Tuesday February 12, 2013
Young Felda footballers cherish and inspired by Cardiff City stint
By SARBAN SINGH
SEREMBAN: The cheers from the 25,000 crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium still ring loud and clear in the ears of 14-year-old Amirul Hafiz Rahmat who was among 50 Malaysian youngsters who did a lap of honour around the stadium in early December.
“I’ll never forget that feeling. It was like we were the best young footballers on earth,” said the student, who was among the first batch from the Kuantan Felda Academy to undergo a three-week training stint at the Malaysian-owned Cardiff City Football Club.
They started training on Nov 10 with Cardiff City, owned by Malaysian businessman Tan Sri Vincent Tan. The club now leads the English league championship.
The programme, a brainchild of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was aimed at giving young Malaysians the exposure to better playing techniques from foreign coaches.
The lads were given the privilege to watch the club play against Sheffield Wednesday on Dec 2 and were given a standing ovation by the fans during half time of the match, which the Bluebirds won by a solidarity goal.
Amirul was interviewed after the boys received certificates for completing their training from Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan at a ceremony here yesterday.
Mohd AidiI Ikmal Ramli, 16, a student from Felda Raja Alias, Negri Sembilan, said: “We were also privileged to watch a home match with Middlesbrough.
“The feeling at the stadium was electric. It was also good to see the Cardiff City players wear jerseys embossed with the word ‘Malaysia’.
Chan, who was present at the ceremony, commended the young trainees for their discipline throughout the programme.
Meanwhile, Ahmad said Felda would consider sending more students in future to Cardiff to promote the game in its land schemes.
He added that there would be three more Felda academies, in Alor Setar and Gua Musang, Kelantan with the third being planned in the southern region.
Ahmad said Felda would also be building a 30,000 capacity stadium at Bandar Tun Razak in Jengka, Pahang.
Felda has also built futsal courts at its settlements nationwide and will also build facilities for other sports.