with different back grounds, culture, religion and lifestyle before arriving at Manchester United.

“Alex Ferguson said as a leader, we must express our love and respect to those who are in the team and from there, we can mould a team that will be tightly knit although they come from different backgrounds and places,” he said.

The awards ceremony was also attended by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, her deputy Adam Adli Abd Halim, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria and officials from sports bodies and associations.

Anwar added that Ferguson’s concern in safeguarding the values and welfare of the players should be exemplary and should be replicated by managers and administrators of sports in Malaysia so as to build strong values among athletes.

“Once you win their hearts, you eventually win the game,” he said, quoting Ferguson and added that it would be suitable for those involved in the development of athletes and sports in the country.

He also stressed that the welfare of athletes must be given utmost priority and importance by all sports associations or sports bodies.

Anwar said success in sports cannot be achieved if the welfare of athletes is ignored.

“That is why I agree with the Sports Minister’s stern reminder to all those involved in sports to not misuse the trust vested on them to safeguard sports associations, especially when it involves the welfare of children who are involved in sports,” he said. – Bernama