The 13th Royal Selangor Club (RSC) Dato’ Chu Ah Nge International Junior Soccer tournament to be held at the Royal Selangor Club Sports Annexe in Bukit Kiara on Dec 2 and 3  is expected to be a grander “football festival”.

The tournament which began as a humble ‘in-house’ football carnival for the club’s Junior Soccer Development Programme (JSDP) comprising eight teams in 2005, over the years has grown to become an international tournament and rated among the best in the region.

For this year’s tournament a total of 80 teams and 1000 players between the ages of 6 and 16, from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China will be competing for honours in the Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16, categories.

The Dato’ Chu Ah Nge Challenge Trophy will be presented to the team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the tournament, where teams collect points for their finishing in each age-group category.

The rules for the tournament  for this grassroots tournament requires participating teams, clubs and soccer academies to compete in all age group levels. 

The aim of the tournament is two-fold – the first objective is to create a platform for players in each age group to test their skills and gauge their development against other local and international players of similar ages, while the second is for coaches and academies to develop their skills in coaching children across a number of age groups and skills levels.

The tournament is organised by the JSDP under the auspices of the RSC Soccer Section.  The programme was launched in March 2002 and currently has an estimated 200 children. Training sessions are held on weekends to guide, groom and train the children from the ages of 6 to 16, with the aim of developing them to become better soccer players and contribute towards the development of soccer in Malaysia.

The JSDP not only concentrates on developing junior soccer but also encourages parents to take an active role in the management of the programme, recognising that for a junior development programme to be successful, it must have the active and wholehearted participation of parents.

The JSDP programme has earned accolades from Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) as one of the best development programmes in the country. The programme is managed by technical director V. Kalimutu, an ex-Malaysian international and is supported by seven FAM certified coaches, many of whom are also ex-national players with vast coaching experience.

“Each year, we have seen a marked increase in the quality of talent the tournament attracts; which in turn raises the bar of performance, and encourages teams and players to push further, and try harder,” said organising chairman Patrick Siva.

“The JSDP is a passionate programme because it is a programme managed on voluntary basis by the members of the Soccer section, the JSDP committee who comprise many parents whose children are in the JSDP and the organising committee,” said RSC president Eapen Thomas.

“The RSC since its inception 133 years ago, has established itself as one of Asia’s oldest sporting clubs, to become a home to many sportsmen and women. It started off with billiards and cricket, but today members engage in nine outdoor sports – cricket, golf, hash, hockey, motor sports, rugby, football, swimming and tennis – and in nine indoor sports – badminton, billiards, bridge, chess, dance sport, darts, martial arts, squash and Yuang Qi Gong,” added RSC sports chairman, Jimi Low.

Many new soccer talents have been showcased over the last twelve editions of the tournament – inspiring more young children to pursue an interest in what has justifiably been called the world’s most beautiful game.

The Press Conference on Wednesday to announce the tournament for this year was even more meaningful with the support ex-internationals, whose presence certainly was inspirational to the young RSC players.

Several ex-internationals and coaches of the JSDP even played a friendly game against the junior players after the Press Conference.

Among the ex-internationals and state players present were Datuk N. Thanabalan, Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk Khadir Buyong, Datuk Chen Wooi Hwa, Datuk Yap Nym Keong, Lim Chuan Chin, S. Somasundram, S. Balachandran, Kamarulzaman Yusof, Reman Ragunathan, Thomas Samuel and Teoh Yit Huet.

These icons and a few more are expected to make their presence during the two-day tournament on Dec 2 and 3 and everything points to another successful football carnival held in an air of festivity, fun and frolic in the background of some entertaining football displayed by the young and talented.

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