KUCHING: In a night of fun and excitement, the visiting Beijingbased Jin Jiu football club of China provided the thrills to run out winners over a selection side from SSC (Sarawak Sports Corporation) 6-3 in a match of three halves.
The SSC Sarawak side with several VIPs led by Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan and also included the very capable and agile Minister of Works and MP for Petra Jaya representative, Datuk Fadillah Yusof in goal, played the first half of 30 minutes. Other members of the VIP team consist of the youthful Tupong Assemblyman, Fazruddin Abdul Rahman who played as striker, SSC CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee who also played upfront, former permanent secretary in charge of sports and now permanent secretary to the Minister of international Trade and eCommerce (MITeC) Kameri Haji Affandi, ex-State players followed by a team selection of ex-State players in the twin brothers Ramles and Ramos Sari and former Kuala Lumpur player and Sarawak coach Ahmad Fairuz.
The second half make up of ex- State like Safri Amit, ex-State players like former Ngap Sayot striker Pengiran Bala, former national striker Bobby Pian, Buseman Ismail and members from the local media. The third half was played by SSC players with the Sari brothers returning to play to give balance and skills to a team while the China selection side played with almost the same players except for a few officials throughout the three halves.
The match which was held on Friday night was officially kicked off by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah. The first half started cautiously with the Jin Jiu side just playing within their own half, passing around to get a feel of the match as the SSC went for an early offensive, earning a penalty which was not converted with the youthful looking Fazruddin making amends with an early goal to give SSC side the lead.
The visitors, led by some exnational players and veteran players but the majority a very youth side with good physical attributes, then woke up and almost camped at the Sarawak goal looking for the equaliser.
Led by their attacks down the flanks, they tested the goalkeeper Datuk Fadillah, who must have been a goalkeeper in his early days, pulled off at least two good saves to delay the onslaught before Jin Jiu’s number 4 equalised through a stiff shot down the middle.
In the second half, the Jin Jiu FC side grew in strength as they raced to an early goal to give his side 2-1 while they also missed a freekick and several chances in front of an open goal.
There was no let-off by the China side as they slotted in three goals to make it 4-1 but Sarawak side led by Bobby Pian tried to stem the tide and managed to pull one back to end up 2-4 in the second game. In the f inal game, coach Mohamad Mantali decided to put in Ramles and Ramos who, in their 50s, still retained their flashes of skills and fine touches to add to the understrength SSC side who were tiring fast.
Ramles can still find in his reserves to score one final goal for his side but the youthful Jin Jiu side who controlled the match and showed their class with their tacking play outscored their hosts with a 6-3 win. The visiting team from Beijing, which consist of 29 players and accompanied by their family members, are on a short visit to the State to promote sports tourism between China and Sarawak. The club which consist of 50 players of both youth and veteran players are here for a week visit.