SUBADRON Abdul Aziz is probably one singular footballer who has given back to the game which had given him so much, the most.
The former Kuala Lumpur and national striker who turned 56 on Oct 4, could have used the money earned through managing his late father’s waste truck and his own real estate business, to become a wealthy entrepreneur, but his heart and soul are wrapped around football which made him what he is today.
“If not for football, I will not be what I am today. And I have to thank the late Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who was KLFA president and KL mayor then, for looking after me as a player,” said Subadron, who was a member of the historical city team who won the Malaysia Cup a record three times from 1987 to 1989.
Subadron was also a member of the victorious national team under coach Trevor Hartley at the 1989 Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur.
“I had several offers during the height of my footballing career to play for other States, but I stayed loyal to KL because of Tan Sri. He was like a father to be.”
Subadron, who married to singer Salwa Abdul Rahman, still remains his modest self and it was his wife’s unwavering determination to give back to the game that saw him set up Subadron Football Club and Subadron Football Academy in 2012.
The father of Puteri Sulaikha (22) and Putera Sufrie Niza (19), has set up his academy which puts to shame most State FAs who do not even have an elaborate youth programme or facilities close to what Subadron has managed.
Subadron's family with Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon (patron Subadron Football Academy)
Finance to set up this academy and manage it was from his hard earned money through his business.
His Football Club is registered with Sports Commission, while the FA of Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur FA have given their blessings to set up the Academy and the Academy also has a tie-up with his former KL coach, Dr Josef Venglos’ Academy in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Even more disappointing was that when KLFA expelled nine affiliates last year in the run-up to their congress, which included Subadron’s club.
The nine affiliates were expelled after a power struggle which led to the postponement of KLFA’s elections in December, 2018.
The nine affected affiliates are Sime Darby, VI Institution, Bukit Bandaraya, Bank Rakyat, KB Putrajaya, Petaling Putra, Felcra, UniKL and Subadron Academy.
Subadron had sought financial assistance to set up his academy from the national, KL and even FA of Selangor, but while giving their blessings, were unable to help financially.
“I had to seek private sponsors and Proton through then deputy chief executive, Datuk Lukman Ibrahim, was the first to support us where we were allowed to use their fields and several other private companies like Coffee Omega who sponsored jerseys and footballs and Prima Synergy. We also have Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, (deputy speaker of the House of Representatives) as our patron who assists us.
“But since then, we have had to help ourselves and after a few years with the change of management at Proton, we had to move out and look for public fields.”
The Subadron Academy now has two centres – one in Shah Alam where they use the Section 26 field and another for Kuala Lumpur at Taman Ibu Kota.
It was then that he decided to set up a permanent centre with office, dormitory and gymnasium facilities in Sungei Buloh, when he built two semi-detached buildings on a land he purchased and named it Wisma Subdraon and Wisma Salwa to site his Academy which cost close to RM 4 million.
Subadron who is the director of his Academy, is personally in charge of his coaching programme and is down on the field at their two training sessions each week together with his fellow coaches’ former national player Sarawak’s Jalil Ramli, former KL player Zulkifli Sameon, Rahmat Sameon, Zamri Mazleh, Khairul Ishak, Salim Ismail, Mohd Izam Harun and trainer Iman Emmanuel.
The Academy currently has about 80 players ranging from ages 8 to 20.
Subadron received a well-earned boost when his effort to work at grassroots development gained recognition at the 2016 National Football Awards when the Subadron Academy received one of the two awards given in recognition of development at grassroots level.
“That prompted me to build another academy at Seri Gombak, equipped with a medical room, gymnasium, swimming pool, dormitory, indoor badminton court and his house too, dedicated to his wife for all her support.
“It is work in progress for the last four years but is now near completion. It will cost me RM 1 million and it is designed by me and I am personally involved in the construction,” said Subadron who hails from Kampong Baru before moving to Gombak.
Subadron has one final dream – to erect a mini stadium with two fields on a 4-acre piece of land he has purchased at Seri Gombak.
“I have approached the Sports Ministers in the past and FA of Selangor to assist to help build the mini stadium but nothing has come out of it yet. We can do a joint-venture deal for a said period, where I will manage it and share profit. After the said period the stadium is handed over to me as the land is mine,” said the former Setapak High School student.
“But I am not giving up and will continue to pursue my ambition to make my dream complete in giving back to the game.”
Subradron said he has attained quotes for the mini-stadium with two artificial pitches and container cabins for changing rooms, toilet facilities and a small management office. It would cost about RM2 million.
His son, Sufrie Niza, assists him in the management of the business and his Academy.
Sufrie also trained at the Academy but decided to get involved in E-Sports (football) and is now ranked number 3 in Malaysia and goes by the nickname ‘Killer’.
His daughter helps Subradon when she has time off her modelling and work with beauty product (L’Oréal) marketing team.
Salwa, who still sings at functions, remains the backbone behind Subadron’s vision and dreams to leave a legacy in football development.
“It is my hope through the Academy to give an opportunity to those who aspire to be footballers to train in a good environment and be guided by coaches.
“We have already had players from the Academy who have represented the KL youth team and two of notably ones are Muhammad Afzal and Muhammad Nazhan in 2016.
“I hope in future we will be able to supply players to the national youth teams, state teams and eventually one or two national players emerge from our Academy.”
Subadron Academy is in the process of registering themselves with Football Association of Malaysia’s Suparimau Charter – a move by FAM to register Football Academies and Schools and provide them guidance in all facets of development.
The primary aim of the Suparimau Academy is to have credible academies and to achieve excellence in teaching the game to juniors.
Included in the advantages of being in the Charter are accreditation, the SupaRimau League and player training compensation when a junior move on to a big stage.
Subadron Academy should have no problems to be registered among the three levels (Gold, Silver and Bronze) of classification based on leadership, planning, facilities, junior competitions and education.
To date, 210 of the estimated 500 academies in the country have enlisted with FAM.
Indeed, Subadron deserves more recognition and assistance and is a shining example of a player who never forgot his roots and devoted himself to give back to the game that made him.
Despite being married to a popular singer, that Subadron has his feet firmly on the ground and remains humble and simple with his wife and children, who are so respectful and down to earth, speaks volumes of his upbringing.