Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to The Philippines as Veterans

The Ex-Malay Mail FC veteran soccer team will be competing in the inaugural Philippines-Malaysia Veteran Soccer tournament at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City over the weekend (Oct 24 and 25).

The tournament is the initiative of the Philippines Football Federation (PFF) and The Ex-Malay Mail Veteran football team.

The Malay Mail team leave tomorrow night (Thursday) with captain Hasnul Ramlan Khairuddin leading a 13-players squad.

The team has a guest player in double international (soccer and hockey), M. Kalimutu, who is 63 years-old,

Kalimutu, who hails from Malacca, is still fit as a fiddle and plays regularly in the social league in the Klang Valley

The rest of the players include players like Mohamad Omar and A. Gunasegran, who played for the NST team as early as 1977.

Other notable names include Mohamad Faridzul Kassim who played for Malay Mail in the FAM Cup campaign in the 90s.

Initially, three teams from the Philippines, including host Bacolod City, and three teams from Malaysia were supposed to participate in the tournament, but due to time constraints and other commitments, only The Malay Mail team is representing Malaysia.

Certainly, this tournament is not going to be a one-off affair but an annual one. The FA of Malaysia supports the participation of The Malay Mail team and commended its efforts to initiate the tournament.

With the backing of the PFF, the tournament is indeed going to grow into a key event for Bacolod City.

The PFF’s secretary-general Cyril Dofitas personally oversaw the run-up to the tournament with the local organising committee and will be in Bacolod City during the tournament to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

The Malay Mail team is no stranger to the Philippines, especially Bacolod and Iloilo City. The newspaper team competed in the inaugural Philippines Cup in 1991 where it finished runner-up to the Chinese Taipei national team. It participated in two more tournaments and played numerous matches with the Philippine national team, both in Manila and Kuala Lumpur.

Many of the current veteran players were part of The Malay Mail team at one time or another when it played in the Philippines.

The Malay Mail team saw its birth in 1989, when they changed their name from New Straits Times (NST) to The Malay Mail for branding purposes.

It rose from competing in the domestic KL Dunhill League to play in the FAM Cup (national club championship) before earning promotion to the M-League Second Division in 2000, where it played for three seasons.

The Malay Mail was the first club team from the Klang Valley to play in the M-League Second Division.

The team was forced to disband at the end of 2004 because it could not find a sponsor to continue its campaign. In fact, the team survived for almost 15 years on a shoestring budget, putting many top teams in Malaysia to shame. What kept it going was the passion of the officials and players for the “beautiful game”.

A picture of The Ex-Malay Mail Veteran team players before a friendly match against UKRC in March.

In a tribute to The Malay Mail team and in memory of a great friendship with the Philippines through the sport, the team has decided to rekindle its ties. Only, the players are going back as veterans!

The Ex-Malay Mail Veterans team sponsors the challenge trophy and prizes for the tournament. The team will also be making a presentation of old jerseys, Milo T-Shirts and soccer balls, to a poor school team in Bacolod City.

The players are paying for their trip and some friends of the former Malay Mail FC team – Milo, Line 7, Pennzoil GSR Racing Team, UKRC, Sky Bus, WRL Advertising n Production and Datuk Hishan Abdullah – have made this trip possible.

The team to Bacolod City:

Fareez Prem Raj, Md Mashraff Mustakim, Hasnul Ramlan Khairuddin, Anto Ricchard Gomez, Muhamad Omar, Zaiddi Sabri, Masaaud Zain, Zulkarnanin Abd Talib, A. Gunasegeran, Mohd Faridzul Kassim, Aftan Mohamed, U. Supramaniam, V. Kalimutu.

Officials: Tony Mariadass & Mohd Rasol Raman Mustapha


tham said...

Best of Luck for the whole team . Cheers

megan said...

Hi bro,

glad to note u are still at it ...keep it going bro..

ps. didn't know u have started blogging. i came across yours accidently.