Kick-starting talent development


(Left) Organisers, officials and VIPs with SDFC’s players from several age categories.

YAYASAN Sime Darby (YSD) hopes to help discover and hone junior footballing talent while encouraging an active lifestyle through its

Yayasan Sime Darby Chairman’s Trophy football tournament, which was held over two days recently.

The inaugural tournament for Under-8, Under-10 and Under-12 was held at Sime Darby Football Club’s (SDFC) training ground in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.

Fifty-four teams from across the country as well as three teams from Indonesia participated in the tournament.

YSD acting chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin, SDFC president Datuk Seri Ahmad Shah Tengku Datuk Seri Ahmad Shah Alhaj ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj and former national footballer Zainal Abidin Hassan were among those present at the opening ceremony.

Dr Wan Zahid said the tournament was in line with their initiative to help develop talents from the grassroots level.

An SDFC player attempts to win the ball in mid air against his opponent from MBJ United.— Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/ The Star
An SDFC player attempts to win the ball in mid air against his opponent from MBJ United.— Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/ The Star  

“The tournament is a great platform for young players to improve their skills by competing with other teams, not just from Malaysia but from the South-East Asian region as well.

“We aim to support the development of our young football players through a competitive and motivating environment, which I hope will contribute to our nation’s local football talent pool,” he said.

The foundation committed RM1.2mil towards the football development programme, which was managed by SDFC, from January 2018 until December next year.

Dr Wan Zahid said currently 156 children aged between eight and 12 were registered for the programme since February.

“I hope next year we can also focus on honing football talents in the Under-15 category.

“Most of the children are now mainly from Bukit Jelutong but we are planning to expand the programme to Denai Alam, Elmina, Bukit Raja, Taman Tun Dr Ismail Jaya and Subang Jaya.

“We target to train at least 200 children by the end of the programme,” added Wan Zahid.

Dr Wan Mohd Zahid (black T-shirt) kicking a ball to mark the launch of the football tournament. With him is Zainal (left).
Dr Wan Mohd Zahid (black T-shirt) kicking a ball to mark the launch of the football tournament. With him is Zainal (left).  

Meanwhile, SDFC honorary secretary Zainal Amat said the YSD Champion’s trophy was the first tournament it organised this year.

“We started the development programme earlier this year with the focus of providing the platform and opportunity for junior footballers to experience the thrill and excitement of playing football competitively.

“SDFC also participated in one other local junior football tournament – the Air Asia Junior League KL in February.

“Our team managed to qualify to the quarter finals of the competition and it shows how committed, talented and dedicated these junior footballers are,” he said.

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