Tuesday, March 19, 1991

Kana does his bit (The Malay Mail)

ANYONE passing Jalan Cheras opposite the JKR fields will not miss
Kanagarajah holding court every Saturday and Sunday between 4pm and 7pm.
And both the KL and Selangor FAs have K.Kanagaraja to thank if they
get a steady stream of junior players from Cheras with polished skill and
The 33-year-old former Selangor winger is doing what many former
State and internationals are not - coaching schoolchildren and for free.
Four months ago, Kanagaraja, who hails from Cheras, decided to hold
coaching clinics for children staying around the 3rd mile at the JKR field
on weekends.
From between 15 to 30 children, the groups has swelled to about 150
kids in just four months.
"I didn't have the heart to turn anyone away, especially when they
came prepared with their gear and jerseys," said Kanagaraja.
It is difficult coaching 150 kids at a time, but he copes, with
assistance from friends in the Pemuda Cheras team."
Kanagaraja also coaches Pemuda Cheras who are in the Selangor Div 2.
Last month he attended an eight-day preliminary coaching course
conducted by FAS/FAM and headed by N. Raju.
"Coming from the same neighborhood. I knew what a tough place it is
to grow up here. Without proper guidance, many children have gone the
wrong path and ruined their lives.
"I wanted to do my bit to help them indulge in something healthy and
beneficial," said Kanagaraja. "The children of Cheras were keen on
playing soccer but had little or no guidance.
"This was my chance to impart whatever I had learnt while playing for
Selangor for eight years," added Kanagaraja who last played for the State
in 1985.
News of the weekend clinics spread. Soon he had children from
Cochrane, Kampong Pandan, Jalan Shaw, San Peng, Bandar Tun Razak, Sungei
Besi and Jalan Peel.
The kids' ages range from seven to 18. Many are eager to learn the
game and play better, but there are a good number who are talented and
will make good footballers.
Kanagaraja divides the kids into several groups according to their
ages and skills. The older boys are made group leaders and carry on the
sessions while he attends to other groups.
Kanagaraja is doing this for the love of the game and as his
contribution to the youth in the area.
Kanagaraja may not have played for the nation, but he has earned the
respect of his charges. They affectionately call him `Abang' and give 100
percent attention.
Kanagaraja could do with some assistance, in the form of more balls,
some cones and T-shirts. Presently, he only has 10 balls to work with.
Eight are from his club Pemuda Cheras and two donated by well-wishers
Perumal and Periasamy of Cheras.
FAS vice-president R. Ramalingam, who has heard of Kanagarajah's
efforts, has already asked him to collect five training balls from their
But more can be done to help Kanagaraja, so that the children who
turn up faithfully every weekend will realise their dreams of being a top
footballer one day.

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