Champions League 2008 in Japan!

In the silence of the night, it swirled and twirled. Gently emerging from the darkness of the sky, falling gracefully until it landed safely on the ground. Sometimes, its destinations rerouted with the flow of the wind. And finally it lay motionless on the dried leaves. An array of colored scenery dominated by the brown leaves and green hills quickly repainted into snow white. Everywhere it was coated by the same white color. If you’re lucky enough, you could see in the distance it sparkled reflecting from the light of the full moon. It was truly a moment for the cameras. Time seems to stand still as if preserving those precious moments for me.

View from my room
View from my room

Then as quickly as it had mesmerized me, suddenly it turned into a feeling of anxiety. My mind wandered far into the endless dark night. My stare pierced through the coldness of the night, penetrating deep beneath the layers of snow that was newly formed.The heart quickly acknowledged the volume of the mind. I was growing agitated not because by the wonders of winter, but by the plans made for the weekend. A quick glance at the calendar quickly confirmed me that snow had decided to come early this year. After all, it was still in the middle of November! In three days, the first Champions League football tournament in Japan will be held and it was snowing!

The work of SangPelangi

After weeks of careful planning and hours of sleepless nights, I wasn’t going to let this setback ruin it all. I just had to hope that the snow will subside for a while after this. We can plan all we want but at the end of the day, God’s plan is what counts. This tournament was originally planned to be played on an artificial turf, but I had to book 2 gymnasiums (for futsal) for backup just in case the pitch wasn’t playable on matchday. This was going to be the most prestigious football tournament in Japan as yet. And with it I felt the heavy burden placed on me as the head organizer. As its name will tell you, this tournament is an invitation towards only the best teams within Japan in 2008. It will gather four champions from tournaments held earlier and another 2 teams will make up the pack. These teams are as follow:

  1. Nagaoka (Touhoku champion)
  2. Toyama (Gifu Champion)
  3. Toyohashi ( Kansai Champion)
  4. Gunma (Hokuriku Runners up)
  5. Ibaraki (Invitational)
  6. All-Stars (IPIJ)

Time was not on our side. Just 2 days before the kickoff, the artificial pitch was still partially covered in wet icy snow. We (Nagaoka Team) had to train on it that night to acclimatize ourselves just in case. Well, if the weather is still not permitting us to play on the pitch then we will continue with playing indoor futsal. (It was fortunate that I did in the end.)

The artificial pitch when the weather was sunny..
The artificial pitch when the weather was sunny..

Somehow, we managed to overcome the hiccups (there’s plenty of it actually) eventually. I woke up early on matchday and breathed a sigh of relief. The snow had subsided due to the heavy rainfall the day before. At last it was going according to plan. The artificial pitch was the main attraction to the tournament I guess. The teams started to arrive on schedule. After a brief welcoming speech by the organizers, the tournament was kicked off with Ibaraki up against Nagoaka. The first match went well, with both sides playing their best to be the first champion of the Champions League Cup. Everyone knew that the bragging rights of being the best team in Japan were at stake. The weather was starting to crumble due to the eagerness of the rain of breaking out. Not long after that rain lashed out at us. Occasionally lightings could be seen in the distance followed by a brief appearance of the hard hitting gales. The participant teams bravely endured the least than ideal weather for 2 rounds of matches.

My Pride and Joy ( picture taken at the Gifu Taikai)
My Pride and Joy ( picture taken at the Gifu Taikai)

With the break of lunch and prayers, we gathered all of the captains and came to and agreement. For the safety of the players, the tournament will continue inside. We will play out the remaining fixtures indoors playing futsal. This tournament was unique in itself, as it was the first tournament to be held with teams playing pitch football and then squaring it up with playing futsal. All of the teams played their socks off and tried their best. After a long hard fought battle of the bests, Nagaoka emerged as the sole champion of Japan. With the total grand prize money of 30,000 yen complete with hampers and a trophy as well, the winner was dually awarded.The full result are as below:

  1. Nagaoka (30,000 yen + hampers + trophy)
  2. Toyohashi (15,000yen + hampers)
  3. Toyama (10,000yen +hampers)
  4. Ibaraki (5000yen for winning the fairplay award + hampers)
  5. All-Stars (hampers)
  6. Gunma (hampers)
Team picture of Nagaoka with trophy!
Team picture of Nagaoka with trophy!
The Toyama team
The Toyama team

The teams later got together that night and had dinner together. It was truly an amazing event and one to remember! Not just for the sportsmanship of the teams involved but also for the torrid weather that we played in!Fears of hot temperaments in decisive matches were quickly quashed as we all played with pure sportsmanship.

Get together after a long day!
Get together after a long day!

Congratulations for the winners and I am forever grateful to all the people who have help in making this dream happen. Thank you and hope we’ll get the chance to meet again next year! Goodluck!


Author: Idris Mahzan

Grew up in the UK. Studied in Japan. Malaysian at heart.

27 thoughts on “Champions League 2008 in Japan!”

  1. i’ve linked ur blog in mine…

    just for ur information, karate have many style…shotokan is the oldest one,founder by Gichin Funokushi..and kyokushinkai is one of youngest style of karate…the founder is Sosai Masutatsu i joined both..the tradisional one and the modern one…

  2. Er, when you said, ‘This was going to be the most prestigious football tournament in Japan as yet’, maksudnya memang you guys main against the Japanese ke? Or between all malaysian students in Japan? Enlighten me please, quite confuse…

    But it seems that you guys really ramaikan, sampai boleh team up main footbal… huhu…

    I wasn’t really a fan of footbal, but futsal, oklah boleh terimalah…. hehe… maybe sebab dia indoor kot…

    Anyway, congratz to you, as a head organizer, you managed to successfully held a grand football tournament. Well done!!

  3. Reply for muhammadsayyid,
    Wow, so you must really good at karate kn? Boley gabungkan style yg lame ngan modern kn. Beza antara kedua2 tu byk ke? Nway,thank you for sharing.

    Reply for mulabelajarhentimimpi,
    And thank you to you too!Feel free untuk singgah selalu ye.
    Nope, I dont think One piece ade kaitan ngan karate kot. Mungkin kuasa anime kot!hehe.Minat eh One piece tu?

    Reply for Barukisu,
    Referring to that, what i meant was, this was a tournament pitting the best malaysians team in Japan. Because students in Japan is scattered everywhere and not just in one specific place. So,football tournaments (for M’sians) is kinda like Malaysian Games in the UK i guess. (correct me if I’m wrong ye?)
    Kat Ukraine ade games camni jugak ke?

    FYI, kebanyakan team2 yang kuat kat sini sume cam ramai malay r.Nagaoka ni klu campur2 semua2 cam ade 50 (plus minus) students r. Kat temapt lain maybe kurang sket r. tapi besenye yang main bola xdela ramai sgt pun.

    Futsal is the new trend skang ni kn?Kat sini kalau dah sejuk2 tu byk main futsal je.kitorang main at least once a week kat sini. Futsal main ngan lebih laju,tapi klu main kat padang baru ase puas sket.Maybe sebab boleh lari2 and byk strategi kot kn.

    Barukisu suke main aktiviti kat indoor ke?

    Thanks ye. Well,a success of an event is does not rely solely on one individual but it is because of teamwork kn.kan kan.hehe.I owe it to the team really.hehe.

  4. This sounds like a fun event. I’m glad everything worked out smoothly despite the initial anxiousness. It is definitely not easy to organize an event as big as this so well done!

    Caption gambar My Pride and Joy somehow makes me giggle. Are you their manager/coach? It certainly sounded like one. Comel!~

    Tak pernah meminati football. Or futsal (maybe because there’s no anime which features them that managed to grab my attention and interest XD) which I feel is a waste since I’m here wher football is THE game yet I..take it for granted ^___^;

    Tak dapat nak dibantu la kan?

  5. Kat Ukraine ade games camni jugak ke?

    Adalah kot, I guess, huhu. But Malaysian students here are more into futsal. They have lots of tournaments, leagues and then sometimes ada piala pusingan every year. Hehe. Rugby pun ada dulu, they played against the Ukrainian. But nowadays dah takder since ramai senior yang dah pulang, huhu. Takraw pun ada. Senang citer, kalau nak main apa jer bolehlah buat tournament sendiri, ahaks.But I’ve never watched any of them. Boys games, haha jadi tak berapa minat.

    Barukisu suke main aktiviti kat indoor ke?

    Hurm, yelah kot. Actually boleh main outdoor, tapi sejuk sangat, so main indoor jelah, macam badminton, basketball, handball, table tennis, hurm tu jelah yang saya pernah main masa kat Ukraine ni, ahaks.

    Di Ukraine, kami ada sukan tahunan, macam kat sekolah dulu, ada rumah sukan ikut warna semualah, huhu. Klaka juga, but it’s fun. Ada balapan, acara padang, sukaneka. Oklah…. huhu…

    Yep, couldn’t agree more. =)

  6. Reply for SyAhiRah^LaLAla,
    Hi!:) Thank you for visiting this blog.
    I hope that u will get the chance to experience it as well. Its always very magical if u see the snow falling for the first time. Its very beautiful and no words could describe the feeling.Speechless…
    My juniors here cant stop taking pictures of the snow at first. And u know what, they were shouting and telling everybody that there’s snow everywhere. The rest of us just stood there and smiled. Well, pretending not to bother too much and ‘wat wat tak kisah je’.hehe. (We were just like them when we first saw snow too actually!!)

    p/s:u have a very interesting blog too.Please feel free to come by slalu ye.

    Reply for frank lampard,
    Salam.Thank you for coming to the tournament. We’ve tried our best to make it the most memorable event as yet. Tapi sebab cuaca kat Jepun ni xmenentu sgt nak wat camne kn.huhu. (Minggu lepas tournment tu kn, kat cni dah cerah n panas balik sket dah.)
    Nway,aritu enjoy x?Dari team mane ek? InsyaAllah kalau ade peluang akan dibuat lagi thn depan! Jumpe nanti r ye.
    Erm,aritu xsangka btul ‘nasi ayam sedap’ tu laku sgt kn. Sampai tambah2 tu kn. Sebelum2 ni xpernah plak terjadi cam2 kn. Actually head chef die my junior kat cni.Name die Chef Syah! Kitorang trpakse stay up sepanjang malam untuk siapkan sume. Thank you kepada sume yg tolong2 ye! Nway, Hope u had fun r kn.tu yang penting kn?

  7. Salam Yeh…
    Erm… ngapa la buat team nama Jepun gak. Buat le nama yg bercirikan Malaysia. Bukankah lebih menarik begitu.

    Patriotik sungguh kak su nih… (perasan) kekeke

  8. salam. nice blog. english awak macam dah mengalahkan english orang putih la.


    kuat benar berbola! bagus utk kesehatan.
    i link ur blog too ok

  9. OMG! there’s SNOW! *hype*
    im sorry im not into football and futsal much, but they do sound super fun in your blog.. hee XD, keep updating!!
    yosh! <–tipical the-only-one word i knew in japan *T_T*

  10. Reply for princess,
    Thanks for dropping by. FYI, football has and will always be my favorite sport. I dunno,its just everything about the sport is kinda interesting. The excitement, the passion. So, what interests u the most in sports?
    N thank u for the support. I`ll keep sharing and try to be better in writing in the future I hope.
    Sharing is caring rite?

    Reply for chopper,
    Dah 2 tahun lebih main ngan team Nagaoka ni. I really enjoyed playing with them. Luckily for me, most of us are of the same age n have played together for over 2 years. I have a lot of fond memories with this team. Like I said in the picture.Its my Pride n Joy!! So,with winning this, we have achieved of being the best! but we dont intend to rest on our laurels, I hope that we will keep winning in the future also.

    p/s:In the picture at the Gifu Taikai i am standing 5th from the right. And in the other picture i`m the one wearing the blue jacket.

  11. Reply for ‘Aqilah,
    Hye! How r u?Has it snowed yet over there?
    Yup,it was really fun actually.Seeing that people actually enjoyed themselves and was really satisfied with the event. I must admit, it was really tough organizing such an event becoz of all the details that u`ve got to cover. Despite the hard work, we all enjoyed ourselves. It was a good experience in the end rite?

    About the caption..hehe.Well, it is really my pride n joy. We have played together for over 2 years and I have played with them through happy and difficult times. They r not just my teammates but buddies. That`s why I enjoyed playing football the most. We complement each other and always got our backs for each other! (ade skali tu hampir gaduh ngan team lain..hehe.panjang cite die..)

    It`s okey if u are not into football. Each of us have our own interests rite? I`m sure anime is also very enjoyable.So, what`s ur favorite anime?
    Maybe next year if I get the chance nak pegi UK r.Owh,btw,yang tempat Robin Hood tu ade lagi ke ek?

    Reply for amie,
    Yup, the experience is totally priceless.We are very lucky indeed. I liked it when we speak a kind of smoke is coming out from our mouth. Hehe. I enjoyed doing that over and over again.
    How`s Moscow?Byk ke snow kat sane skang ni?

  12. Reply for Barukisu,
    Wow,it must be really fun sebab boley buat tournments bile2 je kn. Girls kat sane xwat cam2 gak ke? I mean if boys have their activities,then girls should have theirs too rite?Nway,ramai ke Malaysians stdy kat sane?Or do u have to gather from all over the country also?
    Nway,it sounds fun with all those activities over there! Keep safe n enjoy urself ye!

    Reply for suara,
    Salam Kak Su 🙂
    Hehe. Patriotik sungguh Kak Su ye. Biasenye kalau time tournament ni kami biase bagi name ikut bandar yang kami study je. Senang sket nak tahu team tu wakil dari mane. Tapi ade je kadang-kadang letakkan name dalam bahasa Melayu gak.
    Aritu time ade futsal tournment kat Tokyo ade satu team ni letak name dorang, Annaskin muka surat 120? pelik-pelik betul.

    Reply for Hazu,
    Haloo dude! Ish,mane xajaknye. Aku dah tanye dah tonggak2 Team Kosen.Tapi dorang ckp sume busy. Nak wat camne. Kalau x,boley kite lepak2 same2 pas game kn? Ani dtg gak aritu tapi die wakil Toyohashi. Kamal pn dtg gak.
    Nway,klu ade rezeki,tahun depan kite wat team sndiri nak?haha.

  13. Reply for syakira,
    Thanks for visiting. Please feel free to come by often ye?hehe.
    And thanks for the compliment. I`m always looking to improve my English in the future. Ur English is also very good btw.
    Okey,I`ll link ur blog with mine also too ye?

    Well,football is my passion.I`ve always had a thing for football.It shares with me sad and good times.hehe.So, do u have an interest in football too?

    Reply for kHairie,
    Hye! Thank you for dropping by.
    Snow can be fun at first but wait until it gets too much snow! U just want to stay in ur room coz its freezing cold outside. and what`s more, its really difficult to drive or move about in the snow. So, snow does have its pros and cons rite?

    Football and futsal does seem quite fun.Maybe u should try it once in a while and experience it for urself.

    I`ll try to update this blog as frequently as I can.
    Ganbarimasu!(I will try my best!) (Well,there`s another Japanese word u can use after this rite?)

  14. Ensha Allah I will always visit this blog. Ur blog is pretty cool!

    Im not really into football, but i understand how does it feel. coz my abang-abang semua minat bola. hantu bola macam u. huhu

    go chi so sama desh ta!
    (eh, apasal tiba2 ni. ada kena mengena ke? hehe.macam salah tulis je)

  15. oh i can feel the excitement from here too. tgk gambar je pun dah boleh excite me.tak tahula kalau be there n experience it for real.mungin guling-guling tak mau balik agaknya.hiks.
    bout the blog,,it’s my pleasure.never thot that you’ll like it.i write craps,,unlike u.iv linked u too btw. hope u don’t mind 🙂

  16. Girls kat sane xwat cam2 gak ke?

    Ada2, netball tournaments, handball tounaments… samalah, cuma girls punya tournament, girls jelah yang boleh tgk, hehe…

    Nway,ramai ke Malaysians stdy kat sane?

    Dulu ramailah, but since seniora suma dah pulang menyahut panggilan tugas, maka adalah dlm 300 org je malays, malaysian dalam 1000 lah jugak kot…

    Or do u have to gather from all over the country also?

    Hurm, ramai malaysian dekat Simferopol (d palce where i study now), so, Simferopol jadi pusat pentadbiran pelajar malaysialah, tapi ada juga dekat tempat lain, but x ramai, dalam kurang dari 10 oranglah, but if ada activities, we will call them to come down to Simferopol, gather lah, hari raya sumer…

    yep, u too…

  17. Aku tak dapat nak hadirkan diri kerana esok harinya ada ujian. Rupanya kau pun ada ujian 2 hari sebelum acara berlangsung. Aku sedikit malu.

    Tahniah kepada Yeh. Ada suka duka di balik semuanya. Cuma kau dan Dia saja yang mengetahuinya, termasuk aku.

    Putus asa bukan sahabat si pengembara.

  18. Congratulations on being the best out of the best! 🙂
    It was a very memorable moment, on the pitch and even off the pitch (especially the incident afterwards 😉 ).
    You deserve most of the credit as the head organizer, and may Allah reward your sincere effort to bring us together as brothers in Islam.
    Hopefully we can organize a similar event this year insyaAllah!

  19. at last…. terdetik juga nak bagi komen…walaupun dah lambat otsukaresamades!!!! teringin gak nak join sebenanya tapi apa kan daya nagaoka jauh sangat dari iwaki ^_^

  20. hey 🙂
    i’m a man of my words.hehe…
    anyway you got a very good command of english and i’m going to miss you when you come back and visit us.once a nagaokian always a nagaokian 🙂

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