To truly appreciate and understand where we are now, let’s start from the very beginning; with every success story, we have humble beginnings. The UNM Futsal Team was not always on the top tier that it is known as today. In the beginning, the UNM’s Futsal and Football Teams were under Nottingham University Football Club (NUFC), with one club managing two separate teams. The current captain, Omar El-Shweekh, has been a part of NUFC since his arrival to the university. Omar saw a problem in having both futsal and football teams under NUFC, as it created conflict amongst players wanting to play for both teams. At first the expectation and support from the university was minimal, with players having to sponsor and provide jerseys by themselves in order to compete tournaments. During the 2017/2018 academic year, Omar and the UNM Sport Complex Management decided to split the UNM Futsal Team from NUFC and focus on their objectives separately.
Managing both clubs was a challengeOmar El-Shweekh
The UNM Futsal Team began participating in more open university tournaments through the sponsorship of the UNM Sport Complex. UNM Futsal hit off their journey in Johor Bahru by competing in the Newcastle University Med Games Men’s Futsal Tournament. Fifteen players were selected by Omar to compete in the tournament playing under UNM A and UNM B. Both teams performed well with UNM A claiming bronze and UNM B coming in forth in the tournament. It was a hopeful start to the newly establish team. Against all odds, the team performed better than expected.
According to Michael Smair, the UNM Futsal Goalkeeper, the UNM Sports Management did not have high expectations from the team’s overall performance and only focused on how they performed for the qualification tournament. They knew they had lacked experience compared to other teams who were also competing in the qualification tournament. However, it lifted pressure off their shoulders and the team went ahead to IPT Premier League qualification as underdogs to prove themselves and most importantly, to have fun and perform their best. Since then, the UNM Futsal Team has proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with by making history as they qualified for IPT Premier League and competed amongst Malaysia’s top institutions.