The ‘Real’ experience for our local players
AT 8.30 IN THE MORNING, 40 players from five different teams across Malaysia start off their daily schedule on the Raffles Institute of Singapore football pitch learning new techniques and skills essential in football while learning the values of leadership, effort, self-control, as well as team work and respect.
By the time evening comes around, the players would then have to practice what they learnt throughout the day.
“The goal of the field experience is to get one value every day, to train on it, work on it and then develop the value and put it on practice in the field,” said Alan Martin, one of the Real Madrid Foundation Technical Academy educators during the Real Madrid Campus Experience.
From June 16-20, these lucky players were given the opportunity to experience world-class training from Realmadrid Foundation’s educators and trainers by Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) and iM Sarawak as part of their commitment to foster football development among Malaysian youth.
Among the highlights during the programme were the training sessions with official Realmadrid Foundation coaches, football matches, technical and tactical sessions, and swimming sessions.
Given that Real Madrid are legendary Champions League winners, the Realmadrid Foundation Campus Experience programme was a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Malaysian youth to be motivated and develop skills through the unique training and education methodology provided.
While the training provided during the programme might also benefit the coaches on new teaching methods, most of all, Ung Su Ling, chief executive officer of YR1M hopes that training programme could help the players build their careers around football through their experience with the Real Madrid Foundation as she thinks that football was not limited to either coach or players.
YR1M and iM Sarawak brought three teams from East Malaysia; Kickalob (Sarawak), Tunas Asas Bolasepak SAFA (Sabah Football Association) Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Messi Michu Bambu FC (Labuan) and two teams from Klang Valley, Persatuan Bolasepak Daerah Klang (Klang) and YFA (Youth Football Association) from Kuala Lumpur along with five coaches from each team.
According to local head coach, Rada Krishnan, who led all five teams from Malaysia, he said that our local players were of good material and in his opinion, some of them had good potential to play for our national team, Harimau Muda C, Malaysian national under-17 football team and Harimau Muda CB, Malaysian national under-19 football team.
The Campus Experience approach was different from the training back home as the players are encouraged to have some fun and be more relaxed first before going into intense training.
“This is a very good concept and I think I will bring it back home,” Krishnan said.
“From talking to the coaches and staff, as for the Malaysian players, they are good players with good attitude, energy and physical condition,” commented Managing Director Singapore project, Sergio Cervantes Martinez.
According to Sergio even though the players are in good physical condition, it is important to develop an understanding in the tactical and technical concept of the game and sport.
“This is what we want to develop within this five-day training programme and we want them to understand that football is not the matter of power but it is the matter of concept of the game and being clever and intelligent with the ball and making right decisions and position in a short time,” he added.
Aside from that, the technical and tactical session held every afternoon after lunch is to teach the players the various tactics and moves on the field so that they can get a better concept of the game and have a better understanding of the sport.
According to Syazani Zakaris, 18, captain of Sarawak team, Kickalob, he learnt the value of leadership and teamwork during the programme. He also noted that the techniques taught during the programme were different from what he was exposed to back home, citing the ‘tiki taka’ technique, a style of play in football characterised by possessing the ball during most of the game, while moving the ball quickly from one player to the next.
Hafiezulhisyam Roslee, 18, of Kickalob said that he learnt the value of discipline and leadership.
Fellow teammate, Sharir Shazni Sazali Ramli, 18, son of the late Sarawak ex-footballer Shazali Ramli said that among the things he learned during the technical and tactical session were the 10 most important components in the offensive and defensive tactics which he and his teammates implemented in the field during the team experience session.
Aside from that he also added that he particularly enjoyed learning the basic technique of passing the ball such as short pass, medium pass and long pass which are different in terms of the techniques required in passing the ball over varying distances.
After every football training and experiential activity in the morning, the players then head on to the pool for a swimming session which, according to Alan, helps the players soften and relax tense muscles after extreme and intensive practice on the field.
Through this world-class programme, YR1M and iM Sarawak hope to bring the level of football in the nation to the next level by promoting pride and creating unity among the young and fresh players.
YR1M was established in January 2013 as a charitable foundation dedicated toward benefitting Malaysia from all walks of life in line with the principle of 1Malaysia.
In November last year, YR1M collaborated with Mamee-Double Decker (M) Sdn Bhd in organising a football tournament, Kejohanan Bolasepak Piala Mamee with the theme ‘Bukan sekadar piala’ (‘Not just about trophies’) where an all-girls football clinic was also held to introduce the sport to girls.
Divided into five zones – North, Central, South, East, and East Malaysia – the top two teams among the final 10 teams from the five regional tournaments battled it out during the Grand Finals in Kuala Lumpur on February 26th to March 2nd this year.
A selections skills test was also conducted where 16 players were picked to form the 1Malaysia team to go on an 11-day exposure trip to Manchester, UK which includes a five-day training stint at Manchester United Soccer Schools (MUSS) in May.
According to Ung Su Ling, chief executive officer of YR1M, similar to the Kejohanan Piala Mamee 1Malaysia that was held in February to March this year, the Campus Experience programme aims to foster good relationship and unity among the youths across the nation by providing opportunity for the players from Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan.
The foundation’s activities are mainly focused on engaging and helping Malaysians, especially those less fortunate and in need, by equipping them with building blocks to achieve a better quality of life. Towards the end, the foundation focuses on three areas: improving quality of life, education and sports.
iM Sarawak has been involved in various community-oriented projects with the aim of improving the quality of life under the 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC) by providing clean water in schools and village, electricity through micro-hydro projects, sanitation facilities, youth empowerment and education through sports and home repair.
Among the most recent projects developed by iM Sarawak was supplying clean water to 800 residents of Kampung Tebaro, Kampung Jampari, Kamoung Senibong and Kampung Perian in Lundu in February.