A student takes a shot on goal during a friendly 5-on-5 futsal match between the Little League coaches and the students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Bintang Utara students.
IN KEEPING with the FIFA World Cup fever, more than 700 teenagers across the country will get to hone their skills in football clinics, thanks to Zurich Insurance Malaysia Bhd.
Zurich Insurance Malaysia, in collaboration with Little League Soccer Sdn Bhd, launched the Zurich Love For Football corporate social responsibility project at the Kuala Lumpur Football Association (KLFA) Academy Football Centre in Desa Melawati, recently.
“Malaysians are football crazy. But more than that, the sport serves as a tie that binds people together,” said Zurich Insurance Malaysia chief marketing officer Christine Cheu.
With the aim of promoting health and wellness among the youth through football, Zurich Insurance Malaysia and coaches from Little League Soccer began their programme last month, holding football clinics at four of the 10 selected schools so far.
Cheu said the programme, which runs until early October, is also in line with the National Football Development Plan launched by the Youth and Sports Ministry to nurture young football talents from the grassroots level.
Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar was present to launch the campaign and show his support for the programme.
“We have been sending our Little League coaches to each of the football clinics, where we coach between 60 and 70 students, and the programme has been going great so far,” said Little League Soccer general manager Andy Johnston.
Also present to show their support were former Australian international footballer Abbas Saad and retired Malaysian national footballer Datuk Santokh Singh.
At the launch, Abbas joined forces with Johnston and other Little League coaches for a friendly 5-on-5 futsal match against lower secondary students of SMK Seri Bintang Utara, refereed by Santokh.
Though Abbas showed his skills by scoring the opening goal with a well-placed volley, the talented students played well enough to score one goal against the four put through by their older opponents.
Each of the 10 selected schools in the programme will receive a contribution of RM5,000 from Zurich Insurance Malaysia, which will go towards the purchase of football equipment and to upgrade football club facilities.
As motivation and incentive for the participating students, the most outstanding player selected at each clinic will also receive RM500 worth of football merchandise.