Filtered through a comprehensive selection process, 120 players will light up the 2015 SepakTakraw League Malaysia (STL Malaysia) starting on Oct 10 at the Sports Arena in Petaling Jaya.
A strategic partnership between Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysian (PSM) and Singapore-based Asia Sports Ventures (ASV), SepakTakraw League Malaysia will see a battle between eight teams competing in league format fixtures from next Saturday until Nov 22.
The semi-finals will be held on Dec 12 and final the following day.
Penang’s Black Panthers, City Flyers (Kuala Lumpur), Southern Tigris (Johor), East Coast Surfers (Terengganu), Northern Rangers (Kedah), Green Titans (Malacca), Gomo Warriors (Kelantan) and Armed Forces will take centre stage in the 12-week long league.
PSM President, Dato’ Haji Ahmad Ismail, disclosed that 105 out of 144 players registered had attended a special selection process held over four days from 1 September, 2015 at the Paroi Sports Complex near Seremban. It was conducted by former national coach Jamaluddin Hasan.
However, only 40 players made the grade to compete in STLM from the selection process while 80 others are state-based players who qualified from the PSM Grand Prix.
“The players were merely involved in test matches in Paroi to extract the best combinations that were than divided into teams to compete against each other. I am positive STLM will produce a wider pool of talented players at the base,” said Dato’ Ahmad Ismail.
The STLM, added Dato’ Ahmad Ismail, is a concerted efforts between PSM and ASV aimed at focussing in developing a team capable of winning gold at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games (SEA).
Each team will consist of three regus (five players in each regu), bringing the total number of players involved in STLM to 120 players of which 24 are current national players and trainees.
However, these 24 national players will only be eligible to play in the second regu only (three national players and two from pool) to ensure they stay competitive and the competition is promoted on a level-playing field.
At stake is the winner’s purse of RM40,000 while RM20,000 goes to the second-placed team followed by RM10,000 (third) and RM5,000 to the team that finishes fourth.
Nishant Sehgal, General Manager & Head of Business Asia Sports Ventures, said: “This collaboration between ASV and PSM aims to take sepaktakraw in Malaysia to new heights from every possible angle, from attracting larger audiences to generating sponsorships for the sport.”
“We are continuing our efforts by riding on this popularity to bring sepaktakraw to a wider audience. ASV has set goals and with this kind of support we hope to achieve our targets alongside PSM,” added Nishant.
Nishant added that STL matches will be telecast live over 12 weeks from 4pm-7pm (Saturday) and 4pm-7pm (Sunday) with total of 36 hours broadcasting time.