Mohd Futra Abd Ghani (left) during his playing days, established the Sepaktakraw Academy in Klang to help the sport grow at the grassroots level. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Former international Mohd Futra Abd Ghani may have left the national side in 2010 but his passion for the sport is so great that he has started his own sepaktakraw academy.
Called the Sepaktakraw Academy (for those under-15), it is located at Dewan Sukan Sri Andalas, Klang.
Futra decided to found the academy after the success of the Futra Ghani Roving Sepaktakraw Clinics, targeted at schoolchildren aged seven to 18, which started in February 2012.
Last year, the four-hour long clinics were held at the Indah Island School and Kampung Idaman, Port Klang, and Taman Sri Andalas, Klang, with the last one attracting 50 participants from 10 schools.
“From what I can see as a school teacher, there is not a lot of emphasis on grassroots development especially for sepaktakraw. Sports like football and futsal have been drawing a lot of interest away from sepaktakraw. Kids prefer playing those sports rather than sepaktakraw and, slowly but surely, it will cease to matter anymore,” said Futra.
According to him, every boy and girl who walks through their doors only wants to know how to do the “lipat” move.
“But there is so much more to sepaktakraw than that. There is knowledge behind it, learning the right techniques and that’s why we set up the academy. I don’t want to wait until I’m 60 to start making changes. I want to do it while I’m young and able to teach firsthand from my experience.
“Right now, we are just concentrating on the Klang Valley. Hopefully, we will be able to expand the clinics to more schools but we would need a lot of co-operation and support from sponsors. It would be great if other ex-nationals could also get involved. We’d be able to help sustain talent development for the sport,” he said.
Futra, who was part of the national side that won the last gold medal at the 2005 SEA Games in Manila, also voiced the need for more competitions at the youth level.
“During my time, I played at school level, then district, state and youth level before making the jump to the national team. But it’s very scarce now and that is what’s hurting us,” he said.
Besides Futra, also lending their expertise to the academy are former team-mate Mohd Normanizam Ahmad and ex-nationals Ariff Ramli and Ali Alhamidi Mohd Ayob.
The entrance fee for the clinics and academy is RM20, inclusive of meals, beverages, T-shirts and certificates.