DESPITE not winning the past three editions of the invitational international nine-a-side social tournament held in their own backyard, Malaysian Grasshoppers (MG) still fancy their chances of making an impact at the fourth Malaysian Grasshoppers International 9s to be held at Kelab Aman in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
“We are preparing well for the tournament. Everything is in order and we are raring to go. Although it is a social tournament, we are definitely playing to win,” said MG skipper Jorg Teichmann, who is a sports trainer with the National Sports Institute (NSI).
Besides the host, seven teams, including a visiting team from Germany, Loewen FC, will be in the fray.
“The German visitors are Jorg’s (Teichmann) friends from his hometown. They took part in the tournament two years ago and decided to come again for a holiday and feature in the tournament,” said former MG skipper T.S. Cheah, who is assisting the organising committee for the tournament.
“MG will also combine with Loewen to field another mixed team - MG-Loewen - for the tournament,” added Cheah.
The other five teams are Ulu Klang Recreational Club (UKRC), Penang Sports Club (PSC), Kelab Aman, Red Star FC and Port Rangers FC.
Each team will be fielding 13 players in their line-up.
The offside rule does not apply in the match that will run for 12 minutes each half.
In the previous edition, MG finished fifth in the pack of eight teams.
Meanwhile, Kelab Aman are the defending champions.
“From our past experience, it was an uphill task for us to match other teams. However, we enjoy hosting the tournament for our football buddies. Usually, we get invited to participate in social tournaments hosted by UKRC, PSC and Royal Selangor Club (RSC). Although it is difficult to organise it every year due to financial constraints, we try to do it once every two years to foster closer ties with players from other clubs through the social gathering. It is also a competitive tournament for veteran players above 40 years old who are still keen on playing good football,” said Cheah.
For the preliminary matches, the teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals of the Cup competition while the bottom two sides will be in the playoff for the Shield.
Matches will start at 9am and the tournament is expected to end at 5pm.