Imran’s Russian adventure
TEENAGER Imran Zakaria is thankful that he joined the Football For Friendship (F4F) programme even though it will see him celebrating Hari Raya away from family and friends.
Imran, 16, said he gained much information and knowledge especially when he was tasked with coaching one of the 32 teams involved in the programme.
He is thankful to the FA of Malaysia and sponsors PJSC Gazprom for selecting him and compatriot Lauren Hoh, 12, for the friendship programme since June 8, and which will end today.
"I do feel a tinge of sadness because I will not be able to celebrate the first day of Hari Raya with my family and friends.
‘But I know the experience is invaluable, and I will also get a chance to watch the first World Cup match at the stadium.
"This programme has also taught me the value of teamwork, and becoming a coach is a very heavy responsibility as when a team fail, the coaches get the blame first.
"Right now, I am more focused on becoming a football player, and will think about a coaching career at a later stage of my life.”
Imran and Lauran watched the opening World Cup match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Stadium Luzhniki yesterday.
Lauren was assigned as a journalist to cover not only the Football For Friendship programme, but also the World Cup opening match.
"My experience as a cub journalist was really challenging as I had to face many people and ask questions. The programme also taught me the meaning of friendship and togetherness even though we were all from different backgrounds and religions," said Lauren.