A football team formed by three friends some 50 years ago has made history for being the oldest club in the Klang district.
Although there were other teams that existed back then, the friends, M.Marimuthu, A.Mugaya and P.Kalimuthu, formed the club called Jalan Sekolah Rangers which was subsequently renamed Port Rangers Football Club said club president Mugaya.
Mugaya, who is also a founder member and has played for the team since it was formed, said it was sad that the other pioneer clubs like Darul Ehsan FC, Malay Youths FC and Muhibbah FC are no longer around in the district.
He said clubs that were formed after Port Rangers FC in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s that were once popular have also ceased to exist.
Mugaya is proud that Port Rangers FC is still around and still active in competitions in Port Klang.
Mugaya, who was a 15-year-old boy when the club was formed on Aug 3, 1967, said Port Rangers FC have created history for being around for half a century and are still going strong with their youth, senior and veteran teams.
The club, he said, was named after Jalan Sekolah and the players then consisted of boys from the community in the area.
“There were some seven other teams in Port Klang at that time and we were the new kids on the block who were trying to make a name in the local football scene.
“We played our debut game in an Under-19 friendly against Dock Road Artisan Youngsters and drew 1-1 in the match which was played on Aug 23, 1967, at the Dock Road field,” said the 65-year-old Mugaya.
He added that they trained at the Tamil School field at Jalan Watson before moving to Mariner's Club and Ventoran football fields later and these venues have been the team’s home ground until now.
In 1969, Mugaya said, the founders of the club decided to change the team’s name from Jalan Sekolah Rangers to Port Rangers so that the team had a broader identity that reflected Port Klang and the people who lived there.
Since then the club has come a long way.
“We were the champions of Klang district in the 1970/71 season and runners-up the next season after joining the league in 1969. We became champions of Klang again in 1983 after making a return to the district level following a 10-year lapse due to financial constraints,” he said.
The club was registered with the Selangor FA in 1985 and played in the second division of the state league that year and also won the Tan Sri Manikavasagam Cup at the Merdeka Stadium in 1987.
After coming a long way, Port Rangers FC emerged champions of the Selangor Premier League in 2006/07 season and were in the Super League for five years, coming a commendable fourth after losing in the semi-finals in 2011.
Things were however not all rosy for the club as they asked to be demoted to the second division in 2013 due to lack of funds.
After winning the second division title and emerging champions of the first division of the Selangor league in 2014, the club returned among the elite and have been playing in the Premier League ever since.
“Our boys have been impressive as we finished fourth last year and are among the top four in the current standings,” he said, adding that the team had great potential to challenge the bigger boys but lacked financial backing.
On the local front and at the Klang district level, the club has won numerous tournaments.
“I am proud to be president of the club for 35 years as we have a group of seniors who are constantly guiding and moulding the younger boys to become good players and develop the team.
“This club is not made up of one team, we also have a Tiger squad with the super senior and veterans for those aged 49 years and above.
“All our teams are playing competitive football within their respective age brackets and it is heartening to see them winning tournaments every now and then,” Mugaya said, adding that their veteran squad are involved in annual tournaments internationally in Thailand and Australia.
To mark the club’s achievement over the past five decades, a fund raising dinner was held recently where former players and others associated with the club were honoured for their contributions.
Former and present national players were also present at the dinner which was attended by Dewan Negara president Datuk S.A. Vigneswaran.
“We have raised RM35,000 for the development of our senior team from the dinner and are also intending to contribute some money to needy schoolchildren.” said Mugaya.