BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although Malaysia's National Football Development Programme (NFDP) reached the final cup matches in all three age categories of the 2017 Supermokh Cup, none of them were able to finish the tournament as champions.
The AMD Cougars teams reached the cup finals of the U12, U13 and U14 categories of the competition, which was organised by NFDP, with all three matches held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Sunday.
Tahniah kepada semua pemenang Piala SuperMokh! Menteri Belia dan Sukan, YB @Khairykj dan juga Ketua Setiausaha KBS, Dato' Lokman Hakim Ali menyampaikan pingat dan piala kepada para pemenang.#NFDP #SuperMokhCup #SMC2017 pic.twitter.com/MqJNrBTsWR— KBS (@KBSMalaysia) December 17, 2017
However, NFDP's Panthers teams, all three of which reached the plate finals, won the matches to emerge fifth best overall in their respective age categories.
Panthers U12 defeated Football Federation of South Australia 2-1, while their U13 seniors beat Urawa Red Diamonds 5-4 on penalties, after the fulltime had ended tied on 2-2. The U14 side overcame Qatar's Aspire Academy with a 3-1 scoreline.
Despite the fact that Malaysia's best young footballers failed to win a single cup at the tournament, Malaysia's Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin, whose ministry runs NFDP, sees only positives in the development programme and the competition's future.
"The gap between our players and youth footballers of the renowned clubs are not too big. This is a good development, because we now have the three age categories, on top of the previous batch under Lim Teong Kim, to make it four generations in total. So we are now well-prepared in producing young footballers.
"The Supermokh Cup too has grown in stature among the top clubs all over the world. They would not have come otherwise, and it isn't easy to get the likes of Arsenal and Sporting to come to Malaysia. It is my hope that the tournament will become one of the most awaited youth tournaments among the world's biggest clubs," said the politician to the press, after he presented the winners medals at the tournament's conclusion.
Although @nfdpmalaysia teams did not win in any age categories of the recently-concluded #SuperMokhCup2017, Malaysia's Minister of Youth and Sports @Khairykj sees a bright future for the youth tournament pic.twitter.com/uTvvu19LXV— Goal Malaysia (@Goal_MY) December 18, 2017