By JADE CHANjade@thestar.com.myPhotos by BRIAN MOH andcourtesy of PHILIP DEVADAS
EVERY young boy who loves football dreams of being the next Beckham or Ronaldinho; to be one step closer to the dream, the right amount of training and coaching is needed to hone those skills.
One such programme is the Community Sports Programme started by Grace Community Services together with Sports Salvation two years ago.
“Sports Salvation is a private company that works with Grace to organise sports programmes for youth, and we started with football first,” said Grace Community Services chairman and Sports Salvation director Henry K. Pillai.
He explained that the idea for the programme was to keep the community healthy through sports, and to help in character building.
“Grace has been serving the community for many years, and we’ve been dealing with orphans, drug addicts, juvenile delinquents, alcoholics and homeless people. The programme is a form of preventive education for youth to be more involved in healthy activities,” said Pillai.
“In terms of character building, players will learn about discipline, punctuality, teamwork, tolerance, patience, cleanliness and the importance of a balanced diet. By learning the rules and regulations of football, they’ll be able to apply them in real life. Football makes you a gentleman or a hooligan!”
The programme is free of charge and open to children aged seven to 15.
Players are required to come with their own sports attire and football.
There are currently more than 200 players in the Community Sports Programme that are located in six communities – Taman Chi Liung in Klang, Taman Alam Megah and Taman Sri Muda in Shah Alam, Bandar Sri Ehsan in Banting, Bandar Country Homes in Rawang, and most recently Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya.
“The programme in Taman Megah started on July 4 with 20 children, the majority of whom are aged under 12,” said programme coordinator James Foo.
“Each community has at least one coach, who is assisted by several volunteers –usually parents who are very passionate about their children’s involvement in sports,” Foo said.
Pillai said that players who performed well would be introduced to the Brazil Football Centre, which plays in the KL League.
“Sports Salvation runs the Brazil Football Centre at the 3K Stadium in Subang Jaya, where we have resident Brazilian football coaches conducting the training sessions, “ he said.
“We also want communities to be involved. We can help with its training element, but the community has to own the programme and help in other ways.”
“When Grace approached us, we welcomed the idea of using the field and its facilities here, which is open to the public anyway,” Taman Megah Residents Association chairman Ong Thiam Hiong said.
“It’s very much in sync with what the community wants to do. We want to have children participating in healthy, outdoor activities and start them when they’re young, at the age when most would be indoors playing computer games.”
The Taman Megah programme is conducted every Wednesday, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, at its football field.
The Grace Community Services is also seeking sponsors for the Community Sports Programme.
For details or to participate in the Taman Megah programme, call 012-393 0741 (Foo), 019-230 9491 (Philip Devadas) or 012-350 0209 (Mohanaraj).