Our players can learn from international counterparts – Coach

Japan teams going against each other in the knock out round yesterday.

MIRI: Sarawak Sepaktakraw Association’s (PSS) decision to engage the service of three import players from Thailand for the International Invitation Chief Minister of Sarawak Sepaktakraw Challenge Trophy here is to boost motivation of local players and also to study their game and skills.

According to PSS coach Sharkawi Taibi, PSS has three teams (PSS A,B and C) competing in the tournament and the three imports were selected by coach Sura Matawangsaeng, who is the state Sukma team coach.

“No doubt the international players are good in term of skills and techniques and our players can learn a lot from them,” Sharkawi said.

“Each player have different skills because sepak takraw is like an art and when the skills are combined, it will give an interesting game and these techniques are important for our players to learn,” he added.

The three-day tournament, which started on Aug 3, saw 24 teams including teams from Japan, India, Brunei and Thailand vying for the challenge trophy at Miri Stadium.

In the second round yesterday, Japan A and Japan B stole the limelight when they went against each other, the fixture that they were trying to avoid.

“Japan A were the second runner up and Japan B was the winner for the first round so we had to go against each other today (yesterday) but the performance was good as they know each other’s tactics,” said Japan team manager and coach Masaru Misawa.

“Some of our players are already in the national team and some are university students, and most of them have played in the Asian games and the King’s Cup in Thailand, so they have the experience,” he said.

Commenting on sepak takraw scene in Japan, Masaru, who is the vice president of Asian Sepaktakraw Federation (Astaf),  said that there are about 2,000 sepak takraw players in Japan and most of them started learning about the sport while studying in university.

Masaru said he saw the sepak takraw game for the first time while studying at University of Malaya (UM) about 25 years ago and now the sport is getting bigger in Japan with more than 50 teams competing in national tournaments.

“Sepak takraw is not easy and most of our players start with football first. I wish sepak takraw can be taught from the junior level just like in Malaysia,” said Masaru.

The semi-finals will be held this morning while final in the afternoon.

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