THE Labu Jaya Rovers (LJR) have indeed come a long way since starting off as a small group playing football on the road in front of their houses.
Today the club has not only grown in numbers; it has a new identity. The Columbia Asia (CA) Medical Centre in Seremban has adopted the team and they are now known as the Columbia Rovers.
Since LJR was formed, the boys had been attending training every Sunday evening in the colours of their favourite football clubs.
With the sponsorship by CA, the boys now have their own set of training jerseys, bibs and shorts and football stockings to match.
The sponsorship ceremony and launch of the Columbia Rovers Football Club (CRFC) was held at the SRK St Paul’s Institution grounds on Sept 24.
Columbia Asia Group regional chief executive officer Kelvin Tan, who handed over the sponsorship items at a simple ceremony witnessed by parents, said the adoption of the team was part of Columbia Asia’s Community Development programme.
“This is just the beginning of a long commitment between the two parties. The CRFC is now part of CA and we are glad to be associated with the club,” he said to applause.
As part of the sponsorship deal, CA donated 20 training balls, two match balls, training cones and two sets of jerseys for both the Under-11 and Under-15 teams.
Tan was introduced to the players and later joined the parents to watch an exhibition match among the Under-11s.
The former LJR had started as a loose outfit under coaches Adrian Van Huizen and Augustine Francis. Currently there are 48 trainees and they can take pride in being a team that have battled several obstacles to be recognised and come under the wings of a reputable hospital group.
Columbia Asia Medical Centre (CAMC) chief executive officer Lee Hui Chuen said the hospital had also extended a discount medical card for the Under-11 boys.
“This privilege card is usually given to babies delivered in CAMC Seremban. Under the adoption programme, the Columbia Rovers juniors are also our babies,’’ said Lee.
She said the Columbiakid member card entitled the child to a 10 percent discount for outpatient treatment and hospital admission.
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