Beckham spends time with national women's football team [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Football icon David Beckham has spent time with the national women's football team during the Malaysian Women's Football Programme held at the Royal Selangor Club, Bukit Kiara, this morning.

Many elated local football fans did not want to miss a chance to see him up close.

Beckham, 49, was also seen to share words of encouragement with the national women's football team to boost their motivation in the future.

He gave not more than 30 girls motivational speeches, ran drill in the blazing heat and even signed autographs.

Beckham then proceeded to entertain fans on the sidelines with selfies and autographs on items ranging from boots, jersey to phone covers.

The programme, in collaboration with the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM), aimed to ensure the quality of the nation's women's football team continues to improve at the international level.

Centred around national women's football team captain Steffi Sarge Kaur, PFAM decribed the programme as 'holistic'.

PFAM chief executive officer Izham Ismail said the programme could also be seen as an advantage to elevate the spirits of the national women's football players following discrimination they faced.

"In Malaysia, women's football (team) faces various challenges from combating certain stigmas by the public, discrimination, as well as lack of access (to facilities and training).

"However, the women's football landscape has changed (if we were to compare it with yesteryears) and this is because of their (players) resilience and this is why we are celebrating them today.

"This (programme) is not only holistic to nurture the talent of young women, but it also acts as a platform for them to develop their skills," he said during the launch of the programme, today.

The Country Manager of Adidas Malaysia Sharmin Photographer said the women's football team in the country needed a more systematic approach to enhance their skill and quality.

"We feel that it is timely that Malaysian women are involved in this type of sport to enhance their game quality," she said.

Meanwhile, Steffi, 36, took the stage to share her experience and obstacles and how she had overcome those adversities to spearhead the growth of women's football in the nation.

"When I first started, my confidence was different compared to now. Being a female in a male dominated sports, you would get asked things like 'Are you sure you can play football, can you kick a ball or are you sure this is the sport you want to play?'. Things like this gets dumb and demotivating," said Steffi.

"It made me want to prove them wrong and be better on the field. Year after year what I wanted to do is to be better, improve myself and I am grateful for PFAM and adidas for defining the future for the young." she said.

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