KUCHING (March 9): Fifteen touch football players from Sarawak have been called up by the Malaysia Touch Association (MTA) to don the national colours in preparation for the ‘Road to Touch World Cup’ to be held in England.
According to Sarawak Touch Association (STA) president Hafisz Rachman Drahman, six will be in the Men’s 40 squad, five in Men’s 30 squad and four in the Men’s Open squad.
“Congratulations to all those who have been selected for national duty. The selections were based on their performance at the National Touch League (NTL) 2022 at Taman Equestrian Putrajaya from Dec 3 to 4 last year and through several circuits and sessions organised by MTA across the country early this year,” said Hafisz who is among those selected to the Men’s 40 squad.
Sarawak fielded two teams – Men’s 40 and Men’s Open — in last year’s NTL when they finished in sixth and seventh positions respectively.
“I am proud and we feel honoured to be able to represent Malaysia at this level. The players are indeed Sarawak’s gems and pride.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank MTA for selecting and opportunity to Sarawak players to be at this level,” he added.
Hafisz noted that the players were selected on merit and are now presented with the opportunity to gain international exposure at the highest level.
“It shows that Anak Sarawak are also capable and competitive at this level with other states. This is good sign of development of touch football in Sarawak,” he said.
The selected players from Sarawak are Hafisz, Nathan Seniu, Mikelson Jagger Johnny, Valentine Gabriel Bain, Oliver Jenai, Faris Metin Abdullah (Men’s 40), Mohd Hazrul Mohd Faizal Thian, Nick Dexter Jeffry, Mohd Adha Mohamed Zabidi, Mohamad Iskandar Hosen, Abang Nazeri Abang Ahmad (Men’s 30) and Muzammil Azfar Merzuki, Robert Tiong Chun Fu, Robbie Stephen and Anthony Lawai (Men’s Open).
The national squad will undergo a series of international friendly matches, international test matches and compete in the Asian Touch Cup in Sept 22 to 24 in Putrajaya before gearing up for the World Cup next year.
STA is now awaiting further instructions and the training schedule from MTA.
While acknowledging that ‘a lot of things’ still need to be done, Hafisz welcomed the latest good news as an indication that the development of touch football in Sarawak is on the right track.
STA is the state governing body with Kuching Touch Association (KTA) and Miri Touch Association (MYTA) as divisional entities. Registration of the Sibu Touch Association is awaiting approval by the Sports Commission Sarawak. There are also two Kuching-based clubs namely Baycats Touch Club and EL-Melati Touch Club.