Jubilant: The Dani KSL FC squad celebrating their run to the finals
Kia Malaysia’s Champs to Rio futsal tournament champions Dani KSL FC took the world by storm at the Champs Into The Arena 2014 World Championship organised by Kia Motor Corporations.
The underdogs brought down futsal bigwigs from around the world before losing to the Jordanian team in the finals in Salvador, Brazil, recently.
Dani KSL FC was one of only two teams from South-East Asia, the other being from the Philippines, that were pitched against futsal giants from Chile, Argentina, Italy and Germany at the international futsal tournament held alongside the FIFA World Cup 2014.
The 19 nations that took part in the tournament were Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
The Malaysian team, managed by Aizul Rohan Anuar, showed amazing fighting spirit and skill, making an indelible mark in the international futsal arena as they rose through the tournament, beating the Philippines at the Group stage 7-2, drawing with Argentina 2-2, and whipping Germany 7-3.
In the semi-finals, Dani KSL FC crushed France’s dreams with a narrow 1-0 win, only to be defeated by Jordan in the finals 7-3.
Through it all, the team made up of Mudhairi Musa, Muhammad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Hazizi Mansor, Mohammad Naim Mohammad Zainal, Rizwan Ahmad Wahid and captain Zahrin Ismail were ecstatic at overcoming favourites Argentina and Germany at the group stage.
The winning teams were awarded with a trophy and skybox tickets to the World Cup quarter-final match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica.
Naza Kia Malaysia chief operating officer Datuk Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar said the company saw the global partnership with FIFA World Cup as a great opportunity to deliver the excitement of the brand to football-mad
“Our Malaysian team has certainly done us proud in going all the way to the finals in one of the world’s most challenging futsal competitions. Their performance was outstanding and beyond expectations. Like Kia, they have shown us the “Power to Surprise”! said Hafiz.
In addition to the all-expenses-paid trip to Brazil, the team received RM20,000, a champion’s cup, medals, exclusive jerseys and tickets to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.