MALACCA: The Malacca Indian Association (MIA) which was a football powerhouse during the 60s and late 80s, is on the right track in revitalizing the game’s competitive interest within the local community ranks particularly among youths.
Following a reunion late last year, 35 footballers, including those who played for the state and national sides, veteran stalwarts G Torairaju and G Selvamohan together with MIA president Datuk Dr N Arthimulam and sports committee officials plotted immediate development programmes in an effort to get the game back on a competitive footing.
Their efforts began making an impact.
For starters, they emerged with a new look and took part in the 2012 Malacca FA league after a long lapse and made it to the Division Three final following a 3-0 semifinal win over Gadong Perdana FC.
MIA will take on the winner of Kelab Warisan and Pengkalan FC tie in the final slated for later this month with prospects of making it to Division 2 for the 2013 season rated as promising.
Following coaching and talent spotting stints in the districts earlier this year, MIA recently organised an inaugural inter-district league quadrangular during the long Merdeka Day weekend at the Kubu Stadium.
Teams participating were Alor Gjah, Jasin, Malacca Central and the MIA sponsored Megah Murni Football Club (MMFC) where the Datuk R.Perumal Challenge Trophy, cash prizes and medals were up for grabs.
As a curtain raiser to the final between MMFC and Malacca Central, a Malacca Indian Veterans side captained by Torairaju took to the field in a friendly match against a Malacca Club Seniors selection.
Both the quadrangular and the friendly are annual affairs said the MIA sports officials and would be played in conjunction with Merdeka Day celebrations in the state.
MIA president Dr Arthimulam said that hopefully the revival of the game particularly in the districts undertaken by former senior and veteran players will spell a change of fortunes with the club making a positive and reckoning football comeback on the state sports scene.
“In recent years the club made news as being a popular ‘watering hole’ with sports particularly football, apart from cricket and hockey, taking a back seat. Hopefully, our football comeback will be a long term thing, much thanks to the dedication and commitment shown by our former stalwarts”.
At a match, the Malacca Indian Veterans notched a 2-1 win over the Malacca Club Seniors Selection.
Scorers included A. Balu who struck a brace while L. Sukumaran replied for the club side with all three goals coming in the second half in an evenly contested encounter.
In the inter-district quadrangular, MMFC emerged champions maintaining an ubeaten run over four matches. In the preliminary league, they defeated Alor Gajah 3-2, Jasin 9-1 and Malacca Central 3-2 to emerge as table toppers. On the other hand, Malacca Cental in their run-up edged Jasin and Alor Gajah by 2-1 scores to be second best.
In the top two of the table final clash for the RM2,000 cash prize, Megah Murni tunred on their class to down Malacca Central 5-1. Azalan Khan Abdul Rashid (11th) and D. Kogian (22nd) gave the victors a 2-0 lead at the break with further goals through A. Kumarasan (50th), Azlan Khan (55th) and B. Subandran (72nd) completing the tally. Malacca Central’s consolation came through a 79th minute penalty netted by S. Ramalinggam. Malacca Central earned RM1,000 for finishing as runner-up.
There was still more pride for MMFC when their goal ace Azlan Khan bagged the Player of the Final award while goalkeeper Haresh Pannichelvam was accorded the Tournament Best Goalkeeper award. Malacca Central’s R Yogendran took the Player of the Tournament award.