LaLiga Youth Tournament in Kuala Lumpur

LaLiga and Sambill Park launch “LaLiga Youth Tournament 2021”, it’s first ever youth football tournament in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur, March 19th 2021. LaLiga, the spanish football league, launched its first football tournament in Malaysia with the help of Sambill Park and with the endorsement of the Ministry of Education of Malaysia.

Young football participants will get the opportunity to take part in this tournament which is promoting a healthy and safe environment for their talents to nurture in response to the situation created by the pandemic. after registering, local academies and teams can participate in different age categories Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14.

The tournament will start in June 2021 and it will be featured by group stages and knockout stages frame. Each player participating in the tournament will receive a certificate of participation recognized by the Ministry of Education of Malaysia.

“Our goal is to promote football all over the world and bring LaLiga closer to the local fans. We’re pleased to carry out our first tournament after the pandemic that affected football all over the world and give a chance to the children to enjoy the beautiful game” commented Giorgio Pompili Rossi, LaLiga’s Delegate in Malaysia.

Moreover, LaLiga is carrying out an exhibition at Sunway Velocity Mall in Kuala Lumpur where the fans have a chance to take a photo of the prestigious LaLiga Trophy.

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Real Madrid striker Benzema joins the topscorer’s race

Karim is a player who was born to leave an indelible mark in the history of football based on goals and a magnificent performance on the green. ‘Monsieur’ Benzema is being one of the best players of the season 2020/21 at Real Madrid and LaLiga Santander 

The French Real Madrid striker was born to score… and to do it even twice. That’s what happened on the last Matchday 27 against Elche CF, when he signed a magnificent brace to lead the comeback of the White Team and put the final 2-1 on the scoreboard. He makes a total of 15 goals in this 2020/21 season. 

Dani Calvo took the lead for Elche CF with a goal in the 61st minute, but in the 73rd minute, Karim drew up on the scoreboard and executed a perfect header to finish off a measured cross by Luka Modric that Edgar Badia could not stop. It would not be until the 91st minute when the Frenchman again, after a perfect return from Rodrygo, found a tremendous cross shot, directly to the right post and unstoppable for the Elche CF goalkeeper. Hats off for the striker! 

The ‘9’ of the White Team thus placed third in the race to become the top scorer in LaLiga Santander -the popular ‘Pichichi’ trophy-, tied on goals with Gerard Moreno and En-Nesyri. And only surpassed by Messi (21 goals) and Luis Suárez (18) in first and second position, respectively. 

Benzema’s statistics in 2020/21 

Goals and assists. In addition to being the undisputed leader in goals of the Merengue team, the striker was not only born to score, but to generate chances, so the rest of his teammates can do so. He is the second best assists provider for Real Madrid, with five assists, only surpassed by Toni Kroos with six. 

The Lyon player is the forward with capital letters and with his quality and exquisite style of play, he has become over the years one of the indispensable players for Zinedine Zidane. Habitual in the lineups of every game, Karim Benzema has played a total of 2,033 minutes and has started in the 23 games he has played this season. His physical potential has allowed him to win 70 duels, 17 of them aerial and he has been able to get 44 recoveries for the Madrid team. 

He actively participates in the action with up to 836 combinative game passes and gets along wonderfully with his teammates. He is the perfect nine, the ideal center forward who sees spaces like no one else, who has his leg armed under sticks to pierce the net of the rival without remorse and who leaves as many superlatives actions to remember as the goal of Matchday 23 against Valencia CF, or the tying goal against the current leader, Atlético de Madrid, on Matchday 26. 

He has delighted everyone with goals from all perspectives and situations: goals which worth three points, header goals and goals over the horn that enhance the figure of one of the Real Madrid captains and the silent leader of that dressing room. There are 11 Matchdays ahead to continue enjoying his communion with the goal, his perfect movements on the board, flying through the pitch celebrating every goal, and the tireless work of a player who has gained being one of the greats LaLiga Santander figures. Starting with the match of this Matchday 28 against the surprising RC Celta… 

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LaLiga’s Matchday Preview

A full 27 matchdays of the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season are in the books, the same number of rounds that were completed before matches were put on hold last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign, though, the action doesn’t stop and there is a fascinating Matchday 28 ahead as Real Madrid and FC Barcelona face complicated away trips, and as a Basque derby takes place in Bilbao.   

On Saturday afternoon, at 4.15pm CET, Real Madrid are in action away at RC Celta and this could be a very tough fixture for the Champions League quarter-finalists. Eduardo Coudet’s Celta side have lost just one of their past eight matches and are causing all of their opponents problems. With Real Madrid trying to catch league leaders Atlético de Madrid, they can’t afford to drop points and will need to be at their best to bring three of them back to the capital this weekend.  

The Saturday night fixture sees Real Valladolid host Sevilla FC, with both teams in need of points as the home side aim to avoid relegation and as the latter target a Champions League place. The last two meetings between these outfits have finished 1-1, but Sevillaneed wins and not draws if they are to finish the season as high up the table as they want to.  

Then, the league leaders are in action on Sunday evening at home to D. Alavés. With Atletico de Madrid sitting top of the table and with Alavés in the relegation zone, this may seem like a simple game for the hosts on paper. However, Diego Simeone’s men can’t take anything for granted as they’ve had some tough games against the Basque side in the recent past, squeezing out narrow 2-1 victories in the past two meetings and drawing their previous encounter 1-1. 

The final game of this matchday, and the last one before the March international break, takes place on Sunday night at 9pm CET as Real Sociedad take on FC Barcelona. This has been a fascinating fixture over the years, with Barça suffering what was called ‘the Anoeta curse’ as they went a decade without winning in San Sebastián, suffering five defeats and three draws across the eight fixtures played there between 2007 and 2017. Since 2017, though, the Catalan side have won three and drawn one of their four matches there, but Real Sociedad are still a formidable team at home and it surely won’t be easy for the Catalans as they look to close to the gap to the top of the table. 

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COMMENT | Time to convert flat notes to good music

Restaurant ordered to close for not complying with SOPs
Photo courtesy of BERNAMA

The poignant albeit distressing message sent out by a publican in Petaling Jaya on Monday to regulars said:

“It has never been our intention to break the law as we are licenced to serve both food and liquor. Sadly, we are as confused as all of you about the government’s announcement about the SOPs on pubs serving food.
“This time they’ve included eateries serving liquor as ‘no-go zones’ liable to a RM10,000 fine if breached. In light of this and to not expose our customers as well as ourselves to such harsh fines, we will be closed until such time there is some clarity as to how we can operate. Please keep us in your thoughts as we navigate these uncertain times together.”

In a response to this message, a publican in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur replied: “The police are confused too. They visited my pub/restaurant two times on Sunday night checking SOPs but when we queried them on the latest announcement, they said they didn’t know.

“The government is giving us immense issues. Customers called us on the latest announcements if they can come. They, too, are afraid. Business is really down. Thousands of livelihoods are at risk – very frustrating.”

Such confusion has arisen for a simple reason – an estimated 100,000 police personnel and enforcement officers from other agencies have varying interpretations of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) under the various movement control orders.

This has led to dissatisfaction in Malaysians who were issued compound notices, reasoned Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Abd Rahim Jaafar.

“We can’t deny that when everyone has a different understanding of the law, there are bound to be issues. We are in the process of educating our officers regarding the SOPs during this MCO,” he was quoted as saying in Mingguan Malaysia on Feb 7.

Today, after more than 40 days since then, it appears that there has been little or nothing done to educate the enforcement authorities on the various clauses and their interpretations.

To add to the woes of operators, local authority enforcement officers seem to interpret the law in their own way – although it may sound ridiculous. They have interpreted “entertainment” to include piped music!

While there is a requirement for an entertainment licence for performances by live bands or musicians, it is absurd to require a licence for piped music to enhance the ambience of an eatery.

It even got more ridiculous – some restaurant operators were ordered to dim the interior lights when liquor is served.

The mother of all the cockamamie decisions was made last year when officials from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) ordered the closure of and sealed the Long Bar of the Royal Selangor Club for supposed breaches but issued no notices.

At midnight, they returned on a clandestine visit to remove the tapes which they had used to barricade the entrance and exit.

The irony was that they even sealed an outlet that was never open in the first place. They never explained nor clarified their “double action”.

The episodes and encounters that individuals and groups have faced are circulating on social media which leads to the ultimate question: Are these subtle efforts by certain quarters to impose their values on others and if the enforcement officers have taken on the added responsibility of being “moral police”?

Some commentators on social media have argued that this is so and described it as a “backdoor” effort to put an end to the after-work sojourn to the pub which is prevalent in some sectors of the community.

They argue that it started with DBKL freezing new applications for liquor licences last year. Some also allege orders to breweries compelling them to stop production.

Then there were the remarks by the prime minister in September announcing that the economy has begun to recover following the government’s reopening of almost all sectors.

This excluded pubs and nightclubs, with the prime minister adding (supposed to have been said in jest) that he felt it may be a good thing if they do not open at all, reportedly to cheers from some in the crowd.

Hence, the question now is when restaurants that also sell liquor are allowed to operate, why the reluctance to lift the ban on pubs?

If the same SOPs like registering on MySejahtera and social distancing is applied to pubs, shouldn’t they be allowed to operate?

Adil Johan, a research fellow at UKM’s Institute of Ethnic Studies says the decision to keep the pub and nightclub industry on lockdown is an example of a decision made with a low-level of tolerance for our cultural and economic diversity.

Malaysiakini quoted Adil as saying that Malaysia needs to acknowledge that the pub and nightclub industry is not just a place where non-Muslims get drunk and behave rowdily.

“In fact, these venues are very important spaces for networking and maintaining good social ties among Malaysians. It is also where many Malaysian musicians and entertainers, both Muslims and non-Muslims, earn an honest living to entertain the clientele of these venues,” he said.

The multiplier effects of the ban are showing. Bar staff, cooks, watchmen, and delivery drivers are included in the long line of those whose livelihoods have been affected. Top of the list are musicians who have had zero income for one year.

Every time an announcement is made, entertainers hope that it will be music to their ears, but what they have been getting in the past are just flat notes.

*Views expressed here are the writer’s own