THE Malaysian Indian Sports Council (MISC) and Malaysian Indian Football Association (MIFA) have joined forces to field a team in the FAM Cup competition this year.
And they have secured support from the New Affirmative Action Movement (NAAM) as well as the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (MAICCI).
Both have pledged to contribute RM100,000 each.
The word “NAAM” will also be displayed on the team jerseys.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who was the guest of honour at the launch of the team jersey, said it was a historical moment as two organisations — MISC and MIFA — have got together for the promotion and development of football among the youngsters.
“We would like to congratulate both MISC and MIFA for their commitment towards this ambitious programme,’’ said Subramaniam.
Deputy Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan also played a vital role in convincing both MISC and MIFA to forget their differences.
Saravanan, who was also present at the launch, said MISC and MIFA were committed to the task.
“The FA of Malaysia were supportive of the venture. We are grateful to FAM secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin and FAM council member Datuk S. Sivasundram for their assistance,” said Saravanan.
MIFA started preparations about six months ago.
Former police coach K. Thaiyananthan was engaged as the coach while former international and Selangor player K. Sanbagamaran as the assistant coach.
Both Thaiyananthan and Senbagamaran had conducted a series of trials and selected 22 players for MISC-MIFA’s challenge in the FAM Cup.
MIFA president Datuk T. Mohan said they were looking forward to an impressive team line-up for the FAM Cup.
“We started preparations about six months ago. Both Thaiyananthan and Senbagamaran have impressive credentials as a coach and player.
“With their experience, they will be able to guide our players.
“In fact, we have seen a lot of progress in the players since they started training,” said Mohan.
As part of their preparations, MISA-MIFA had played a series of friendlies with established teams in the Football Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Football Association.
The matches gave the coaches opportunities to evaluate the players in competitive matches.
The team, Mohan added, would also be undergoing a centralised training stint at the AIMST University in Sungai Petani, Kedah.
“The coaches will get the chance to spend more time with the players. We have also arranged for some matches with local teams in Kedah,” said Mohan.
The FAM Cup league, involving 11 teams, will kick off on March 9.
Besides MISC-MIFA, the other teams in the fray are Kuala Lumpur, Harimau Muda C, Pahang Kuantan FA, Malacca, Sabah Cebagoo FC, Pahang Kuantan Port, Kedah Malay Football Association, Perak YBU FC, Penang Sungai Ara FC and Hulu Terengganu District Football Association.
Mohan said their budget for the season was RM1.3mil.
“We are looking at sponsors to support our campaign. There has been a lot positive response from well-wishers.
“Our target is to gain promotion to the Premier Division in two years.
“MIFA will also look into ways to get job opportunities for the players,” said Mohan.
“We want to assure the players that their well-being, after their playing stint, will be cared for.”