Mention Datuk Soh Chin Aun and most Malaysians would remember this football legend’s contribution towards inspiring young footballers.
Chin Aun played side by side with the late Datuk Mohktar Dahari, late Datuk P. Arumugam and Datuk Santokh Singh in the 1970s, when Malaysian football was at its best in Asia.
Fondly known as “The Towkay” (The Boss), Chin Aun is the only Malaysian to have qualified for two Olympics — Munich (1972) and Moscow (1980).
To commemorate this feat and achievements, the SportsUnite Samba Bola Under-12 seven-a-side Unity Football Carnival, named the Datuk Soh Chin Aun Cup, was held at Rotunda Club Football field in Malacca recently.
The organisers for the fifth edition of this event were SportsUnite Sports Club, in collaboration with Rotunda Malacca Club and former Malacca State Players Football Association. The sponsors were Milo, Revive, Figos, National Sports Council and Airgoal.
Chin Aun, who is the president of the Former Malacca State Players Football Association, was happy with the overwhelming support and response with 32 team taking part.
“It promotes unity and equally important gives children an opportunity to play in a competitive environment. The more competitions the better for children to gain good experience and learn new skills in the game.
“Too much training can take the fun out of the game in our children. I was impressed to see the quality of the game improve over the years with our children showing good basic skills. This is a good sign for the future of the game,” he said.
This initiative by SportsUnite is yet another humble objective to pay tribute to Chin Aun as a football legend who has contributed immensely to the development of the game in the 70s and 80s.
The carnival was also an opportunity for the participating children of different races from 32 teams from all over the country to enjoy playing at the event.
It was a chance for the youngsters to develop new skills, make new friends and be inspired by the achievements of Chin Aun, who was present to interact with the children and parents.
Chin Aun also witnessed some exciting matches and later presented the prizes to the top eight teams.
Due to the overwhelming response this year, the organiser is considering the possibility of increasing the number to 48 teams next year.
Like in past years, besides Malacca football academies, 32 teams from as far as Penang, Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Johor took part.
The top eight teams won trophies, winners medals and products from the sponsors.
Stylo Mylo Football Academy from Johor outclassed Tes 1 SK Tengkera Melaka 5-0 in the final and walked away with a trophy and an Airgoal goalpost.
Kiddos Soccer of Melaka edged Kuala Lumpur Youth Soccer Club 1-0 to finish third.
Yayasan Kebajikan Atlet Kebangsaan (Yakeb) came on board again this year to set up a mini gallery of Chin Aun’s achievements during the event. Both the children and parents present found the mini gallery inspiring.
Yosafat Ujan Anak Melat from Academy Stylo Mylo was named the Best Player while his teammate Mohd Aljam Johan was the top scorer in the tournament.
Mohd Firdaus Johari from TES 1 Tengkera Melaka was named the Best Goalkeeper while the Fairplay Award was presented to Kuala Lumpur Youth Soccer Club.