On the morning of 25th May, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus hosted its first ever inter-varsity female futsal tournament. The indoor court of the Sports Complex was filled with players and spectators who waited patiently for the anticipated event to begin. Of the seven participating teams, two were UNMC’s very own. UNFC Alpha and UNFC Omega definitely had their work cut out for them in competing against top-notch teams sent from the five visiting universities: Monash University, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), German-Malaysian Institute (GMI), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Asia Pacific University (APU).
The tournament was held in league format (each team has to play every other team, and the winner is decided based on accumulation of points).
GMI kicked off the tournament with a strong start, with a comfortable 2-0 win over Monash. With their high passing accuracy and possession, they went on a 4-game winning streak that was broken by UPM in what was perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament. UPM’s offensive strategy enabled them to penetrate GMI’s defense and isolate their goalkeeper, allowing them to build a solid lead in the first half. The injury to GMI’s captain mid-game did not help, and UPM used this to their advantage as they confidently wiped the floor with a 6-0 win.
The UNFC Alphas played fairly well in each of their games, securing victories against both IIUM and GMI with 1-0 wins. However, one game in particular had the crowd on their feet. The nail-biting match between the UNFC Alphas and UPM lead to the escalation of heart rates all around the court. The Alphas were leading 1-0 when the whistle blew for half time, but UPM wasn’t about to give up. The second half was as intense as ever, and in the dying minutes of the game, UPM managed to equalize. The exhilarating match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The UNFC Omegas on the other hand, had a landmark game their match against APU, an experienced and rather physical team. The first half didn’t look so bright for the Omegas as APU climbed their way to a 3-0 lead. This was usually a conclusive pattern in their previous games. However, a well taken free-kick gave the Omegas their first goal of the tournament, which had the audience erupting in cheers. Despite the outcome of the match, the Omegas took their 4-1 loss with their heads held high, sporting smiles all around.
The tournament ended with the prize distribution ceremony. Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) finished on top and were awarded gold medals. Asia Pacific University (APU) finished second and were awarded silver, and German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) finished third.
UPM, winners of the tournament
Hakim, president of the Nottingham University Football Club, gave a satisfied response when asked about his thoughts on the event.
I think the event was a success considering that the main objectives of the tournament were to promote sports, healthy lifestyles and unity. This event served as a good platform for female athletes in university to participate in a competitive environment, while fostering close relationships to build a network among players of other university/college sports teams.
By Esther Liew
Photography credits- Hafidz Haziq Hamdan