Champs to Rio, a futsal tournament by Naza Kia Malaysia ended at a highpoint last weekend with the announcement of the winning team after two gruelling days of round-robin challenges amongst 40 teams. The champion team, KSL FC comprising six players will represent Malaysia at the Kia Champ Into The Arena tournament in Salvador, Brazil on 4-7 July. In addition to the all-expenses paid trip to Brazil, the whole team will get RM10,000 in cash, a champion cup, champion medals, exclusive jerseys and tickets to the Quarter Finals of World Cup 2014.
Champs to Rio is a local initiative by Naza Kia Malaysia for Malaysians to experience and be a part of the excitement and energy of World Cup 2014, one of the biggest sports events of the year. Naza Kia Malaysia gave away RM20,000 in cash in addition to the six flight tickets to Brazil to the winners today. The champions also received exclusive jerseys which they will wear in the global futsal matches in Brazil. First runner up Versus 5 FC walked home with RM5,000 in total cash and silver medals, second runner up 1 Malaysia United won RM3,000 and bronze medals, whilst third runner up TOT United A won RM2,000 and bronze medals. Registered teams came from all over the country, even as far as Penang and Terengganu.
Only two countries in the whole of Southeast Asia, Malaysia and the Philippines will be sending a futsal team to Brazil for this initiative. Datuk Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar, Chief Operating Officer of Naza Kia Malaysia said the company sees the global partnership with FIFA World Cup as a great opportunity to deliver the excitement of the brand to football-mad fellow Malaysians.
“Futsal and football are games that unite Malaysians and share a common thread of passion, skill and determination. With Champs to Rio, you get the best of both worlds where the game of futsal acts as a foretaste to the prize of being part of FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
We are pleased to be able to fly the Malaysian flag in Brazil at the global futsal tournament through our champs today. I’m sure you’ll do us proud,” said Datuk Hafiz.
Champs to Rio was open to 38 teams via online registration starting early April 2014. Registered teams started the matches on Saturday, 3 May 2014 at Sports Planet in Ampang. The format of the tournament was LEAGUE-based where 10 teams were put into one group. The top two of each group qualified to Quarter Finals played at the FIFA Pitch. The duration of every match in group stage lasted 20 minutes with 10 minutes for each half. The Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals, each match lasting 30 minutes were held on 4 May 2014 at the same venue, with 15 minutes for each half.
Mohd Zahrin bin Ismail, Captain of the champion team, KSL FC, said his whole team was euphoric after winning this once a lifetime opportunity. They trained continuously twice a week to remain fit and alert. KSL FC, considered an underdog as the team is made up of amateur players, came out tops after beating favourites, Versus 5 FC, 3-2 during the penalty shootout.
“We are so excited to be representing Malaysia and Naza Kia in Brazil. This will be a first time for us in an international tournament and truly a dream come true!” he said.
Champs to Rio sits under Naza Kia Malaysia’s “World Cup Rocks with Kia” campaign which gives ten lucky Malaysians the opportunity to win all-expenses-paid trips to Brazil to watch the FIFA World Cup. Other initiatives under this campaign include Fuleco Friend Search (2 tickets won) and 2014 World Cup RoadShow (2 tickets up for grabs) and Cheer to Kia, a roving viewing party.
Living up to Kia’s tagline “The Power to Surprise”, Naza Kia Malaysia has created extraordinary opportunities at the World Cup in Brazil through Kia Motor’s global partnership as the official partner of 2014 FIFA World Cup. Those interested in getting more information on this and other exciting FIFA World Cup initiatives by Naza Kia Malaysia can log on to www.kia.com or www.facebook.com/kiamalaysia.