HARD-FOUGHT:Kilat win IFC tourney in fourth attempt
KILAT Veterans finally won the International Football Soccer (IFC) Veterans 9s when they beat Wednesday FC on penalty kicks (3-2) after both teams tied 1-1 after regulation time at the Nongprue Municipality Stadium in Pattaya, Thailand, recently.
Kilat had earlier defeated Pattaya Police in the semi-finals 2-0, while Wednesday FC defeated X-Mail Veteran FC 1-0 in the other semifinals.
The final was an evenly contested match, as the inaugural champions, Wednesday FC determined to win the tournament for the second time around, went on the offensive from the start and to take the lead.
But Kilat, equally determined to win the tournament in their fourth attempt, pulled level to force the winners to be decided on penalty kicks.
Kilat team manager Azlan David Elumalai said: "We are elated that we have finally won the championship in our four attempts."
Kilat, in 2010 when the tournament was held in Kuala Lumpur, were the Plate champions when they defeated X- Mail Veterans on penalty kicks.
The services of former national and Kuala Lumpur defender, K. Ramachandran who was the pillar and captain of the team, together with former KL player S. Mathen and S. Kanesan and former M-league players from Kelantan, Saidi Mamat, Hamdi Ibrahim and Baharudin Ghazali, certainly gave the team the beef.
Wednesday FC, themselves were no pushovers with the likes of former M-League player Mohd Nazreen Tee Abdullah on their side, who emerged the top scorer with four goals.
Wednesday FC play regularly in the social soccer league in Kuala Lumpur and are among the top teams in the League.
Host IFC who have never won their own tournament, looked good this year to have a shot, but were derailed in the quarter-finals by Pattaya Police on penalty kicks (3-2) after the game ended 0-0.
The tournament itself was a tremendous success and there is a strong possibility that there will be an increase of teams next year.
Newly-elected president, Steve Krupa said that it is not easy to organise a tournament overseas and he thanked his organising committee members for a job well done where everything went on smoothly.
In his address to the teams, Steve said:
"After two years organising the tournament overseas, there is a strong possibility that the tournament will return to Malaysian shores.
"However, we have not firmed up on the decision. We are looking at Malacca or Penang as our next destination, but we have also an offer to host the meet in Macau.
"The organising committee will meet soon to decide the venue for next year's tournament."
IFC, which has been around for 40 years as a social veteran soccer club, and this year took the tournament to Pattaya, after having for the first time taken the tournament overseas in 2011 to Hangzhou, China. The first two tournaments were held at Club Aman in Kuala Lumpur.
A total of 16 teams - nine teams from Malaysia and seven from overseas competed in the two-day tournament on April 28 and 29 in Pattaya.
The teams from Malaysia included hosts IFC, Kilat and Wednesday FC, both who have competed in all four tournaments organised so far, while others included two-time and defending champions, Uniplast FC, X-Mail Veteran FC, SSU Kelab Aman and debutants Indian Recreation Club Seremban, Kris Seremban and Sri Muda Veterans.
The foreign teams comprised Miami Kickers based at Miami International Airport, South Africa Airway, Qantas Soccer Club Melbourne, Singha All Stars (Thailand), Pattaya Police, Centara (Thailand) and Dynasty FC (Macau).
The first day saw all teams drawn into four groups play a one-round league format where the top two teams from each group advanced to the Championship knockout round (quarter-final stages), while the bottom two teams played in the Plate round on the second day.
The championship was declared open by the Deputy Mayor of Nongprue Municipality, Khun Suwach Rachatawattanagul.