A TOTAL of 204 children between eight and 12-years-old grabbed the opportunity to build their football skills under the coaching of international footballers from the Fagiano Okayama football club.
The children gathered at the Batu Kawan Stadium as early as 7.30am this morning, yearning to learn some skills from the professional footballers.
Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said the Japan Fagiano Okayama Football Clinic 2019 (Penang) was beneficial to the development of football in the state and Malaysia.
“This is the first international football clinic in Penang. I would like to thank the organiser Fagiano Okayama football club and sponsors, especially Yakult, for making this sports clinic a success.
“I would also like to express my appreciation to the co-partners – Penang State Sports Council, Football Association of Penang (FAP) and Bintang Harapan Recreation Club – who have worked hard to ensure the success of this programme.
“A heartfelt thanks to the professional footballers from Fagiano Okayama football club who are here to share their experience and to coach our young talents.
“Holding steadfast to our belief ‘Sports for All’, we also hope to attract more people who have little to no knowledge or skills to engage in sports.
“We want them to be exposed and experience the joy of participating in sports,” he said in his speech today.
He also urged sports associations in Penang to be united.
Yakult (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director Hiroshi Hamada said the company was honoured to be one of the partners of the programme.
“A participant of the football clinic will be selected to take part in a one-week football training programme at Fagiano Okayama football club in Japan,” Hamada said.
The children were coached by Takahiro Nakamoto, Rui Okuyama, Oishikane Masayuki and Daiki Iwata.
Malaysia U-23 footballer Hadi Fayyadh, who also plays as a forward for the Japanese club, was seen sharing his experience with the children.
Also present were Sungai Bakap assemblyman Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah, who is also the FAP president; Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, Fagiano Okayama Sports Club representative Kentaro Mori, Penang State Sports Council representative Harry Chai and Bintang Harapan Recreation Club representative Albert Khaw.
Story and pix by Christopher Tan