It was a bright Sunday morning. The reporters arrived on scene around 8.15am. Even then, there were already numerous teams piling in. The event officially commenced at 9am with a rules and regulations briefing given to all team managers by the Head of Referees. There were 64 teams contesting for the championship so the briefing venue was quite crowded. Faces of all different races could be seen, all present for one purpose, and one purpose only; to take home the medals and the rewards that came with.
The whole morning was occupied by 64 teams battling out over two 5 minute halves across 5 futsal courts. The 64 teams breezed through the entire morning. Each team had a chance to play a minimum of 3 games before they were either eliminated, or won enough to move on to the Round of 32. The morning progressed smoothly as each of the 5 futsal courts were manned efficiently by the ICS committees, and as a result, little to no delay occurred.
The Round of 32 started as early as 1.45pm, giving the winning teams just enough time to catch their breath, but not enough time to lose their form. The Round of 32 ended almost as quickly as it started, as it signified that now every loss to any team meant that they were out of the tournament.
It was at the Round of 16 where things started to heat up. Players could feel the pressure building up. As a result, the play started getting more aggressive. There were certainly near brawls that were avoided, thankfully; a testament to the professional unbiased shown by both the committee and the referees.
The Quarter Finals had the top 8 teams vying for their chance at glory. Emotions ran high and play got rough. As a result, one match had two players – one from each team – disqualified via red card. That’s what you get when you hook your arm on your opponent’s neck, apparently.
At the Semi-Finals, it became a contest of which team could keep their cool and play winning futsal. The losers amongst the final four would play the match for 3rd and 4th place, while the winners got their chance to win it all. The VIPs, Mr. Nadaraja ( Melaka MIC Youth Chief ), Mr. Kaliswaran ( Melaka MIC Deputy Youth Chief ), Mr. Selvaraja ( Melaka MIC Youth Secretary General ), and Mr Sivanathan ( Melaka Youth Squad Chairman ) arrived at this time.
Street Soccer FC and Combat (A) unfortunately chose to decide their fates by way of penalty kicks. Fatigue had gotten the best of them. Fortunately, the finalists, SS Five FC and Ally FC would continue to play on the deciding match. Mr Sivanathan officiated the finals match by ceremonially scoring a goal against the keeper for Ally FC.
The Finals was a nail biter. There was contact, hard contact on both sides. One player launched himself in mid-air and was caught with the opposing player, sending them both to the ground, hard. Players from both teams were shouting at the referees for what they thought were missed calls. The game was tied with only a minute to go. It was a beautiful in-bounds play that got SS Five FC on top. A pass from out of bounds was received perfectly by player 9 and kicked into the air. The ball cut through three defenders and found the bottom of the net. Within a minute the game was over and SS Five FC came through victorious, winning 2-1.
Prize giving ceremony. Tokens of appreciation were given. Award categories include best defender, best keeper and best player. Both Best Keeper and Player titles were awarded to SS Five FC while Best Defender went to Ally FC. It was a bittersweet moment, with the winner reveling in their victory and the losers wondering what went wrong. The point, however, was that everyone went home satisfied. The event was well organized and executed and teams had little to complain about.