The long-running Ulu Klang Recreation Club (UKRC) International Soccer 9s is more than a football tournament.
It is an event which enables old friends to meet, spend time and create even more memories.
“Everyone here is part of a community. Some are as close to us as our family members,” said UKRC president Andrew Gopal.
“They have stood by us through thick and thin in our fight to regain our field at our clubhouse (in Kuala Ampang).
“This tournament is a form of fellowship which everyone looks forward to.”
Andrew had to turn down many requests to play as the organiser could only accommodate 12 teams.
“Hopefully, we can soon host the tournament at our home ground.”
This year’s tournament was held at the Setiawangsa Sports Complex.
UKRC has been battling with the Selangor government after the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council took control of the club’s field in 2013.
The field has been poorly maintained since the local council took over.
F&N regional event and sponsorship manager Muhammad Fauzi Ahmad and Destar Nurani director Tan Wai Cheong, who were on hand to give away the prizes on Sunday, echoed Andrew’s sentiments.
“We have been sponsoring this tournament for over a decade. I don’t see UKRC as a client but as a partner,” said Fauzi.
“We appreciate their efforts in fostering unity through sports.”
Tan, who is also a UKRC member, added: “We will continue sponsoring this event as we are one big family.
“Football unites us and there are teams from Thailand, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia coming here due to UKRC’s hospitality.
“We play hard but we also know how to party. We celebrate as A family.”
Six foreign teams – Gold Coast Koalas, Brisbane Lions and The Pirates (Australia), Indonesia’s Bintang Timur, Thailand’s ZeeNior and Football Referees Association of Singapore – battled against local clubs Kixx-Sabah Old Boys, Penampang Old Boys (Sabah), Harimau Mega (Johor), Penang Sports Club, Beluga FC and HTC (Kuala Lumpur) for the trophy.
HTC Kuala Lumpur retained the title after beating Bintang Timur 4-3 on penalties when the final ended 0-0 after extratime.
2018: HTC Kuala Lumpur
2017: HTC Kuala Lumpur
2016: Kwarta, Medan, Indonesia
2015: Kwarta, Medan, Indonesia
2014: Kwarta, Medan, Indonesia
2013: – No tournament –
2012: – No tournament –
2011: Pertamina Albatross
2010: Kurnia, Medan Indonesia
2009: Royal Selangor Club
2008: Kurnia Kwarta, Indonesia
2007: Royal Selangor Club
2006: Royal Selangor Club
2005: Gardens, Singapore
2004: Bharat, Singapore
2003: Jollylads, Singapore
2002: Kulim Club
2001: Ipoh City Council