KUALA LUMPUR: Suparimau League, a grassroots football league for young people aged 5 to 17, aims to increase the participation of children nationwide in order to develop their full potential.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has sanctioned the program and its co-sponsors Maxim Event and Boost Juice have enabled a more comprehensive football talent identification initiative to take place.
Maxim Event chairman William Kucia said the aims were to increase opportunities for children to participate in sports and to use football as a mechanism to encourage happy and healthy lifestyles and empower children to speak.
“There were very few platforms for the kids to play football because they usually trained a lot and then played a tournament once every three months, but that would be it. What we’re trying to do is is to reproduce Australian and Japanese models, where children play football every weekend.
“Children can participate in training during the week or at least one day at the weekend.
“Then they can put that learning into a practice game and play in other games at the weekend. That’s how they can improve.”
He said it all depends on how many games they play and how many training sessions they attend.
“If you look at how people learn, they say it takes 1,000 hours to master a skill. We want to be able to give kids as many hours and as many minutes as possible to play in games.
One of the goals of this project, he said, is to identify talent through the number of tournaments children attend, where they have played and score. The collected data will be forwarded to FAM for review.
“As we have only just started, we have not yet seen the fruits of this initiative. At the same time, the focus is on building a squad of players and getting more kids to play football. The bigger our pool, the stronger we will be.
He said the groups for the tournaments are established by age.
“But when we have more than a certain number of teams and age groups, we divide them according to ability and levels of development. We don’t want a game where one team keeps winning because nobody wins. The winning team wins nothing because it’s too easy.
“What we want to do is get the teams to play at the same level of ability. So the games are very close. That’s how they get the best learning experience,” he said , adding that this is not always possible, but that they do their best.
Kucia said the Season A tournament started in January in Klang Valley and became a huge success with the inclusion of Selangor, Klang, Putrajaya, Johor and Penang.
He said while people were returning to football they were still cautious about crowds because of Covid-19.
Going into Season B, the league continues to build on its success and will add Malacca, Pahang, Kedah and Sabah in May and June, he added.
“Every kid who aspires to be a footballer should give it a try. Don’t be afraid to fail, get up and try again. Keep going and keep training and just keep trying your best.
“We will try to create a positive learning environment where children can express themselves, have fun and encourage good habits. Winning is not everything,” he said.