Dato’ Azman Amin Hasan (seated, centre), Ingill Ra (seated, far left) and Tan Sri Zaleha Ismail (seated, second left) during a meeting to discuss the second edition of the AFC’s youth development project Midnight Football in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Asia Football Confederation and Global Peace Association Collaborate to Get Troubled Youth ‘Off the Street and On the Ball’

KUALA LUMPUR—The National Unity and Integration Department under the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department is impressed with the work of the AFC in its youth development programme Midnight Football. The department’s Director-General, Dato’ Azman Amin Hasan, also suggested that the next and second edition of Midnight Football be held in Sentul, a highly problematic community area in the Malaysian capital here.

AFC Social Responsibility Director Ingill Ra and AFC’s Midnight Football organising partner Global Peace Association (GPA) President Tan Sri Zaleha Ismail met with Hasan on May 23 to discuss the possibility of collaborating for the second edition of Midnight Football in Malaysia.

Midnight Football is the AFC’s social responsibility project under the able leadership of AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam to get troubled and unguided youth “Off the Street, On the Ball” using football as the main platform of change so that they become useful and contributing citizens.

The first edition started in Malaysia in September last year and will conclude in a closing ceremony at AFC House here on June 17. The meeting started with Ra making a presentation on Midnight Football 2011, the second edition, based on the success of Midnight Football 2010, the first edition, where most of the unguided Malaysian participants had transformed dramatically as shown by a survey by the University of Malaya.

While the first edition focused on the youngsters, the second edition will aim to transform the whole community involving the youths, their parents and teachers. Ra said the number of participants will be around 60 to 100 while the criteria for the selection of youths participating remain youngsters who have disciplinary problems.

Ra suggested that a forum be held between the AFC President, Minister in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department and GPA President to set the direction of the upcoming Midnight Football edition so that it rhymes with the spirit of ‘One Malaysia’, the spirit of unity and integration in the country that hosts AFC headquarters.

This story was originally published by the Asian Football Confederation.