PASIR GUDANG: Premier I club Johor FC scored another first in Malaysian soccer by becoming the first club to sponsor two secondary schools of excellence for the sport in the state.
The two schools are SM Pasir Gudang 1 here and SM Sri Gading, Batu Pahat. Each school will have 25 students each and they will be groomed for excellence in the game.
The Johor FA president, Tan Sri Mohd Ali Hashim, praised Johor FC for their efforts.
“It is an excellent move by Johor FC to sponsor the two schools. They have the full blessings of the Johor FA, who are the parent body for the affiliates,” said Mohd Ali at the sponsorship ceremony at Pusat Bandar Pasir Gudang yesterday.
“Each school is encouraged to have its own development programmes and SM Pasir Gudang and Sri Gading are two of them. The best football talent in and around Pasir Gudang and Sri Gading will be students of the two schools.”
There are now three schools of excellence in Johor. The other is in Muar and it comes under the Education Ministry.
Johor FC president Ahamad Mohamad said that it was a pilot project that took off last year but it was only formalised after they saw the concept working well for both parties.
Under the sponsorship, Johor FC will provide the two schools with equipment and will also improve on their existing facilities. The sponsorship is part of Johor FC’s programme to build up their fan base.
“At the moment, Johor FC fans are only concentrated in Pasir Gudang and Johor Baru. We want to spread our base throughout the state. We will also bring those students of the two schools under our centre of excellence programme to watch Johor FC’s home matches,” said Ahamad.
“It is our plan to have a succession of players to play for us in the future. Players in these two schools will become our pool of talent. But they can choose to play elsewhere. It does not matter to us.”
Ahamad chose not to reveal the amount of the sponsorship over a period of two years.
He added that Johor FC were looking at more schools in other districts to come under their development programme to ensure that there would not be a lack of talented footballers in the state.