Coach Guna’s legacy: Grassroots coaches’ role in shaping young minds, characters

On July 5, former Flames FC honorary secretary Thomas Samuel wrote a heartfelt tribute, dedicated to football coach S. Gunasegaran.

Samuel said Gunasegaran, who coached Flames FC, had played an instrumental role in shaping the lives of many children from Sentul, Kuala Lumpur.

Better known as Coach Guna, he passed away in May. He was 65.

He had been bedridden for a year following an accident.

Samuel’s piece reminded Twentywo13 editor Haresh Deol of how the contributions of grassroots coaches in the holistic development of an individual are often forgotten.

Haresh, in his latest column in news website Getaran, said not all young footballers will grow up to be Luqman Hakim Shamsudin, Brendan Gan, or J. Partiban.

“But the role played by a grassroots coach, whether at an academy or in schools, is extremely significant, especially in shaping the character of a child,” wrote Haresh.

“Through sports, coaches inject fundamental values and characteristics like discipline, teamwork and self-confidence.”

He added the success of these coaches can be measured, not only by what happens on the field, but also when their former players succeed in life.

“Our young coaches should continue Gunasegaran’s burning desire to help others.”

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