Penan boy shows amazing soccer scoring skills  

Dennis (yellow jersey) in a photocall with the Tutoh Apoh football team.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, April 5: Malaysia’s “Lionel Messi” could be holed up in Ulu Baram, and he is a Penan!

During the just-concluded 35th Primary School Sports Council (MSSR) Games, which was held at Miri Stadium, striker Vixsenhris Paulus whacked in 15 goals from just eight matches.

For his awesome scoring ability, he went home with the Top Scorer award.

Together with his SK Long Kevok schoolmate Joannes Joshua, who is also a Penan and plays as a forward, they have been selected to represent Miri Division for the state-level tournament.

However, despite their prowess on the soccer field, it was not enough for their team — Tutoh Apoh football team — to win in the three-day competition, which ended yesterday.

Their 14-member team, which comprises players from SK Long Seridan, SK Long Kevok, SK Long Bedian and SK Long Bemang, came in third, and most of their players are Penans.

But their effort is definitely something to be proud of as there were 23 teams competing, and it was the first time they had taken part.

Meanwhile, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau praised the teachers and school administrative staff in his constituency for bringing holistic learning to the children.

“The teachers are discharging their duties professionally and many a time, they go beyond the call of duty to ensure students under their care get the best out of their learning, including exposing them to activities outside the classroom,” he said after the Tutoh Apoh football team paid a courtesy call on him this morning.

The team had wanted to thank Dennis for making it possible for them to compete in the tournament for the very first time.

“Not many people know that you teachers have to fork out your own money and travel long hours from the schools to Miri City. Therefore, on behalf of the kids’ parents, I salute you.

“I am happy that despite all the challenges you have to face, you uphold the noble purpose of a teacher, which is to educate our children,” said Dennis.

Dennis expressed his confidence that given the right guidance and training, children from Ulu Baram could become soccer players to be reckoned with.

“Our kids already have the physique to match due to the environment they are living in,” he pointed out.

“Therefore, I urge all relevant bodies to take a look at the pool of potential players we have in Ulu Baram.” — DayakDaily