NEWCOMERS Junior Kids Perak Soccer Academy surprised even themselves with their good run in Group A in the ongoing Liga 1MCC after five weeks of competition.
The Trolak-based team are in fourth place in the group with 19 points and are still unbeaten after nine matches.
They registered five wins and four draws, scoring 15 goals and conceding six.
Jasmine Junior from Setapak and CIMB-YFA Bintang Muda from Cheras/Ampang lead the group with 26 points each, winning eight of their 10 matches.
Juniors Kids team manager Fakhrul Ijat said: "This is the first time that the team are playing in such a big league at national level.
"Frankly we have surprised ourselves with such a good run.
"It has boosted the confidence of the players. Based on our impressive showing so far, we are now aiming to finish in the top four. I won't be surprised if we reach the semi-finals.
"It will be a big achievement for this unknown team from Perak if we make the semi-finals in our first national level tournament.
"Our players come from small towns like Trolak, Slim River and Tanjung Malim and it is bound to create an impact on aspiring footballers."
The team train every day, except on match days, at Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Malim under chief coach Mohd Daud Idris and his two assistants, Taufik Rashid and Zulyadin Bahauddin.
"The players are very excited to be playing in Liga 1MCC. They have shown total commitment and discipline on the field.
"This is very encouraging for the young kids. I hope one or two of them would be able to make an impression at a higher level in the game."
Among the outstanding players in the team is striker Muhammad Hadi Fayadh who is also the top scorer with eight goals. Another player who has caught the eye is midfielder Mohd Firdaus Hasian.
In week four of the Liga 1MCC,. the team were held to a 2-2 draw by Qube Football Academy (Petaling Jaya) in the first match before coming out 2-0 winners over Glenmarie United.
Like most of the other teams, Junior Kids Perak are surviving on handouts while state assemblyman for Slim River, Datuk Mohd Khusairi Talib made a RM5,000 allocation to enable the team to compete in Liga 1MCC.
The team travel in five cars for their matches in Sungai Buloh and incur RM600 in expenses each time.