ON an island famous for its beaches, football was the one making waves in Langkawi recently.
The first Langkawi International Veterans 9s and Langkawi International Under-12 9s football tournaments were held recently at the Langkawi Sports Complex Stadium.
While sixteen Under-12 teams displayed their talent which was of remarkable high standards and entertaining, the veterans, who were former state or national players, showed that they still had the quality which made them well-known footballers.
It was indeed three days of excitement as the teams battled for honours.
And the presence of many teams, who are part of the National Development Football Programme (NDFP), added quality to the tournament, and together with private academies like CIMB-YFA FC, the meet was really competitive and of high standard.
The Under-12 final saw a northern final between Perlis Football Academy A the Lions and Kenari Kid Hicom Honda. The match had to be decided on sudden death after the teams drew 5-5 at the end of the mandatory penalty kicks.
The regulation time of 20 minutes ended in a 1-1 draw and the sudden death kicks ended 9-8 in favour of Perlis.
In the veterans competition where six teams competed, it was Singapore up against Harimau Mega FC Kedah, who had an array of stars, in the final.
While Singapore had players like R. Suriamurthi, Malek Awab, Razali Saad and Salim Kassim to name a few, Kedah paraded the likes of Syed Alwi Syed Abdullah, Kamal Idris Ali, Khattul Annaur Hamid and Faridzul Kassim.
In a match played under the rain for most of the game, the competition on the field was intense and the veterans battled it out like in their heyday.
Kedah’s solitary goal, scored by Syed Alwi in the first half, was enough to earn them the title despite Singapore’s all-out effort to find the equaliser as they came close on numerous occasions.
Sarawak finished third when they overcame HMC Johor 5-3 in penalty shootout.
Langkawi District Football Association president Datuk Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid, who is also the organising chairman and Kedah State Exco chairman for Tourism and Religion, was overwhelmed with the success of both competitions, and he vowed to have it bigger next year.
“It has been a tremendous success and we hope to make this annual event maybe over more days, so that more teams can participate,” said Mohd Rawi.
Datuk Peter Velappan, who was the tournament’s adviser, said that the organisers’ move to include an Under-12 tournament with the veteran’s tournament should be lauded.
“It is a great move because the youngsters get to meet icons of yesteryear... many of whom they may not even have heard of. And to watch these icons will definitely be inspirational to these young lads.
“Maybe a clinic by the veteran internationals a day before the tournament will be something the organisers want to think about.”
“For the veterans, it was a surely nostalgic tournament being able to meet many of their old friends and renew comradeship. This annual gathering should be kept up.”
Velappan also suggested that the tournament be hosted in different states yearly.
Roll of Honour — Under-12; Best Goalkeeper: Muhammad Nabli Adzib (Perlis A)
Best Defender: Muhamad Isyraf Danial Ruhaizan (Gunung FC Kedah)
Best Midfielder: Muhammad Addha Nazman (Gunung FC Kedah)
Top Scorer: Aiman Farhan Fauzi (Kedah Kenari Kid Alor Setar) — 3 goals
Man of the Match final: Mohd Nadzmi Hayazi (Perlis A).
Veterans — Best Goalkeeper: Shahri Rahim (Singapore)
Best Defender: Shukrin Saad (HMFC Kedah)
Best Midfielder: R. Suriamurthi (Singapore)
Top Scorer: Syed Alwi Syer Abdullah (HMFC Kedah) — Eight goals
Man of the Match final: Kamal Idris Ali (HMFC Kedah)
Fairplay trophy: Sarawak