What started off an experimental tournament between Philippines and Malaysia has now become a permanent feature.
Last year, only four teams, including X-Mail Veteran, competed in the inaugural tournament in October.
The tournament saw X-Mail team bring the winning trophy, medals, souvenir T-Shirts and even the official programme for the competition.
This year, we have a brand new beautiful pewter Challenge Trophy donated by a strong supporter of X-Mail and a prominent figure in Malaysia, Dato’ Abdullah Hishan. He has also donated the replica trophy which the champion will keep.
The second edition of the tournament this year has also seen the number of teams competing grow from four to ten. Although the format has been changed from 11-a-side to 9-a-side, the tournament without doubt is gaining momentum and popularity.
While last year it was rekindling the fire in Philippines for X-Mail who have been having a long standing relationship with the Philippines FA dating back to 1991 when we competed in the inaugural Philippines Cup in Iloilo City, it is now going to be revisiting to forge a permanent relationship.
X-Mail, then known as The Malay Mail FC has besides the Philippines Cup played several friendly matches in Manila too. We have also had hosted the Philippines national in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
The X-Mail Veterans have a long history which dates back to 1987 when The Malay Mail soccer team was formed to compete in the Kuala Lumpur FA Dunhill League.
Infact, the team itself had been in existence since the 70s, when it was known as the New Straits Times team, which competed in the annual NST/Straits Times
annual games. Singapore
The Malay Mail team itself started with employees of the New Straits Times, The Malay Mail and Berita Harian, as club team competing in the KL Dunhill League. Starting off in 1987, playing in the domestic league, the team’s achievement saw it become the first club team from the city of Kuala Lumpur to qualify for the BIG League – The Malaysian League to play in the Division Two - as KL Malay Mail FC.
Over the years, the team has evolved from a company team to club team and finally a Semi-Pro team playing in the M-League Division Two from 2000 – 2002.
However, the end of 2003, saw the end of The Malay Mail team after almost 15 years in existence owing to financial problems – the team had to source for it’s own funds and did not receive any monetary aid from the newspapers. Infact, it was wonder that the team survived for 15 years on a shoe-string budget which shamed many top teams in
Last year in May, saw the rebirth of the Malay Mail team, but as veterans.
Not wanting to let such a rich tradition and history suffer a natural death, players who have at one time or other played for The Malay Mail team with in the Dunhill League, FAM Cup, FA Cup or M-League Division 11, were invited to play in a friendly match against a local community club UKRC, who also have a longstanding relationship with X-Mail.
Some 200 players have played for The Malay Mail team over the years, which included several top names like Dahlan Zainuddin, R. Subramaniam, Zainal Abidin Hassan, K. Kannan, M. Pavalamani, Chow Siew Yai, See Kim Seng, Subadron Aziz, S. Silvarajoo, Lim Teong Kim, S. Balachandran, Mohd Faridzul Kassim, S. Tamilarasan, K. Viajantheran, Ramlan Askolani, V. Suresh and N. Suresh to name a few. Many young players too have graduated from our team to become national players and two of them include Mohamad Imran and S. Surenthiran.
For the historical veteran’s friendly match against UKRC last May some 30 odd players, who are true blue Malay Mail players who decided to keep the flame of the team burning and turned up.
The rest is history. The team decided to return to Philippines as veterans last October and the inaugural Philippines-Malaysia Veteran Soccer Tournament was born.
Last year, despite a depleted side, X-Mail managed to finish runners-up to host Bacolod United FC.
Last year's team before the final
This year, we have come as a truly Malaysia-Philippines team because we have four Filipino guest players to underline our true comradeship with Philippines.
Hopefully, we will do better than last year, but with the competition expected to be much tougher, we will be happy just to be a good participant to ensure to the success of the tournament.
The team thanking the supporters after the final
But we are looking forward to next year, when we will be hosting the 3rd Philippines-Malaysia International Veterans Soccer Festival, where we hope to invite teams from other Asean countries too. We hope Philippines will be represented by a few teams as we try to return the great hospitality shown to us in Bacolod City.
Here’s wishing all the participating teams all the very best and may the team that plays in the best spirit of the game with Fair Play being held to the highest order, and survive the tournament with their fitness and true classy display, win the tournament.
The team for this year's tournament:
Team X-Mail: Tengku Noriza Tengku Ramli (Team President); Tony Mariadass (Manager/Coach); Alwin Rajasurya (Asst.Manager); Athoneysamy Lourdusamy; Chandrawathie Farmadsa (Team Officials)
Goalkeepers: Fareez Prem Raj; Robert Choa; Defenders: Hasnul Ramlan Khairuddin (Team Captain); Masaaud Zain; Md Mashraf Mustakim; R. Subramaniam; Midfielders: V. Kalimutu; P. Vijian; Eduardo Perez; Strikers: Anto Richard Gomez; U. Supramaniam; Alberto Salvacion, Jesse Risalieu S. Ricabo.
The team departs on Thursday midnight for the tournament and will make a stop-over in Manila on June 1st and 2nd. On June 1, they will play a friendly match at Clark Air Base Parade ground against Clark International FA