Jun 12, 2013


Juan Mata has set his sights on lifting the Barclays Premier League trophy in the 2013/14 season.
The playmaker, who has been voted Player of the Year in each of his two seasons at Chelsea, has already sampled continental success with both the Champions League and Europa League trophies, but is yet to win a domestic league title. He is hoping Jose Mourinho will be able to lead the side to that success on his return to Stamford Bridge.
Mata identifies a strong start to the season, following our pre-season trips to Asia and America, as the key. Last season we began well but quickly faded from the title race, but he is determined to keep the pace with a more experienced squad this time around.
‘Winning the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League was great, but I really want to win the Premier League title next season,’ said the Spaniard. ‘If we start well I think we can do it. We have a great squad and fantastic supporters behind us, so hopefully we can do it. ‘

‘For me it would be amazing to win four trophies in three seasons. It would be a very special feeling to win the Premier League title and I’m looking forward to hopefully doing so.’
‘I think we have the squad – we have enough class to do it.’
Before then, Mata competes with Spain in the Confederations Cup, travelling to Brazil after a two-game stay in America.
‘This is a special tournament for me, since I had the chance to participate back in 2009, in my first competition with the senior team,’ he said.
‘I was lucky enough to play in our first Confederations Cup in South Africa, and it’s important because you gain experience of the country where the World Cup will be played, you get a feel for the place and the atmosphere.
‘It’s also the only trophy missing for us and I think with our manager, the group of players and our winning mentality, we have a good chance of making it the perfect summer.’
‘It would be amazing for this group of players. We’ve won two Euros, the World Cup and winning the Confederations Cup would be the full circle.’
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Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB), and Indera Sports Club Futsal took cautious steps as they prepare for the Red Bull Futsal Tri-Nations Cup 2013 which begins in Kuala Terengganu on Friday.

As the countdown to the second edition of the Red Bull Futsal Tri-Nations Cup gets underway with ground staff working round-the-clock at the Kuala Terengganu Indoor Stadium, the mood in both the Brunei teams is that of jovial.

“Except for Indera SC Futsal, the other team from Brunei, we have no knowledge of the strength of the four other opponents.  I guess we will know once the tournament gets started,” said MS ABDB team manager Capt (Air Force) Awangku Muhammad Mufid on arrival yesterday.

“Right now we are just groping in the dark. But I guess they (opponents) are equally interested in knowing more about us. Our spirit is high and we look forward to playing here,” he said, adding that their first training session later in the evening will also give them feel of the atmosphere’ in the stadium.

Malaysia will be represented by M.A.C. FC, from Shah Alam, and Terengganu-based Gelombang FC. The other two teams are Mountbatten FC ‘A’ and ‘B’ from Singapore. The draw for the tournament places Indera SC Futsal, Mountbatten FC ‘B’ and M.A.C. FC in Group A while Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Gelombang FC and Mountbatten FC ‘A’ are drawn in Group B.

The champions of the Red Bull Futsal Tri-Nations Cup 2013 will receive RM20, 000 and the runners-up RM10, 000. The third and fourth-placed teams will pocket RM5, 000 and RM2, 000 respectively.
Red Bull Malaysia’s Executive Director, Jyn Wee, said with just before the start of the tournament, the excitement among fans in Kuala Terengganu is ‘building up’.
“Entrance is free as we want futsal fans to enjoy the weekend by watching six of the best teams in action. It is a not always that we get such opportunities and I hope the fans will make full use of this moment,” added Jyn.
Indera SC Futsal manager Aminuddin Nasuha, however, echoed that it would be unfair to single out any one team as the early favourites though Gelombang FC may have the home ground advantage with support from their fans.

“It’s an open game for all six teams. We have been looking towards the Red Bull Futsal Tri-Nations Cup 2013 for the last six months and only competed in several domestic tournaments on a small scale,” said Aminuddin, adding that seven of Indera SC Futsal players were recently called up for national team centralized training.

“But all seven players are here with us today. So I am happy with the progress of the team. All the players are in high spirit and confidence is important when we take to the court,” he added.  The team captain is Mohammed Ulfi, who will join the squad on Thursday after completing his college exams.

For the record, Indera SC Futsal emerged champions in the Red Bull NFABD Futsal Champions League 2012 by defeating Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council team in the final.

Fixtures – Friday (June 14): Indera SC v Mountbatten FC ‘B’ (9.30am); MS ABDB v Mountbatten FC ‘A’ (3pm); M.A.C. FC (Malaysia) v Mountbatten FC ‘B’ (6.30pm); Gelombang FC (Malaysia) v Mountbatten FC ‘A (8.30pm).

Saturday – June 15: M.A.C. FC (Malaysia) v Indera SC (10am); Gelombang FC v MS ABDB (12 noon); Third-Fourth placing (6.00pm); Final (8.30pm).

Jun 8, 2013

Hello Malaysia! Does it hurt to ask Windsor?

While Football fans continue to attack the FA of Malaysia (FAM) over so many issues, ranging from stadium management, calling for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) as requested by Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa to issues of bookies rigging into the Malaysian League, it all seems that nothing is going right for the national football governing body.

However, despite all the sad episodes that have engulfed the local scene; there is still that one piece of good news coming out of the incinerator - one man continues to keep the Malaysian flag flying high at the world stage. He is Windsor John Paul.

Windsor is once again appointed by FIFA to ensure that the FIFA Confederations Cup is managed and organised well in Brazil. The Confederation Cup kicks off on June 15-30 with participation by Brazil, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, Nigeria and Tahiti.

The Malaysian has done the nation proud; once again, as he has been tasked to perform a certain job in every World Cup, Confederation Cup and Olympics since France hosted the 1998 World Cup.

Even Spanish manager Del Bosque reacted with amazement when he posed Windsor this question: “Are you from Portugal?..Paul’s instant reply was: “No, I am from Malaysia.” Bosque was in disbelief, perhaps even wondering just where is Malaysian Football on the world map!

I was privileged enough to work with this man whilst I was in FAM, and the football education that I have been exposed to is partly due to Windsor, and his mentor, Dato’ Seri Paul Mony Samuel.

Windsor  serves as the AFC Executive Director now, and his experience and knowledge is still very much sought after by FIFA. Just two months ago he was in Brazil to submit a report to FIFA on the progress of the six venues under his care.

A monumental task indeed but it’s all within Paul’s ability to see it through. The six stadiums under his supervision are Maracana Stadium (Rio De Janeiro),   Castelao Stadium (Fortaleza), Mineiro Stadium (Belo Horizonte), Nacional de Brasilia Stadium (Brasilia), Pernambuco Arena (Recife) and Fonte Nova Arena (Salvador).

The question that everyone begs an answer now is shouldn’t FAM, or even the government, particularly Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, seek Windsor's expertise and opinion on the status of football in the country. He may just have the right answers to all the problems that have plagued FAM.

While FIFA recognises his ability, I believe Malaysians should be humble enough to approach him for advice. Having known Windsor for a long time, he is quite a down to earth person who is ever willing to share his knowledge to those who seek his help. The grapevines have it that there are several ‘experts’ who believe that the Malaysian League should be privatised, just as our highways, for better revenue. I am dumbfounded by this suggestion as I wonder do they really know what they are talking about.

As to Windsor, we wish you all the best. Though it will remain a dream for Malaysia to qualify for the World Cup, I am confident you will always keep the Malaysian flag flying high!.