To all Beckham wannabes, there is football training organised by the Ipoh Fridays Club every Sunday from 4pm to 6pm at the Ipoh Padang.
The club was champion in the recent U-19 Piala 1Malaysia Grand Finals. Its list of achievements includes being the champion of U-12 Perak Football Tournament in 2012, champion of U-12 Invitation Football Tournament Batu Gajah 2012, runner up of U-20 Malaysian Indian Football Association 2013 and third in the U-16 Malaysian Indian Football Association 2014.
Ipoh Echo spoke with the humble yet passionate 47-year-old President and co-founder of the club, Steven Raj Kolandaisamy (the other founder is former state player, Vikneswaran).
Ipoh Echo: How do you come up with the name of the club? Why “Fridays”?
Steven: All coaches and myself are football players. After our football peak season, we went into badminton. Our badminton games and friendly tournaments were on Fridays, so we named ourselves “Fridays”. We registered the club with the Registrar of Societies in 2007. We started this academy in 2008. That’s the story behind the name.
Ipoh Echo: What are the club’s objectives?
Steven: To impart knowledge of basic football to the youngsters and to fill their spare time productively, as nowadays they are too attached to gadgets! We want to give them the opportunity of playing in a secure environment besides producing players who are capable of representing their schools, clubs, state and even country!
Ipoh Echo: How do you get coaches?
Steven: It is voluntary, as all of us are friends. Later on, we provide them with allowances. Currently, we have 12 coaches.
Ipoh Echo: Are you a coach yourself? What do you enjoy the most about coaching?
Steven: Yes, all of us have coaching certificates. I enjoy watching small kids playing and winning competitions in their jerseys. And the pride I feel every time they greet us as “coach” outside the field.
Ipoh Echo: What is the football scene like in Ipoh? Do you think we have the potential here?
Steven: It is growing. During my time in the 90s, it was dead. Nowadays, there are people organising football competitions and tournaments.
Ipoh Echo: What are your hopes for the future?
Steven: I hope that there would be more academies like this in every district in Perak to scout for potential players. We then can have inter-district competitions. We hope for more allocations from the state and recognition from the public. I’m happy I can do this for the community. Even if the boys cannot become good footballers, I hope they will become good and a disciplined citizens.
Ipoh Echo: Can you share any lessons we learn from football that we can later apply in life?
Steven: Respect, commitment, teamwork and most importantly, self-discipline.
One of the young players, Devendran who has been playing soccer since the age of 7, dreams of becoming a state or a professional player. He proudly declared, “I want to become like David Beckham.”
Sivakumar, one of the coaches, has 25 years of experience. Regarding the win at the U-19 Piala 1Malaysia Grand Finals, the 40-year-old coach told Ipoh Echo, “We gave motivational talks to the players before the game. Teamwork played an important role. When we won the trophy, we’re very proud.”
In the upcoming school holidays (Sunday, May 31), the club is organising a football carnival in which the Goldhill Football Club from Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh Bug will be participating.
The club focuses on youths of age 7 and above who are interested in football. The registration fee of RM200 is inclusive of attire, equipment and insurance. The monthly subscription is RM20.
Those keen on joining can contact Steven: 012 551 3517 or visit the club’s website at www.ipohfridays.blogspot.com or come to Ipoh Padang during training sessions on Sundays.