A STRONG and organised ASIOP Apacinti from Indonesia caused an upset in their first RSC-Tiger International Soccer under-12 seven-a-side appearance when they won the tournament.
Held at Royal Selangor Club (RSC) in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, the Indonesian side set up a meeting with defending champions JSSL Arsenal Wilshire from Singapore in the final after securing a 2-0 win against home team RSC-1.
Both sides started cautiously, sizing each other up, before ASIOP’s Raihan Abdul Hakim managed to slip past JSSL’s defence in the ninth minute and calmly hammer home for the opening goal.
The Indonesians gained confidence thereafter and had better control of the game.
Khairul Iman Zakiri curled in another goal, from a free-kick outside the box, just before the half-time whistle.
ASIOP continued their dominance in the second half with the duo of Muhammad Naufal and Indra Samyoga strong in defence as they denied the Singaporeans of even a consolation goal.
Muhammad Junior Haqi added to ASIOP’s lead with a powerful shot into the top-left corner of the goal three minutes into the second half and the game went on to end with that 3-0 scoreline.
ASIOP head coach Yeyen Tumena said they are from a football academy based in Jakarta and his players were accustomed to playing in tournaments.
“We won the JSSL Singapore 7s Under-12 tournament this year and also the Norway Cup Under-12 in Oslo earlier this month,” he said.
ASIOP topped their group with wins over JSSL Arsenal Walcott (1-0) and Korean School FC (5-0) and a draw with Assumption FC Penang (1-1) to reach the tournament’s final.
The Singaporean club’s second team, JSSL Arsenal Walcott, had better luck in the plate final, beating Australian team Swansea 4-0.
The Australian team from Swansea, Western Australia, who are also known as Swan United FC, was represented by a local team this year.
Swan’s team manager Darryl Tyack said they have been participating in the RSC-Tiger tournament since 2004 and added: “We are delighted to have been invited for this year’s tournament but because of some internal matters, we could not bring the players here.
“Instead of giving up the opportunity to be involved, we decided that we would instead select a local team that would otherwise not have had the chance to play in the tournament,” said Darryl.
With the help of their contacts in Malaysia, Swan United picked the Alam Megah Bersatu team from Shah Alam to represent them.
Alam Megah coach Renu Kumar said that the boys had previously played in smaller tournaments and it was their first time participating in an international event.
“They had a lot of fun and they were very excited because they got to attend a dinner hosted by RSC. Most of them come from humble backgrounds and might never have entered a ballroom before. They had a blast and were dancing around in the ballroom with their new friends,” said Renu.