The continuous rain during the two days of the 9th International Football Club (IFC) Football 9s 2017 held in Krabi, Thailand, last week, failed to dampen the spirits of the competing teams, as Kilat Veterans went to wrest the title beating Club SC Malacca in the final.
Despite the tournament having to revert to mandatory five penalty kicks to determine the winners from the semi-finals stage because the field at the Krabi Power Plant was deemed unplayable by match officials as it was water-logged, muddy and above all dangerous for play, the games were nail biting nevertheless.
The excitement in the penalty shoot-out was no less than in a match, as the order of penalty kicks in shootouts, known as the Abba sequence was used.
Instead of teams taking alternate penalties, the new system involved team ‘A’ taking the first kick, then team ‘B’ taking two, then team ‘A’ taking two. This system was used in the recent European Under-17 Championship tournaments.
Competition as in previous years, was intense as teams battled to finish among the top two in their groups to qualify for the winner’s pool quarter-finals knockout stage.
The third- and fourth-placed teams in their respective groups played in the Plate quarter-finals.
The tournament was organised by locally based veterans football club – International Football Club (IFC).
IFC is the only club in Malaysia who have a proud tradition of having brought their tournament to be hosted overseas in Asia.
This year, the club did not fail to remember and pay tribute to two members of their club – president, Steve Krupa, and goalkeeper Mark Toh, who had passed on earlier this year.
Besides paying tribute with a minute’s silence at the opening ceremony of the tournament and at the official dinner, IFC also put up banners bearing the pictures of the two deceased and had a tribute video presentation at the dinner.
Organising chairman, Kiranjit Singh said: “It was still a great tournament where everyone enjoyed themselves over the two days despite the rain playing havoc. IFC certainly achieved its main objective – friendship through football,” said Kiranjit.
In winning the tournament, Kilat have wrested the title for the second time, having won it in 2012.
The Datuk Webster (Douglas Webster – the first president of IFC) Trophy and medals were presented to Kilat and the top three teams in the winners pool and top two in the losers pool by Thailand Authority of Tourism Krabi director Apichai Aranyig.
IFC also did their social responsibilities with charity work when they managed to raise RM14,000 through a raffle draw and donations from participating teams which they handed to Krabi Special Education Center.