Remain active with ‘footy’ — football for the new norm

Footy ensures social distancing during a game. Photo: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Football enthusiasts can now enjoy the game in a safe manner during the Covid-19 pandemic with a new style of gameplay known as ‘Footy’.

Introduced by Ken Barnes Football Malaysia, Footy was developed in recognition of the need for footballers to remain active and fit under the new norms while adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Ken Barnes Football Malaysia chief operating officer Subramaniam Palandaram said Footy was inspired during the Covid-19 pandemic, when youths were struggling in terms of playing sports, especially football.

“Therefore, we decided to invent a special football (game) without physical contact that will help our youths to play safely during the pandemic. The advantages of Footy are that it’s safe, (there is) no body contact, (and) extremely slim or no chance of getting the Covid-19 infection,” he told Bernama recently.

Subramaniam said he came up with the idea of creating Footy when he realised the pandemic had completely changed the sporting lifestyle with lots of restrictions, making it difficult to play or participate.

“With so many SOPs in place we felt the need to have a game that can be easily played within the rule of social distancing,” he said.

Subramaniam said Footy was created in Malaysia and is the first of its kind in the world, and it should be further promoted throughout the country to provide people an alternative platform to stay physically and mentally fit during this challenging time.

“We have not gone out of Malaysia yet, but we are looking forward to heading to the neighbouring countries once the travel restrictions are eased to promote this sport as a new norm,” he said.

In a Footy competition held at the Putrajaya District Police Headquarters (IPD) between the Putrajaya IPD and the Putrajaya Media Club, Harry Salzman Abu Bakar, who represented the Putrajaya Media Club said he was excited when he came to know about the sport.

“I never knew there was a type of ‘social distancing football’. It is very interesting because this sport is very suitable, especially under the new norm. This also allows the community to play sports without obstacles or the worry of contracting Covid-19. Traditional football has contact (among players) but in this (Footy) there is no physical contact and there is a distance between the players,” he said.

Subramaniam also expressed hope that the sport could be further promoted in the long term, it also reduces the risk of injury, besides being able to improve fitness as it involves many quick movements.

For Putrajaya Crime Prevention and Community Safety Division acting chief ASP Lenny Kandawar, 40, who represented Putrajaya IPD, the sport could especially be promoted during the Covid-19 pandemic as there was no physical contact involved.

She said the winning strategy for the game, which involved five teammates including the goalkeeper, was team spirit, the right tactics, and fighting spirit.

“The striker has to take advantage of every opportunity as he or she only has to face the goalkeeper after the ball gets past the two defenders. While the defenders have to shut down space for the opponents to send the ball to the striker,” she added. – Bernama