Malaysia ready to defend their 5-aside football title in Para Games

Follow by Email

With the ticket to the World Cup on offer Malaysia are all fired up to defend their 5-aside football title in the 9th Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Only four nations – Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam are competing in the biennila games from Sept 17-23 – just two weeks after Malaysia hosted the 29th SEA Games and walked away with the overall title with 145 golds.

Head coach M. Shalesh reckons the Malaysian 5-a-side footballers are prepared to defend their title but warned his charges to wary of minnows Laos and Vietnam although Thailand remain the main threat.

The round-robin tournament will be played at the Bukit Jalil Hockey tournament with the final slotted to be held on Sept 22.

“We’re in our last phase of training where we are familiarising ourselves with the Games venue,” said Shalesh, adding that the team also trains at the Universiti Putra Malaysia grounds in Serdang.

“Our players are on high spirits although we have three players on the crock list. But I do feel that we can overcome that problem as we want to defend our title won in 2015 in Singapore.”

Putting Thailand aside, Shalesh drove home this message. 

“Nations like Laos and Vietnam cannot be written off. We cannot take them lightly. These two countries are on the rise and they have picked up the sport really quickly.

“We have to be cautious and not underestimate them as each nation have their own style and practices. Meeting Thailand often, we are familiar with each other’s game play…but I believe we are tactically prepared and ready for the Games,” added Shalesh.

Malaysia are also using the Para Games as a warm-up towards the Asian Football 5-aside Championships at the same venue in December with the top three teams in the Asian meet qualifying for the World Cup in Madrid, Spain.

The Malaysian team is made up of four blind players and one sighted goalkeeper played in a 40 by 20 pitch. 

“Blind football is all about communication and total silence is the key. So only when the ball is out of play or scored, the fans will be able to cheer. We welcome everyone to come and witness the game as it is unique.

“The ball itself has some metal bearings inside for the athletes to detect its location while the coaches will be in the field to direct them. Behind the goal post we have a goal guide to tell them where to shoot. The wonderful part is that the blind players are able to dribble their way and score against sighted goalkeepers.

“I’m very thankful of MSN (National Sports Council), who have given us a one year contract, and external sponsors for supporting us with equipment and a training ground. I believe the team is very well prepared,” said Shalesh, who called on Malaysian supporters to make their way to the venue to lend morale support in the stands. – BY ALVIN OH

Please follow and like us: