Scoring in camaraderie

National futsal player Intan Serah hopes to one day to play in an international league

23 May 2019 / 16:09 H.

MEET the bubbly and bright Intan Sarah Anisah Zulgafli, , better known as Intan Serah, a national athlete with an obsession with futsal.

The 20-year-old began her professional sports career in athletics at age 13, representing the country in the 100m hurdles category for the Asian School Championship and Asean School Games in 2015.

She thrives on team spirit, which is why she changed trajectory to follow her passion for futsal instead, preferring the satisfaction and camaraderie of celebrating a game with her teammates.

Before she followed her national calling as part of the futsal team for the 2017 SEA Games, the affable athlete with a love for singing was part of the Perak state futsal association.

Now playing for the Kuala Lumpur Football Association (KLFA) team after transferring from Felda United, Intan even did a minor stint in showbiz, where she showcased her athletic (and artistic) chops in Gol & Gincu 2.

With hopes of playing in an international league one day, the young athlete looks at other sports figures for inspiration.

Intan said: “My idol is Datuk Marina Chin. She [is] a legend in the 100m hurdles for Malaysia. Now, she’s the head teacher of the Bukit Jalil Sports School. I admire her spirit for sports, even until now, she’s still into sports.”

What started the interest with futsal?

“So basically, the interest came from my family. I [have been] playing futsal since I was four or five years old. But we know that there isn’t much exposure for futsal in [schools].

“There are only [athletics], football, all these other ‘big’ sports, so futsal was this very small sport that people didn’t know much about. But it’s getting better now.”

How did your interest turn professional?

“The turning point came when I felt that the spirit while playing individual sports felt different. [In individual sports], I will be the only person feeling the win. But when I play futsal, I feel like the whole team has won.

“The feeling is different. From there I felt more interested in futsal because it includes many more people. It’s winning together. It’s the team spirit.”

How was your acting experience, and is that something you want to do again?

“At first, I thought it was very interesting because it’s a jump from [playing] sports to being an actor. It’s fun because I acted in a [film] that has futsal, Gol & Gincu, but I don’t want to act again.

“The reason I went to Gol & Gincu is because it [revolved around] futsal, so I thought maybe I’d go. But I think if I ever get another offer to act in another movie, I think I won’t take it because it’s very tiring.

“Call time for shooting is at 6am and once it finishes it’s like 2am to 3am. And for myself, it’s even more tiring because I still have to go for training. It’s just tiring.”

What would you do if you had more time in the day?

“First, let’s push away training. I don’t want to have more training [laughs]. If [I have set aside] two hours for training, then those two hours are for training, we’ve [allocated] the time.

“[If] there is time, I really want to sing. I want to do lots of covers and I want to hang out with my friends more. I don’t get much time to go out because of my studies.

“Now I’m studying Sports Management at University Malaya, so there will be classes in the mornings and afternoons, then at night, I train for futsal. I don’t really have time to have fun. Every day is like that. Class, training, class, training, sleep, eat [laughs].”

Which one was harder: training for futsal or practising your lines for acting?

“I think both [laughs]. I’ve gotten used to futsal because I’ve been playing since young. I had the basics and all that, but in acting, you have to learn the script, and then get to know each other, know each other’s roles. So it might [involve] different personalities, you know. So it’s hard for me.”

What has been your most unforgettable memory as an athlete overseas?

“The one that I can’t forget was back in 2015, which [was during] the ASEAN School Games in China.

“I had played internationally before that ... But at [that event], there were more than 40 countries [participating]. It was very big. Plus, I [won] the silver medal. [It] felt great to represent the country, like wow, we went against over 40 countries. It felt satisfying.”

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