Astro’s football camp gives kids a shot at their dreams
FOOTBALL CONTINUES TO BE one of the most played sports in the world, and the trend has become even more popular among kids in Malaysia.
In an effort to support the strong passion and identify young talents in football, ASTRO Malaysia had worked together with 1MCC Sports Sdn. Bhd. to initiate the ‘1MCC – Astro Kem BOLA.’
The objective of the programme is to find as many talents as possible as well as to provide other aspects towards making a good athlete who is not just good in skills but also emphasising in education, experience, and discipline; all essential ingredients towards better football players in future.
According to Chief Operating Officer Cameron Ng, 1MCC Sports Sdn Bhd is currently into its fourth year since its establishment in 2010 and this is their third year holding the football camp together with ASTRO Kasih.
1MCC Sports started off with a partnership with Cardiff City, and was founded by Datuk Chan Tien Ghee as its chairman.
Its aim was to provide opportunities for everyone in football, in line with their tagline ‘Football for All’, and at the moment they are focusing more on the development of football among youths or kids as young as 10 years old.
“We want players who are intelligent, willing to learn, as well as able to understand instructions and football tips besides being skillful in football,” he added when interviewed by The Borneo Post SEEDS during the tryout session held at Padang D, Petra Jaya on August 16 where about 60 kids aged between 10 to 12 years old took part.
There are three major components in the tryout session which included long and short passing, attacking and defending to test the kids’ basic skills in football. Once they finished with all three components, they play in teams to allow them to apply all the skills that they learnt and show their real talent.
For the 1MCC ASTRO Kem Bola, the programme would be conducted at six venues including Kuching and from these venues, 64 players will be chosen to participate in the 1MCC Sports’ Education through Football programme that will be held in Kuala Lumpur for an 8-day training programme.
“During this advanced training period, kids will receive all-inclusive coaching, including talks in classrooms as to provide them with essential knowledge on what makes a good player from their lifestyles to health and nutrition,” said senior AVP Corporate Responsibility ASTRO, Jolyn Gasper.
This programme is one of Astro’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and they are working together with 1MCC Sports Sdn Bhd as their coaching techniques and training are aligned with Kem Bola’s targets which is cultivating a rounded athlete through their Education through Football (ETP) programme.
One of the lessons the kids will learn is how to be a match commentator. After observing what match commentators observe and comment on the games, they will later have to write their own scripts and present their own commentaries before the class. This exercise will also enable them to write and speak in English and be more comfortable using the language.
1MCC Sports’ own coaches will be delivering the programme.
“1MCC Sports has three imported coaches that include Michael Leach, Rhys Kelleher and the leader Jordan Humphrey. All three of them are from England and they have studied in sports universities before, making them qualified football trainers, who in the meantime are focusing more on football development among youths and kids,” Ng added.
Humphrey – who also studied in the same sports university as state professional football player, Junior Eldstal – are also being assisted by local coaches who include former state players like Jahar Nor, Sulaiman Mustanir and Firdaus Ishak who are also conducting the programme under 1MCC Sports.
ASTRO Arena has also been teaching the kids interviewing skills, showing them how to deal with media interviews in the future.
The Borneo Post SEEDS also wanted to try out their interviewing skills, and they seemed to be very excited as every kid at Padang D that day raised their hands to be interviewed.
One of the girls from last year’s edition who went to Cardiff was actually there at the time, and I caught her for my interview.
Hailing from Kampung Semarang, Norieza Izzma Mohd Joehizam, 14, considered herself lucky to be selected to go to Cardiff for the 1MCC-Astro Kem BOLA intensive training in April 2013.
“I had never joined any football competitions before, and I only knew about this camp when my mother brought me for the tryouts that was held in Yayasan Sarawak in 2012 and I couldn’t believe that I was finally chosen to go to Cardiff,” she said.
She also plays netball for her school – SMK Tun Abang Haji Openg – and said that she had learned lots about football from the camp, not just passing or shooting but what she needed to learn about becoming a good football player including discipline and good team spirit.
“During the 10-day intensive training in Cardiff, I trained every day with a women’s professional football academy team there. Even though it was cold, we managed to train from 7 to 10 in the morning, as well as 3 to 4 in the afternoon. Besides that I also had the chance to visit Cardiff Castle among other interesting things there.”
Izzma whose favourite football teams include Sarawak FA, Cardiff City, Arsenal and Manchester dreams of becoming a professional football player in future. For this year’s tryout, she brought along her brother hoping that he would also like it at the camp and also get chosen like her.
Norieza’s brother, Joehaziq, 11, dreams of becoming a football star someday. He regards Joseph Kalang as his idol in football and 1MCC-Astro Kem BOLA has given him the right opportunity to test and improve his football skills and abilities.
“From this camp, I learned lots of things about football, from shooting and passing to the real sided game where I was tested on my abilities and skills on playing football, and I really like it here,” he said.
For Syed Muhd Razif, 11, his interest in football started when he was 9 years old. Even though this year is his second time trying out for the camp, he’s still learning new things in football.
“I learned lots of things including short passing, attacking and defending, long passing and playing and testing out my skills in football at the sided game. It is really fun and this makes me to be more determined to pursue my interest in football.”
His favorite football team is FC Barcelona and he adores Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, hoping that he will be someone like him in the future.
“Apart from learning new things in football, I love the coaches here as all of them are very friendly and fun to play with as well,” said Izmeer Aiman, 11, from Kuching.
His interest in football started since Primary 3 and this is his first time joining the camp.
“I love Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerard Pique and Neymar Jr. One day, I wish to become a football star just like them,” he added.
After the advanced training in Kuala Lumpur, 32, will be selected to go overseas in the United Kingdom for 2 weeks of intensive training, and there the kids will meet with professional academy football players, to give them a real taste of what professional football.
Meanwhile, to provide the kids more exposure to football by giving them as much playing and contact time as possible, 1MCC also initiated the Liga 1MCC that runs throughout the year.
“Liga 1MCC is open to three age groups namely Under-12s, Under-14s and Under-16s and it is mainly for kids who are not from sports schools to give them an opportunity to play in a football league. It runs for three months for every age group, and currently it is being held at Klang Valley, Penang, Johor and Melaka, and we are looking forward to expand it to Sarawak as well,” Ng said.
1MCC Sports has expanded tits affiliation to 10 other international football clubs alongside their first partnership with Cardiff City FC in Wales, United Kingdom.
“We are based in Kuala Lumpur, and now we are affiliated to 10 clubs from across Europe. In England we have West Ham United FC, Sheffield Wednesday FC, Charlton Athletic FC, and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. In Scotland we have Glasgow Rangers. In Italy we have UC Sampdoria, and AC Chievo Verona.
“In Holland we have affiliation with FC Utrect. In America we have Portland Timbrs, and one of our proudest would be the affiliation with a professional women’s football team from Italy, the ASD Torres, which as far as I am concerned no other entity has it in Malaysia, hoping that we can provide opportunities for girls to also participate in football.”
When asked to comment about the kids, Ng said that they mostly have the basic skills but they do not really understand the athletic side of football.
“We agree on what the coaches in United Kingdom say; in terms of abilities and skills, Malaysian boys and girls have no problem, some are even better than their kids over there. Our kids are slightly lacking in football knowledge, tactical knowledge as well as in decision-making where they are very scared of making their own decisions. That is where Malaysian kids are slightly behind in football compared to those in overseas,” Ng commented.
Meanwhile, when asked about the future of football among kids in Malaysia, Ng said, “The future of football is about giving opportunity. 1MCC is focusing on community and grassroots levels to give the kids opportunities and create proper interest in football among them. We hope to actually be able to progress and maybe one day have an academy of our own to spread football to as many people as possible.”
About 60% of the kids that participated in the football camp previously ended up studying in sports schools to further pursue their passion in football.
Since the kids are all of varying skills levels, the selection process seems a bit challenging because some are trained and some are just raw talent. Being able to identify and getting them to learn and play together as a team is one of the challenges for the programme.
“Personally, I would love to see where these kids will go after the camp. I do find pleasure in seeing what they will become in the future. We will keep in touch with them wherever they will be and continue to support their growth in football, maybe getting the chance to see them getting a degree in football studies as well,” Jolyn said.
The Kem Bola tryout session has been held in Sarawak three times. The first selection held in Yayasan Sarawak in 2012 saw 15 participants (10 girls, 5 boys) selected to attend the advanced camp and 5 participants (1 boy, 4 girls) advanced to the Cardiff Training programme. Last year, it was held at Miri and saw 3 out of 10 kids (2 girls, 1 boy) going to Cardiff.