The 1Malaysia Cup football competition will serve as an excellent platform for football associations to identify new talents.
The competition, organised by Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) with support from Real Madrid Foundation and the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation, kicks off on Dec 15 and will cater to the Under-19 age group.
The competition will be played in five zones – East Malaysia (Dec 15-19); Southern (Jan 5-9); Central (19-23 Jan); Eastern (Feb 9-13) and Northern (2-6 March) – and will culminate with the grand finals in Kuala Lumpur from March 28 to April 5 next year.
Sixteen teams, nominated by the respective state foot associations, will be involved in the five zones.
The top two teams from each zone will qualify for the grand finals.
A total of RM13,000, with the champions receiving RM5,000, is offered to the top eight teams in each zone.
The champions in the grand finals will get RM15,000 followed by RM7.500 for the runners-up; RM5,000 and RM3,000, respectively, for the third and fourth placed teams.
Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia chief executive officer Ung Su Ling said the competition was held for the second season.
“Last year was an encouraging season and the champions were rewarded with an overseas training stint. We are also happy to announce that about seven players had been called up by the state football associations.
“Likewise, we look forward to another exciting season. We welcome this year’s players and hope they get the recognition and gain promotion to play in the M-League,’’ Su Ling said at the launch of the competition in Kuala Lumpur.
Also present at the launch were former Asian Football Confederation secretary Datuk Peter Velappan, former internationals Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk Santokh Singh and Bakri Ibni.
To make the championship an exciting one, the organisers have decided to bar players who had featured in the Premier League, Super League, President’s Cup and FAM Cup competitions for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Teams are allowed to register three players from the Youth Cup, from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, but only two will be allowed to play at any one time.
All team coaches must have an accredited C licence from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
Su Ling said they would also be organising supplementary programmes in all the five zones.
“Workshops on self-development, sports management and career development will be held. A total of 1,680 players and officials will be involved in the competition.”
Laureus Sports for Good Foundation Global director Ned Wills said the partnership with Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia would leverage the power of the sport to help improve the lives of young Malaysians.
“We will focus on training and assist the foundation in building capacity and capability in mentoring and coaching youngsters towards employment,’’ Wills added.
Peter Velappan said the programme should encourage more youngsters to be active in football as players, coaches and administrators.