BANGI (11 NOVEMBER 2012)- It will be a dream come true for 50 players from FELDA communities throughout the country when they leave for a three-week training cum exposure trip to the hallowed grounds of the Cardiff City Football Academy in Wales, UK.
The realisation of this vision was initiated at the official launch of the Liga 1Malaysia-Cardiff City (Liga 1MCC) by Prime Minister, Datuk Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak in April this year. The Prime Minister had lauded 1MCC’s efforts to improve football at grassroots level, and as Minister in charge of FELDA, he made a promise to send these young boys on this once-in-a-lifetime experience to Cardiff City. This is indeed a promise fulfilled!
Of these 50 players, 17 are from the FELDA Academy, whilst 33 were selected from various FELDA communities in Kedah, Pahang, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Selangor and Terengganu. The boys comprise of 25 each from the Under-16 and Under-18 age groups They will depart Kuala Lumpur Nov 15 for Cardiff City after a 5-day Orientation Camp in Bangi, Selangor. The group will be accompanied by a Teacher, 2 Coaches from FELDA Academy and officials from FELDA and 1MCC.
This group will undergo training with the Cardiff City Academy boys, play against local teams, attend a Welsh school, undergo the UK Sports Leaders Program, participate in the Community Recycling Program, watch the Cardiff City First Team in training, and also get to watch two home matches, CCFC vs Middlesbrough, and CCFC vs Sheffield Wednesday. They will have the opportunity to visit the Cardiff City Stadium and tour the back of house and see how a professional football Club is managed and how stadium facilities are run, and how fans are managed. They will also meet up with FELDA-sponsored University students currently studying in Cardiff.
Dato’ Chan Tien Ghee, Chairman of 1Malaysia-Cardiff City and Chairman of Cardiff City Football Club has this to say, “The 1MCC philosophy of ‘Football For All’ has achieved its objective in providing a platform for youths to realise their potential through football. The more important aspect of this trip is for our young aspiring players to be aware of the hard work and high standards required to play professionally abroad. Football is not just about kicking a ball around – it involves hard work, team spirit, responsibility, commitment, discipline and the ability to withstand a tough training regime. It helps to build character and mental strength.”
“I am indeed proud that the first batch of 50 players from the FELDA communities will get to enjoy this exposure in Cardiff City Academy next week,” added Dato’ Chan. “There is no doubt they will be enriched by a wonderful Welsh experience, but more importantly, they will be able to share this experience with their friends and family, and also know that they are a step nearer to realising their dreams.”
On hand to give the Felda players a motivational session during the Orientation Camp at the Agrobank Development Institute in Bangi yesterday was 1MCC Ambassador and the Malaysian National Coach, Datuk K. Rajagobal. The theme for the Camp is “DARI PUNCAK IMPIAN KE ANGKASA”.
“The 1MCC initiative is indeed a blessing for Malaysian football and as such, it is an opportunity for these players to make good use of the training stint in Cardiff City,” added Rajagobal. “You can only get better with such exposure trips and the players must be prepared to learn as much as they can.”
While these players make history by being the first batch bound for Cardiff City Academy under 1MCC, they will soon be followed by 36 players, boys and girls, from the current 1MCC-ASTRO-Kem Bola to Cardiff City in March, 2013.