Veterans still blooming

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NOT a week goes by without a friendly veterans’ football match played over the weekend or public holidays, and there are at least two to three veteran’s tournaments organised around the country every month.

N. Thashnamoorthy, 46, revealed this is due to Malaysian Football Veterans (MFV) that hae 75 teams as members!

Thashnamoorthy is still in the process of getting all veteran clubs across the country to register, which could easily run to more than 100.

“Presently we have 75 clubs,” said Thashnamoorthy who initiated the association.

“We hope to register the club with either the Registrar of Societies or the Sports Commissioner’s office soon.

“It started with my involvement with the Rawang Indians FC (RIFC), and we wanted to set up a database for friendly matches and to invite teams for tournaments.

“It was then I decided to form MFC and we had our first meeting to form the association in January 2015. We started with five teams,” said the former Selangor Razak Cup, Malaysia Games and President’s Cup player (1987-90).

Thashnamoorthy said football in Rawang has a strong following.

“RIFC also conductscoaching clinics and have a development programme for youngsters.

MFV vice-president Sashi Dharan, a former Selangor player in 1992, said they are working hard to come up with a constitution to outline their goals, besides just playing friendlies and organising tournaments.

“We plan to do development work through these clubs in various states, organising coaching clinics and basic coaching courses through FA of Malaysia (FAM) or state FAs, so we can have qualified coaches.

“We also plan to have a national league. Since the number is big and spread throughout the country, we are planning to have zonal tournaments — North, South, Central and East Coast, before the top teams from each zone play in the Grand Finals.”

Another football enthusiast, K Senthil Vaasan, a 47-year-old lawyer, has started the Masters Football League (MFL).

Senthil, who used to play with Redface FC in the “Social League” in the Klang Valley, which is for players above 30, decided to set up MFL to cater for older players.

The league started in 2014.

There are 18 teams that re divided into two groups — the Blue group (competitive) and Red Group (fun league), with matches played every fortnight from February to November, with a break during fasting month.

“I am not aware of MFV, and I am not surprised there are so many veteran teams in the country. In the Klang Valley we have 18 teams playing in MFL,” said Senthil.

MFL is run by Senthil and his friends, but the teams organise matches based on fixtures released. A registration fee of RM900 is collected, of which RM250 is used for administration and RM350 for prizes, while RM300 is a deposit returned when the teams complete the season.

Many established clubs like Royal Selangor Club, Club Aman, UKRC, Penang Sports Club, Ipoh Club, Royal Sungei Ujong Club and International Football Club, just to name a few, have their own veteran teams and organise their own tournaments and friendlies.

Veteran football is huge in Malaysia and it only underlines how popular the game is despite Malaysia’s poor standing in the international arena.