THE inaugural Kuala Lumpur Old Boys Cup football tournament held at Victoria Institution’s field in the city centre was a throwback to the good old days, and had those taking part in the tourney filled with school pride, friendly rivalry and nostalgia.
Seven teams featured in the round-robin format tournament jointly organised by the alumni of Maxwell School, Methodist Boys’ School (MBSSKL), Victoria Institution (VI), St John’s Institution (SJI), and Setapak High School (HSSKL).
Traditional rivals VI, SJI and MBSSKL lived up to their reputation as fierce competitors in the tournament, finishing in that order on top of the ranks, ahead of Maxwell School and HSSKL in fourth and fifth, with MBS and VI’s second team completing the order.
On their way to winning the tournament, VI won four and drew two games against thir second team and SJI, coming from behind to equalise both times.
Former Malaysian Under-20 player Hashim Naian had the joy of reprising his role as VI’s football captain during his last two schooling years (1981 and 1982).
“We faced many of the same players, so the fighting spirit and feeling of rivalry with the Johannians and MBSSKL was the same, just like during our school days.
“Our team could still play well together even with the age difference of 10 years, but luckily we had 25 squad members to rotate,” said Hashim, who travelled down from Ipoh for the reunion.
“We had some former state players in the team too, like Ahmad Fairuz Yunus, Amirnuddin Ahmad as well as former international Shahrin Majid.
“Our strategy to play short passes with speed and utilise the expertise of both Shahrin and Amirnuddin who can still run definitely paid off,” added Hashim
In the special awards category, VI’s goalkeeper Saifullizam Abdul Rahim (Class of 1988) won Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament with just two goals conceded while SJI’s Chia Woon Kit (Class of 1986) earned the Top Scorer title with four goals.
Organising chairman Michael Lai from SJI said he mooted the idea of a reunion of schools.
“There are quite a few of us who remain active in football and still play friendly matches with one another, so the idea was to get everybody together.”
He said the committee’s vision was to have eight teams play in an elimination format but getting everyone together was a big challenge.
“We had plans to involve schools from Perak, but because they had a similar tournament during the same time, we will be trying to work something out next year.
“Still, we had 175 players ranging in age from 45 to 60 years old.
“It was tiring for the committee and I have to thank them along with VI for allowing us to use their field.
“It was worth it because of the many happy faces we saw along with the positive feedback we received so we plan to organise it again next year.”