Faisal Cup 2019
"Large streams from little fountains flow
Tall oaks from little acorns grow."
D. Everett (1797)
The Faisal Cup is an acorn that is growing into a mighty oak - an annual five-a-side football tournament that brings communities together and puts smiles on the faces of almost 700 children aged between 6-18 years. The event is hosted by "The Dignity for Children Foundation" (DCF), a non-governmental organization that provides holistic care and education for urban poor children in Kuala Lumpur.
The Cup is dedicated to preserving the memory of a young DCF student named Faisal who drowned in 2006 while trying to retrieve an old football floating down the Gombak River. Faisal and his friends had walked home from DCF along the river kicking a ball back and forth. This old and tattered football was the only ball the boys owned, so when the ball rolled into the river, Faisal didn’t hesitate to jump to fetch it. At first, he splashed around, laughing and having fun until he lost his glasses and couldn’t see. Then he disappeared from sight. His friends heard a cry for help and at first, thought he was fooling around. Faisal was actually drowning. His friends tried in vain to rescue him from the swollen river but sadly, it was too late. Faisal never had an opportunity to play football in a safe and proper environment, being raised in a squatter area by parents who were unemployed and unable to afford a ball, let alone send him for training. Faisal gave up his life just for a chance to play with a RM20.00 ball.
The Faisal Cup was initiated to ensure that children from underprivileged backgrounds have an equal opportunity to play in a safe environment. It is to ensure that never again will a child lose their life over something that seems so small to us, but is so important to them. It is to build a better tomorrow through the restoration of peace, hope and dignity.
This year’s tournament will take place on Saturday, April 13 and 20, 2019 (8:00 am - 12:00 pm) at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL). This is the third year that ISKL has joined forces with DCF to co-host the event working in partnership with their teachers and administrators. It is particularly rewarding to see the legacy of the Faisal Cup live on in the hearts of those who have been involved; former DCF students who played in the Cup themselves are now playing a role in organizing the event. Legacy is an integral part of the learning process. DCF is continually assuming more and more responsibility for the logistics of organizing the event with end-goal of being able to share their learning and host tournaments at different venues across the wider Klang Valley. “Our goal is by 2020 to host tournaments nationally and empower more underprivileged children, especially the girls”, says Mr Liew Tong Ngan, Director of Communications & Marketing at the Dignity for Children Foundation.
ISKL’s Faisal Cup co-ordinator is Mr Charles Horton, parent of a child in Middle School who became involved with Faisal Cup because he believes “sport is an essential tool for building character”. Charles continues “The Faisal Cup is all about community spirit and each year the ISKL community works together with DCF to put on this amazing event. Our students help with all aspects of the tournament from raising money through to helping set up the fields. ISKL parent volunteers provide support with logistics and this year ISKL’s Girl Scouts coordinated donations for new or used cleats/football boots, shin guards and football socks for the players”.
DCF and ISKL encourage everyone to get involved and support this event either by donating football gear or coming to the tournament itself, “There will be plenty of smiling faces on the football fields and it would be great to have lots of smiling/enthusiastic supporters in the stands so please come along to cheer the teams on. Everyone is welcome so let’s make this a true community day” says Charles.
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