Budding players turn on the winning style

Meet and greet: Datuk Peter Vellapan (in white) greeting the young players before the Under-12 final.

THE much-anticipated exhibition match between a RSC selection (Under-12 players) against former Malaysian internationals did not take place before the opening of the 10th Royal Selangor Club (RSC) Milo International Under-12 and 12th RSC Tiger international seven-a-side tournaments at the club’s ground in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur recently.

However, former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary Datuk Peter Vellapan complemented the carnival-like atmosphere when he turned up to offer words of wisdom in spreading the message of sharing the passion for football to the budding players.

Peter assured the children competing in the junior contest that they will soak up the fun-filled experience and pick up important values on and off the field as they pursue their interest in football.

The former long-serving administrator also went on to mention that football was an effective informal education institution.

“Football is a school of life. The hosts have displayed their commitment by creating an avenue for the children to be part of a joyful occasion.

“They are investing in developing the children’s football skills as well as building their character. The children are definitely going to have a good time,” Peter said.

Host RSC were denied a double in the competition. RSC’s Team Four failed to win the Under-12 title when they went down 2-6 to Singapore’s Junior Soccer School and League (JSSL) Arsenal in the final.

RSC had qualified for the final after beating defending champions and tournament favourites CIMB-YFA 1-0, while JSSL Arsenal defeated 2008 champions Bintang Baru from Penang.

The match, between RSC Team Four and JSSL Arsenal, was an exciting one with supporters from both sides cheering the young players.

The RSC Team Four showed early promise but fizzled out after 10 minutes as JSSL Arsenal showed tremendous individual skills, good teamwork and slick moves.

All hopes of a double were erased when JSSL Arsenal went on to score four goals to lead at half-time.

In the second session, RSC pulled back with two quick goals but it was not enough as JSSL Arsenal were simply too good and stepped up the pace by scoring another two goals for the 6-2 win.

JSSL Arsenal’s Benjamin Davis was the hero in the final. He scored a hat-trick while Luke Benjamin, Tobi Sakate and Saul Katz contributed a goal each. RSC’s two goals were scored by Ram Soorya.

JSSL Arsenal coach Harvey Davis said the team had been together for the past four years.

“The players are only 11 years old. They have been competing in the Singapore Youth league and were champions of the Under-10 in 2010 and last year were Under-12 champions.

“This year, we will be competing in the Under-12 and Under-14 leagues. The team recently returned from the Gothia Cup in Sweden; we finished top eight out of the 200 teams,” said Davis.

However, RSC were victorious in the Masters. They came back from two goals to win 4-2 against Hang Over — thanks to a brace by Australian Abbas Saad.

Abbas, who had played for Johor and Singapore in the M-League scored two goals while the other goals came from Sri Rajinikanth and former Selangor international A. Jayakanthan.

Rajinikanth won the top scorer’s award for the Masters category having scored four goals.

In the Grand Masters, Singapore’s Polyknights defeated Kinta Indian Association (KIA) 3-1 to wrest the title.

Rajinikanth was awarded the top scorer’s award of the tournament for the Masters category with his total of four goals.

Besides Jayakanthan and Abbas, other internationals who turned out for RSC were Kuala Lumpur’s defender P. Saravanan.

A special award for the Most Senior Player was given to former double international (soccer and hockey) V. Kalimuthu. The 66-year-old played for RSC in the Grand Masters.

Besides the participation of international schools in the junior tournament, organising chairman Jimi Low said they were delighted that foreign visitors and expatriates from Australia, Holland, South Korea, India and Singapore were also in action.

“They (foreign entries) had definitely added to the excitement. They might be competitive on the field but they were in a more relaxed mood in between matches and the social gatherings after the matches.

“It was also an opportunity for the local teams to foster closer ties with teams comprising players from different nationalities,” said Jimi.

Milo Under-12:

Champions: JSSL Arsenal

Runners-up: RSC Team Four

Masters Cup:

Champions: Royal Selangor Club

Runners-up: Hang Over

Plate Final:

Champions: Penang Sports Club

Runners-up: Kilat Club

Top Scorer: Sri Rajinkanth (RSC) four goals

Grand Masters Cup:

Champions: Polyknights Singapore

Runners-up: Kilat Indian Association

Plate Champion: OPA

Runners-up: Sungai Ujong Club

Top Scorers: Jeeva Nanthan (Port Rangers FC) – four goals

Most senior player: V. Kalimuthu (66 years-old) – RSC

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