News & Events
Delivering in the rainforest
- Posted by: pembscollegesuperadmin
Pembrokeshire College educating footballers in the Malaysian rainforest.
Pembrokeshire College has been recruiting international students for over twenty years. From the United Arab Emirates, China and Hong Kong, the usual countries that educational institutions recruit from – but the rainforest in Malaysia, now this must surely be a first!
Travel one hour east of Kuala Lumpur to Janda Baik and you will find yourself in the heart of a tropical rainforest where your senses will be overwhelmed by the vibrancy of the tropical flora and fauna and the undeniable scent of Durian (the only fruit banned by most hotels in South East Asia). However, what you won’t be expecting to stumble across in this tropical setting is a 12-acre clearing, 600–800 meters above sea level – the home to a modern floodlit football academy.
Frenz Football Academy opened its doors in 2011 to offer young and talented Malaysian footballers the opportunity to develop their sporting prowess alongside achieving academic qualifications. “The emphasis on a robust educational programme is what makes the club stand apart from so many other sports academies. Our vision is to revive Malaysian football to international standards. We believe a solid professional football training program coupled with quality education will get us world-class football champions from among our youth,” said Sopiah Suid, Director of Education at Frenz.
Although situated 7,000 miles away in west Wales, Pembrokeshire College developed a bespoke package for privately owned Frenz Football Academy. The students, who are fully sponsored, are able to commence on a bridging programme that focuses on English reading, writing and study skills; strong students progress directly onto blended iGCSE subjects (online and classroom based) and others to a preparation for iGCSE programme.
Pembrokeshire College worked closely with the Academy to develop a blended learning programme that took into account the demands of a rapidly developing football team at a time when they were starting to be recognised by the Malaysian football league as a serious squad with big ambitions. Alongside playing matches at home and abroad, hosting friendly games with clubs such as Liverpool u18s, and being coached by world-class footballers including Steve McManaman, the boys have been more than eager to put some of their energy into their studies. McManaman is the Frenz Academy technical advisor whose main focus is to scout for young talent, across Malaysia and Indonesia for the club.
“The opportunity to transport the benefits of a British education from one remote corner of the earth to another has been both challenging and rewarding; we feel privileged to be part of such an exciting project,” said Hayley Williams, International, Pembrokeshire College.
Frenz now have plans to expand their football philosophy to Indonesia with a little help from their friends at Pembrokeshire College.