All fired up just like the good old days

  • Community Sports
  • Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019

Players in action during the Legends Plate final between SJI 8ty234 (in white) and SJI 87.

AGE is just a number for former students of St John’s Institution (SJI), who have tremendous spirit and love for football as seen in the third edition of the Fernandez Challenge Cup (FCC) at Arena Stadium, Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

The annual football competition is a tribute to two brothers, David and the late Vincent Fernandez, lifelong educators at SJI, and organised by St John’s Institution 80s Alumni Association (SJI80s) with the support of St John’s Alumni Association (SJAA).

The 16 teams that participated were divided into four categories — Veterans (35-39 years), Masters (40-44), Grand Masters (45-49) and Legends (50 and above).

Each category featured four teams that had to go through preliminary round group matches before reaching the final of the Cup and Plate categories.

The Cup finals saw SJI 2001, SJI 92, SJI 88 and SJI 86ers overcome their opponents to emerge champions in all categories respectively.

Meanwhile, SJI 98, SJI 96, SJI 90 and SJI 8ty234 were victorious in their respective plate finals.

David expressed his delight at seeing familiar faces back in this popular competition.

“Back in the day, we had training throughout the year, even in December.

“While students from other schools were on holiday, we would train our socks off to ensure we were ready for future competitions.

“This made a huge difference to my boys back then, as we won many titles in the Under-15 and Under-18 categories.

“I am absolutely thrilled to see them again and I hope this tradition will continue for years to come,” he said.

Speaking about the power of football which can bring people together, David praised the former SJI students who took time to participate.

“It is not about winning, it is about coming together to enjoy the sport and at the same time, help the players to stay fit no matter how old they are.

“The bottom line is if you are fit, you can play the game until the end of time,” David said.

Jalaldeen Rumy Mohd Raphay, 62, from the SJI 1973 batch, said the annual competition gave former students the chance to foster friendships among Johannians.

“Being able to still play football at this age is fantastic.

“I played for the school when I was in Form Four and Form Five.

“I would love to commit myself to play in the years to come in FCC, as it gets me all excited and also a form of relaxation, being with former schoolmates in an environment that I love,” he said.

Jalaldeen Rumy received the Legacy award for being the oldest player in the competition, while Chia Woon Kit was recognised as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his impressive performance throughout the competition.
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