Singapore Sports Scene

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Loh, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Besides softball, SEA Games champion Aloysius Ong shines in A levels
    Besides softball, SEA Games champion Aloysius Ong shines in A levels, Sport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
    [​IMG]
    National softballer Aloysius Ong scored five As and a C for his A levels.PHOTO: WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL CONFEDERATION
    Kimberly Kwek and Laura Chia
    • PUBLISHED
      FEB 19, 2021, 9:18 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE - There were times when national softballer Aloysius Ong questioned his decision to defer his studies for a year to focus on softball in 2019.

    Watching his peers graduate before he did while he poured his time into softball to prepare for the 2019 SEA Games was tough and there were also those who doubted his decision to take a year off for his sport.

    In the year away from school, he also spent more than $15,000 on about nine team and self-initiated overseas trips to compete and train.

    But the pitcher's sacrifice bore fruit as he helped the national team secure a historic SEA Games gold medal.

    After the stellar year in sport, Ong channelled his focus to his studies, and looking back, the Hwa Chong Institution student, who received his GCE A-level results on Friday (Feb 19) and scored five As and a C, has no regrets.

    Ong, who hopes to read medicine in university, said: "The perception that people have towards sport is like, 'Why did you do it? Sport isn't going to bring you anywhere.'

    "At the back of people's heads, there will be some questions like if softball is really worth of a year of your life, but I'm glad I stuck to my decision and it paid off."

    National para-swimmer Wong Zhi Wei was another athlete who overcame a difficult time to do well at the A levels.

    In October 2019, his world came crashing down around him when he received news that he had been diagnosed with Stage 5 chronic kidney disease.

    Before that, Wong, who has visual impairment, had also been struggling with his performances in the pool, and the diagnosis was a double whammy.

    The 18-year-old said: "I really tried to push myself and I felt I could better myself but I wasn't able to break my personal best so it was already quite saddening. What made it worse was the diagnosis - that was the lowest point for me.

    "It was very devastating because I couldn't pursue swimming. I felt it was a real tragedy because I couldn't do the things my friends could do and I felt somewhat nihilistic like, 'What's the point of taking A levels if my life is going to be like this?'"

    But that changed when he underwent a kidney transplant in January last year. He flew to China for the procedure and even though it kept him out of school for three months, it was a turning point.

    As he could not return to the pool immediately after the kidney transplant, he decided to treat his A levels like a competition.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    S'pore A-level students achieve best passing rate since 2006 despite Covid-19 disruptions[/paste:font]
    A-level student teased for his deformed ears overcomes physical, academic challenges[/paste:font]
    During his time away from school, the Eunoia Junior College student asked his teachers to send him worksheets and tried to catch up on things that he had fallen behind on.

    This time, instead of a medal at the end of the competition, it was a result sheet with five As and a B.

    "(After the transplant), I really felt like my body had restarted, I felt really empowered," said Wong, who is looking at pursuing a politics or economics-related degree.

    "I feel really happy with my results. For me, there's a sense of relief and accomplishment because I was able to bounce back from the hardships I had to deal with in the previous two years."

    National sailor Lee Wonn Kye and national artistic swimmer Vivien Tai, both Raffles Institution students, were also among those who performed well at the A levels.

    [​IMG]
    National sailor Lee Wonn Kye scored six As for his A levels. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

    Like most athletes, last year was an unusually quiet one for Lee.

    The 18-year-old, who scored six As, said: "It definitely wasn't the same. Last year, when I was training without knowing when the next competition would be, it felt hard to find motivation when every week you're going through the same processes.

    "I'm really happy right now, it feels quite satisfying to do as well as I have after what happened last year with the pandemic and studying through all that."

    Tai had stepped down from the national team while she was in Year 5 and 6 to focus on her studies, but was still juggling water polo training in school and artistic swimming sessions at her club with her academics.

    Despite this, Tai, who competed in the 2017 SEA Games and 2018 Asian Games, scored five As and a B.

    The 19-year-old said: "I'm pretty satisfied with it because I wasn't expecting to get these results."
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Floorball: Singapore to host the Women's World Championship in 2023
    Floorball: Singapore to host the Women's World Championship in 2023, Sport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
    [​IMG]
    The 2023 tournament will be only the second time that the biennial Women's WFC is held outside of Europe.PHOTO: MICHAEL PETER/IFF
    [​IMG]
    Kimberly Kwek

    • PUBLISHED
      FEB 23, 2021, 7:10 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE - The International Floorball Federation (IFF) Women's World Floorball Championship (WFC) will return to Singapore in 2023, nearly two decades after the Republic last hosted the event in 2005.

    The 2023 tournament will be only the second time that the biennial Women's WFC is held outside of Europe.

    The upcoming event will see entries from 16 countries, including world No. 14 Singapore, which has qualified directly as the tournament's host, and will involve at least 500 participants.

    It will be held at the OCBC Arena and Singapore Indoor Stadium at the end of November or early December that year.

    In the 2005 WFC, Singapore came in 11th out of 17 teams in the two-division tournament.

    The successful bid marks the latest high for the sport here. At the 2019 WFC in Neuchatel, Switzerland, the national women's team achieved their best-ever finish of 12th since the tournament switched to a one-division format in 2011.

    That feat was achieved shortly after they retained their gold medal at the 2019 SEA Games, following a 3-2 win over Thailand in the final.

    Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president Kenneth Ho hopes that hosting the WFC in 2023 will enable the women's team to build on their recent successes, saying: "This (their performance at the 2019 WFC) has a brought a great belief to our teams, (knowing) that they have the skills and capability to compete at the highest stage.

    "And hopefully, with a strong support from our local fans from the stands, it might spur our team on to reach even greater heights."

    He also believes that having the Women's WFC here will act as a springboard to developing the local and regional women's floorball scene, adding: "We are looking forward to deliver the best World Floorball Championship in Singapore, one that will elevate the women's game and inspire women and girls around the Asia-Pacific region.

    "It will be a catalyst for ensuring the development of women's floorball continues in the Asia-Pacific region and globally."

    National women’s team captain Michelle Lok believes that holding the Women’s WFC here will bring greater recognition to floorball in Singapore.

    The 26-year-old said: “Hosting the Women’s World Floorball Championship would put Singapore in the spotlight in the floorball world as it’s a very popular sport in European countries.

    “The event would be a huge and fantastic exposure for the floorball community here, especially for the younger ones. The youth would be inspired and motivated to work harder and hopefully strive to also be on the world stage one day, and hopefully up the standards of Singapore floorball.”

    Interest in the sport has also grown in recent years, with the number of divisions in the men's and women's competitions of the ActiveSG SFA League increasing from three and two respectively in 2010 to six and three.

    Singapore had also hoped to stage the 2024 Men's World Floorball Championship, but hosting rights for that year's tournament have been awarded to Sweden.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    While there may be emotional and sentimental reasons to support football, is it really worth it?
    While there may be emotional and sentimental reasons to support football, is it really worth it? - The Online Citizen Asia

    Former sports correspondent Jose Raymond raises crucial questions regarding the State's push to qualify for World Cup 2034
    by kathleen
    23/02/2021
    in Current Affairs, Sports

    [​IMG]


    There is much to ask of the people in charge of charting the future of football in Singapore when it comes to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) target of the national team qualifying for the World Cup in 2034—a target dubbed GOAL 2034.

    This was said by former sports correspondent for TODAY, Jose Raymond on Sunday (21 February) when he addressed the country’s goal to qualify for the biggest international sporting event in football in a Facebook post.

    The former politician from Singapore People’s Party recounted roughly two decades of Singapore football history, starting with the remark by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1998 who said, “Maybe if we change our immigration criteria to bring in top football talent and make them citizens, then one day we too can get into the (World Cup) finals.”

    Mr Raymond went on to recount the journey of the Singapore national football team, known as The Lions, over the years including how the team has yet to secure gold at smaller events such as the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

    Mr Raymond noted, “Latching on to how France had lifted the World Cup in 1998 through a team made up of immigrants and sons of immigrants, Singapore’s Number 1 [PM Goh] then made a case which then gave birth to Goal 2010, Singapore at the World Cup project.

    “It was also a way for the Government to have Singaporeans embrace foreigners in our midst, and for them to help us win football’s greatest prize.”

    However, this lofty goal would end up being a bitter disappointment as The Lions failed to secure medals in the SEA Games, or make it to the semi-finals of the regional Tiger Cup tournaments after winning in 1998, let alone qualify for the World Cup.

    Around 2004 after the national team saw a change in management and the change of FAS presidents, “The Goal 2010 project was dropped like a tonne of bricks,” wrote Mr Raymond.

    In place of that, however, the FAS then came up with a ‘Roadmap’ for Singapore football, which included goals of becoming the top ranked football nation in ASEAN, among the top 10 in Asia and qualify for the Asian Cup by 2009.

    While there were some bright spots—such as winning the ASEAN championship twice in 2004/2005 and again in 2007—the Lions did not make it to the Asian Cup nor ranked in the top 10 in Asia.

    Though the team, under Serbian manager Radojo Avramovic, did make it to the third round of the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers, it still did not win the gold at the SEA Games. PM Goh’s vision was still close but unattainable.

    After Avramovic left, the team was led by Bernd Stange and technical director Michel Sablon.

    However, as Mr Raymond described, “Both left with nothing much to show except for the fact that Singapore football had sunken far deeper into the football abyss, despite Sablon having proclaimed in 2015 that Singapore would be like Japan by 2020.”

    Not only did the national team not perform well on the international stage, the youth team—dubbed the Young Lions—“get smashed regularly at regional competitions as well”, said Mr Raymond.

    “So when the people in charge suddenly put together a project, which apparently is aiming for Singapore to qualify for the World Cup in 2034, don’t mind us for showing little belief or faith that the vision will materialise into anything but heartache and worse, a waste of financial resources,” he chided.

    What does the data say about the status of local football?
    Mr Raymond goes on to ask about the state of local football in Singapore, including hard data on how many people follow the sport. He noted that Sports Singapore data shows that running, swimming, and cycling all rank higher on the Sports Participating Index as compared to football.

    He asked, “Does Singapore football still command the same feverish following as it did in the past?”

    Mr Raymond suggested commissioning a study to elicit responses from a wide spectrum of society.

    Beyond just spectator interest, he also asked about the level of resources and effort put into encouraging football at the school levels.

    “How many schools in Singapore offer football as a sport? What happened to the School Football Academies project which was announced by the FAS in 2017?” he wrote.

    “Do parents believe that their children will have a decent future in football as a career in Singapore and what will it take to have them do so?”

    On this note, Mr Raymond also suggested that a study be conducted among parents who have children involved local football and those who don’t to find out their thoughts on the matter.

    At the FAS level, Mr Raymond asked if the Association has done enough on its own to “gather corporate support, build on the sport in Singapore over the last 20 years?”

    He also asked, “How has the current management team fared based on its own manifesto released during the 2017 elections for office bearers? What has been current technical director Joseph Palatsides’ contribution to Singapore’s football since arriving in May 2019 and what has he done to awake Singapore, the “sleeping football giant?”

    Mr Raymond added, “Has the FAS explained what led to the failure of Goal 2010, the subsequent Roadmap, the national ambition to win the SEA Games gold in 2015 in Singapore and its current state of performance malaise?”

    On top of that, Mr Raymond also raised questions in terms of government investment in the sport, asking “Is football worthy of the taxpayers’ contributions?”

    He called on the government to reveal how much the GOAL 2034 project would cost taxpayers and also investing more in and developing other sports that Singapore might excel in instead of football.

    This is a sentiment voiced by many netizens when Culture, Community, and Youth Minister Edwin Tong spoke on Singapore’s effort to qualify for the 2034 World Cup. Back in 2019 when Mr Tong was the vice president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), he had revealed the ambitious plan to qualify for the biggest international football event.

    Should the State remain steadfast in its goal to qualify for the 2034 World Cup, Mr Raymond asked who would lead such a project which involves multiple ministries— Ministry of Education, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs while being led by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

    Mr Raymond concluded that while Singapore may have the interest to channel into achieving such a goal, it might not have the wealth or even the size.

    Though he did concede that much smaller nations have made it to the World Cup including Uruguay with 3.4 million population, Trinidad and Tobago with 1.4 million, Northern Ireland with 1.9 million and Iceland with only 356,000.

    Still, Mr Raymond warned; “While it is fortuitous that Singapore now has people like billionaire Forrest Li of Sea Group and Shopee fame who is willing to pour his money into helping steer local football, Forrest Li alone is not a sustainable solution to the failed society-driven Singapore Premier League club model, where some clubs are still known to pay players peanuts as former international Faritz Hameed recently highlighted in a podcast.”

    He concluded, “There are lots of emotional and sentimental reasons to support football, but let’s look at data, logic, facts and the track record and history of the sport instead.”

    “Because as of today, Singapore has not won the SEA Games football gold medal despite having tried since 1959.”
     
    Cheung and demolidor like this.
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Football: Former international Stephen Ng appointed head coach of Singapore women's national team - CNA (channelnewsasia.com)
    Football: Former international Stephen Ng appointed head coach of Singapore women's national team
    team


    upload_2021-3-8_17-36-27.png
    Former footballer Stephen Ng has been appointed as the new head coach of the women’s national team. (Photo: FAS)

    07 Mar 2021 06:34PM(Updated: 07 Mar 2021 08:56PM)


    SINGAPORE: Former international Stephen Ng has been appointed the new head coach of the women’s national team, said the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Sunday (Mar 7).

    “I can see so much potential in women’s football in Singapore, and I wanted to be able to do something about it and contribute in my own way," said Ng, who will serve a two-year term.

    "As a coach who is passionate about local football, being appointed as the Head Coach of the Women’s National Team represents the biggest opportunity for me to effect change and I am both honoured and proud to have been selected.”

    The announcement was made by FAS during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Football Day celebrations at Jalan Besar Stadium.

    upload_2021-3-8_17-37-13.png
    Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC (Kampong Glam) Denise Phua presenting a national jersey to Stephen Ng, together with FAS President Lim Kia Tong, on Mar 7, 2021. (Photo: FAS)

    Ng is set to lead the Women’s National Team through competitions including the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers Round 1, AFF Women's Championship 2021, as well as the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam.

    He was selected from more than 160 applicants - locals and foreigners - said FAS in a media release.

    Mr Ng said that he is looking to develop the women's team to compete at the regional and international level, and also hopes to grow the number of women coaches to accelerate the development of the youth players.

    His strategy is to concurrently develop both elite and amateur players, and structure training programmes for longer-term development.

    “I intend to build on the results of people who have contributed to our women’s national teams in the past and work hard to create a prominent presence for us both in Southeast Asia and subsequently Asia in the years to come," said Ng.

    ACCOLADES

    Ng is an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) coach educator and has also attained the AFC professional coaching diploma, which is the highest level of coaching accreditation issued by the AFC.

    He spent a total of six years at the Brunei FA. During his time there, he helped to develop women’s grassroots football by providing support for women's coach education, including organising women's grassroots school festivals as well as conducting coaching courses for women coaches.

    Mr Ng cited his passion for helping develop women’s football as a key factor in the taking up of his current role at FAS.

    He has had experience coaching at youth level, leading the Singapore Under-14s in 2013.

    During his 15-year playing career as a goalkeeper, he turned out for Sembawang Rangers FC, Tiong Bahru United as well as Gombak United during the then S-League and was also a member of the Singapore national team.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    New national football strategy ‘a shot in the arm’ but hurdles remain, insiders say

    By NAVENE ELANGOVAN
    Published MARCH 09, 2021


    Hougang United player Lionel Tan, 24, said that having a national curriculum for football will help to raise interest in the game, as well as widen the future talent pool in the years ahead.

    * The Government announced a new plan to have a standardised football curriculum across all primary schools
    * The vision for Singapore to qualify for the World Cup in 2034 remains
    * The football fraternity said the new curriculum would help to raise interest among the young
    * However, there are still hurdles to playing professional football here
    * They agreed that the plan will set the base for future success if implemented right

    SINGAPORE — The footballing fraternity in Singapore welcomed the Government’s latest strategy to put the country on a renewed path to qualify for the World Cup, calling its new national football project “a shot in the arm” for the sport here.

    Then, there are others who said that rather than being bent on reaching that target in the international arena, the drive should be more about rekindling the passion for football among the man-in-the-street.

    In trying to inject new life into the sport again, the Government will roll out a standardised national curriculum for football across primary schools over the next two years, along with a new elite youth league at secondary school level besides the current school games.

    Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, announced this project to unite Singaporeans through football during a debate on his ministry’s budget in Parliament on Monday (March 8).

    He said that the ministry is also working with the Ministry of Defence to explore opportunities for footballers to continue training and playing at top levels while fulfilling their National Service (NS) obligations.

    The latest vision is related to the Goal 2034 ambitions mooted by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) two years ago, which is to have the national team, also known as the Lions, qualify for the 2034 World Cup.

    In 1998, Singapore launched a similar Goal 2010, but failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

    Singapore’s national men football team is now placed 158th in the Fifa World Rankings and has not won a major trophy in recent times.

    Former national footballer R Sasikumar, 46, told TODAY that people should not be fixated on achieving the target of having Singapore qualify for the 2034 World Cup.

    He said: “If you isolate (Goal 2034) as a goal, then (the project) looks a bit impossible, and obviously the sceptics will say, ‘Look, we can’t even win the Southeast Asian Games’.

    “We’ve to see this as a project that unites people and creates this community bond for something that’s common… The journey is more important.”

    Professional coach Stephen Raj, 59, said that although the new football project is “a good move”, he noted that the Under-23 ruling in the Singapore Premier League, which requires clubs to field three players under the age of 23 in their starting line-up, reduces the opportunities for older, talented footballers to play.

    This will deter people from pursuing playing football professionally in the long run, he added.

    ESTABLISHING A FOOTBALL IDENTITY

    What the football fraternity agreed on was that a national curriculum for football would help to raise interest among the young and establish a football identity in Singapore.

    Hougang United player Lionel Tan said he had observed that children today spend more time on their mobile phones rather than play football even when they are at the park.

    Having a national curriculum for football will help to raise interest in the game, as well as widen the future talent pool in the years ahead, the 24-year-old defender at the Singapore Premier League team added.

    Ms Radhika Radhakrishnan, 42, the secretary of grassroots youth football club Woodlands Lions, said that a standardised, nation-wide curriculum will ensure that everyone progresses along “the same channel”.

    “You don’t have to unlearn what you have learnt before just because (you have) another coach. We will now have a Singapore system and this is how Singapore plays,” she said.

    MORE TIME TO TRAIN DURING NS

    With a footballer’s prime years coinciding with the years when young men typically serve NS — from the age of 18 to their early 20s — it is good that the Government is exploring opportunities for footballers to train during that time, the insiders said.

    Mr Tan said that more leniency in giving time off for footballers to train would be helpful.

    Without having to rush for their training sessions after booking out from NS, players will be physically and mentally better prepared to train, he added.

    Looking beyond training here, Mr Sasikumar, who is now group chief operating officer of marketing firm Red Card Global, said that it is more important to allow footballers to play overseas to improve their skills.

    He suggested that the Government allows players who receive overseas contracts to serve NS after their contracts are over or when the players are on their end-of-season break.

    WORKING WITH COACHES

    As good as the new football plan sounds, its success will ultimately depend on its implementation, those in the field said.

    Ms Radhika, who used to run a youth football academy, said that schools may be on board with the new football curriculum, but it may be harder to secure the buy-in of football academies who will have to find ways to differentiate themselves from other private schools or academies.

    Mr Clement Teo, 55, the head coach of Hougang United, said that school coaches may not follow the techniques laid out in the curriculum as they may want to win a game at all costs.

    Mr Stephen Raj, who is an instructor at Woodlands Lions Football Club, said that in sticking to a structured plan, coaches must be flexible enough to adapt the curriculum to the different levels of the children’s capabilities and not stifle their creativity.

    CLOSER TO GOAL 2034 OR NOT

    On Goal 2034, Mr Teo of Hougang United is optimistic, saying that by setting a firm footballing foundation for the younger generation now, Singapore will be able to reach its target by that time.

    Mr Sasikumar said that the FAS must build on the momentum of the announcement and ensure that the changes are implemented all the way down to the grassroots level.

    “We can have all these plans but unless it’s executed at a ground level… this will just be a pipe dream."
    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...strategy-shot-arm-hurdles-remain-insiders-say
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Unleash the Roar: Multi-prong plan to raise S'pore's football standard, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper (tnp.sg)

    SINGAPORE FOOTBALL
    Unleash the Roar: Multi-prong plan to raise S'pore's football standard

    [​IMG]
    Sport Singapore chief executive Lim Teck Yin (far right, showing a Lions' fan T-shirt from 1994 when there was tremendous support for local football) hopes the Unleash the Roar project will help to revive the Kallang Roar. Beside him are FAS president Lim Kia Tong (centre) and FAS deputy president Bernard Tan. TNP PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
    No one magic bullet, says FAS, as observers warn of potential issues
    [​IMG]
    Dilenjit Singh

    Sub Editor
    Mar 10, 2021 06:00 am

    In explaining their blueprint for the road to World Cup 2034 yesterday, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and national sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) charted the possible progression of a budding pre-teen talent to an overseas-based Lions star.

    The kid starts out learning to love the sport in primary school under a standardised National Football Curriculum, before honing his craft at one of the School Football Academies and an elite youth league in secondary school.

    He might then be fast-tracked to continue his development at Borussia Dortmund or a La Liga club, opt for early enlistment in NS with concessions, before a career in one of Asia's top leagues and return during the international break to play for the Lions.

    That was the alluring potential pathway FAS deputy president Bernard Tan described at a press conference at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.

    Sat alongside SportSG chief Lim Teck Yin, he was divulging more details on the Unleash the Roar initiative - a national project to raise the standard of football in Singapore that was announced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong in Parliament on Monday.

    Said Tan: "There's no one single magic bullet that will bring football success.

    [​IMG]
    SINGAPORE FOOTBALL
    8 pillars for national football project
    Mar 09, 2021
    Related Stories
    Ex-Lion Stephen Ng named national women’s team coach
    Irfan Fandi is first Singaporean to win Thai League 1 title
    Privatisation the way forward for SPL: FAS chief Lim Kia Tong


    "We will need a broad-ranging re-imagination and re-energising of Singapore football to ensure that key aspects are in place to set a platform for our young ones to be able to rise to a standard that can bring consistent sustainable success."

    Singapore's last grand plan to qualify for a World Cup was first mooted in 1998, when the Goal 2010 project set the lofty target of reaching football's showpiece event in South Africa.

    Perhaps chastened by that failure, there is some scepticism of the 2034 blueprint.

    Former Lions defender Kadir Yahaya, who coached the Singapore team that won the Youth Olympics bronze medal in 2010, told The New Paper: "We always have a grand plan, from Goal 2010, to the target of being in Asia's top 10 to (former FAS technical director Michel) Sablon saying we can be like Japan by 2020.

    BEACH FOOTBALL
    "We always have plans but we never follow through... Where is the follow up, where is the succession plan?" said the St Joseph's Institution coach, who added that beach football and futsal should play more prominent roles in uplifting the standard of Singapore football.

    A veteran local football official, who declined to be named, though, suggested that World Cup 2034 might come too soon for any revamp, considering qualifiers will begin in 10 years.

    He noted that while there will be a sprinkling of youngsters who are products of the Unleash the Roar project, the bulk of the team that embarks on qualification will be between 26-29, meaning they are 16-19 now.

    He explained: " I wouldn't say it is impossible, but it'll be a huge challenge to unlearn the bad habits and inculcate the new habits that are going to be implemented.

    "The golden age of learning is 9-13... These guys who are 16-19 now... if they have been educated well, we would not have these abysmal results at the (age-group) international stage for the last few years."

    Tan admitted that he "can't make excuses for age-group results" but explained the rationale for the 2034 target.

    He said: "2030 is too short, and if we went to the public and said 2038, (around) 18 years from now, the kid may not even be born yet. A little bit tough.

    "We chose 2034 because it is a medium-term target that current participants can aspire to. We're looking at 6-12 (year olds)."

    Former Lions defender and founder of sports marketing agency Red Card Global R. Sasikumar noted that rather than getting hung up on the 2034 "destination", there should be a greater focus on "the journey that we're going to take for the next 14 years".

    He noted: "If we say in 2034, we are going to win the SEA Games gold, is that inspirational? People will start laughing and say we spent all this money to win the SEA Games... If we say we spend all this money to qualify for the World Cup, then they'll say it is ridiculous.

    "There must be a balance of understanding and expectations."

    Former Lions captain and coach Seak Poh Leong, meanwhile, felt that regardless of whether the 2034 target is met, continuity of the project is key.

    He said: "Anything with continuity will... help the situation. We are at level one, so we do something now, we can move up the levels; if we don't do anything now, we will still be at level one." - Additional reporting by Narendaren Karnageran
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Paddler Yu Mengyu stuns world No. 11 Miu Hirano in Doha
    Paddler Yu Mengyu stuns world No. 11 Miu Hirano in Doha, Latest Team Singapore News - The New Paper (tnp.sg)

    [​IMG]
    National paddler Yu Mengyu. PHOTO: COURTESY OF WORLD TABLE TENNIS (WTT)
    [​IMG]
    Dilenjit Singh

    Sub Editor
    Mar 05, 2021 06:00 am
      • National paddler Yu Mengyu did not lead at any juncture of her WTT (World Table Tennis) Contender Doha round-of-16 clash with world No. 11 Miu Hirano yesterday, until it actually mattered.
    With the tie finely poised at two games apiece, the 20-year-old Japanese starlet always looked in the box seat in the decider, until she reached match-point.

    Then Singapore's world No. 50 took over. Trailing 9-10, not only did Yu save the match-point, but she also took the game 12-10 and the match 3-2 (11-4, 6-11, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10) in Qatar.

    This is the first time Yu, who is nursing a chronic back ailment, has beaten 2016 Table Tennis World Cup winner Hirano in their last three meetings. She told The New Paper: "Both of us made some mistakes during match five.

    "However, I persevered and focused on the match point by point. I was calm and collected and I managed to execute the strategy that I had planned earlier."

    National women's team coach Hao Anlin added: "We prepared well and thoroughly analysed Hirano's play.

    "Yu Mengyu was confident and gained momentum throughout the game. Her opponent was more conservative in her play today."

    GOOD TEST
    Before the meeting with Hirano, Yu said it would prove "a good test ahead of the Olympics".

    When asked yesterday where she was at in terms of her preparation for the July 23 to Aug 8 Tokyo Games, the 31-year-old said: "I believe that I have improved technically.

    "And during this Covid pandemic, I have maintained my fitness and had time to recover from my injuries."

    Next up for Yu in the quarter-finals of the US$200,000 (S$266,000) tournament today is Thailand's world No. 41 Suthasini Sawettabut, who knocked out Singapore's top paddler and world No. 12 Feng Tianwei.
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    SINGAPORE FOOTBALL
    Irfan Fandi is first Singaporean to win Thai League 1 title
    Irfan Fandi is first Singaporean to win Thai League 1 title, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper (tnp.sg)
    [​IMG]
    Irfan Fandi (left) with fellow Singaporean Benjamin Tan, the Thai League's deputy chief executive and director of club licensing.PHOTO: BENJAMIN TAN/FACEBOOK
    [​IMG]
    Narendaren Karnageran

    Mar 05, 2021 06:00 am
      • Irfan Fandi became the first Singaporean to lift the Thai League 1 (T1) title, following his side BG Pathum United's 2-0 win over Sukhothai at the Leo Stadium, just north of Bangkok, yesterday.

    Goals from Sumanya Purisai and Victor Cardozo ensured the Rabbits remain unbeaten as they strolled to their first top-flight championship, with six games to spare in front of 1,814 fans, under the maximum of 2,500 allowed under prevailing Covid-19 guidelines.

    Coached by ex-Thailand international defender Dusit Chalermsan, Pathum have garnered an unassailable 19-point cushion over second-placed Buriram.

    Key to their triumph has been their defence, which has conceded just 11 goals in 24 matches, while keeping 15 clean sheets.

    Centre-back Irfan, 23, has been a mainstay in defence and was ecstatic at his second piece of silverware in as many years, after helping Pathum to last season's Thai League 2 title.

    "I was so focused on winning the game, I forgot we won the title," Irfan told The New Paper.

    [​IMG]
    FOOTBALL
    S'pore expects to hear football noise, again
    Mar 11, 2021
    Related Stories
    Belgian guru Michel Sablon lauds Singapore’s 2034 World Cup target
    Unleash the Roar: Multi-prong plan to raise S'pore's football standard
    ‘Unleash the Roar’ initiative to have 8 pillars


    "But the way my teammates, the fans were celebrating, then it hit me that we won the title.

    "It really is a great feeling... we have given 110 per cent in a campaign disrupted by Covid-19 and this title is immense."

    When asked what it meant for a Singaporean to be crowned a T1 champion, Irfan said: "This opens doors for Singapore players, if I can do it, any one else can do it too. It is a pathway for Singaporean players to look at my example and follow suit."

    Irfan added that Pathum will aim to finish the season unbeaten, as they prepare for next month's AFC Champions League campaign.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Commentary: From the unknown to world beaters, here’s how Malaysia raises superstar athletes
    Commentary: From the unknown to world beaters, here’s how Malaysia raises superstar athletes - CNA (channelnewsasia.com)

    Lee Chong Wei may be the biggest sporting name in Malaysia, but it is the stories of Malaysian trailblazers that draw the most envy especially from across the causeway, says Jan Lin Lee.

    upload_2021-3-19_11-39-27.png
    View attachment upload_2021-3-19_11-36-49.gif
    Nicol David holds up her gold medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta. (Photo: AFP/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

    By Jan Lin Lee
    19 Mar 2021 06:00AM(Updated: 19 Mar 2021 06:00AM)

    SAN FRANCISCO, California: Sports is a lucrative business, and sports superstars are a testament to that.

    The defining quality of a sports superstar is achieving at the highest level of their sport, and normally, making a handsome living off it.

    For sports where a nation has a strong tradition of success and the infrastructure for grooming world class athletes, the path to stardom is well-beaten. But what if it isn't?

    In Malaysia, for instance, Lee Chong Wei’s tremendous success in badminton is less of a mystery than Nicol David’s rapid rise in squash.

    Despite coming from the humble region of Southeast Asia, David was recently
    crowned the World Games' Greatest Athlete of All Time. New York Times dubbed her the Serena Williams of squash.

    Yet before David’s ascent to superstardom, Singapore’s Mah Li Lian was the indisputable squash queen and sporting icon in Southeast Asia.

    Singapore was an Asian force and top Southeast Asian nation in squash in the 1980s and 1990s, where the Singapore-Malaysia squash rivalry was like a “Causeway Derby”.

    David’s superstardom has effectively shattered the glass ceiling for Southeast Asian athletes, but the reality for Singapore squash hopefuls is it’s still a lonely road to the top.

    When the Singapore men’s squash team won the 2017 SEA Games gold medal after 22 years, TODAY reported the team had neither adequate facilities to train at nor the proper funding.

    upload_2021-3-19_11-44-27.png

    The Singapore men's squash team posing with their gold medal after beating Philippines 2-1 in the final. (Photo: Justin Ong)

    The lack of facilities came as no surprise to me as my younger brother had trained as a national junior player with the 2017 team that won gold. But the absence of financial support for talented athletes to pursue such a historical sport in Singapore is perplexing.

    What did Malaysia do right? What lessons can be learnt?

    NICOL DAVID VS GOLIATH

    Unlike the "national sport" of badminton in Malaysia, squash is not an Olympic sport. This status alone ought to have immensely reduced any government funding for squash players in both Malaysia and Singapore alike.

    Then came the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games, where squash made its debut.

    The then-14-year-old David did not win any medal, but it was the moment Malaysia came to know of David. A few months later at the Bangkok 1998 Asian Games, David would win the historic gold.

    Then something rather unusual happened.

    Government funding alone is rarely enough to transform a regionally successful athlete into a globally renowned one. On Mar 1, 2000, at just 16 years old, David landed a worldwide sponsorship deal with Malaysia's very own Hotel Equatorial.

    By 2006, as her career began to take off, CIMB Group backed her with million dollars’ worth of sponsorship. Both local corporate sponsors would become long-term sponsors of David's illustrious career, which includes being the longest-reigning world number one squash player.

    Add the vibrant Malaysian local media machine to this, and a Goliath-slaying superstar is born.


    upload_2021-3-19_11-46-28.png
    View attachment upload_2021-3-19_11-36-49.gif
    Squash legend Nicol David in action. (Photo: AFP/Giuseppe Cacae)
    Today, Malaysia has a deep well of squash talent and domestic competition is intense. But two decades ago, as a pioneer, David had to be strategic to stay competitive.

    David often credits her relocation to Amsterdam to train with Liz Irving in 2003 as the turning point of her career. This move is not unusual if one’s nation does not have a tradition or the infrastructure for success.

    READ: Commentary: Why sports still has a place in Singapore

    UNLEASHING ‘THE POCKET ROCKETMAN’

    Take Malaysia’s successful cyclists for example.

    When I was producing Azizul Awang’s short documentary just a few years ago, I came to learn of the extraordinary challenges he overcame to win both Malaysia’s and Southeast Asia’s first ever Olympic and World Champion medals in cycling.

    Nicknamed “the pocket rocketman” for his relatively small but speedy stature, the lack of track cycling facilities in Malaysia meant Awang and the small Malaysian cycling team had to relocate to Melbourne, Australia, to train under head coach John Beasley in 2007.

    READ: Commentary: COVID-19 has forced us to rethink stadiums and sports facilities

    “He’s small, he doesn’t produce a lot of power, he would fall through every crack in the system”, said Beasley who also revealed that Awang had “no money” and faced language barriers when he first arrived in Australia.

    Despite it all, Awang and Mohd Rizal Tisin would bag historical World Championships medals in 2009.

    And in the same year, Malaysia’s largest trading conglomerate Sime Darby would begin a historic three-year sponsorship deal of RM2 million (US$485,000) for the 2012 Olympic-bound cyclists.

    Remarkably, a potentially career-ending accident in 2011 and a failed Olympic medal bid in 2012 did not keep Sime Darby away from pouring in another RM2.85 million into Azizul Awang and Fatehah Mustapa in 2013 to fund their quest to win an Olympic medal at Rio 2016.

    upload_2021-3-19_11-49-43.png
    View attachment upload_2021-3-19_11-36-49.gif
    Azizul Awang at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (Photo: Reuters/Matthew Childs)
    Not only did Awang finally pick up the long-awaited Olympic medal in 2016, he followed up in 2017 to make history again with a World Champion title to Malaysia’s name.

    CIMB and AirAsia have since come alongside the father of two as major sponsors while Sime Darby pledged RM2.6 million to sponsor the next generation of young Malaysian cyclists.

    Like in squash, Singapore cyclists have also struck SEA Games gold medals in recent years: Calvin Sim (track) in 2017 and Dinah Chan (road) in 2013. Both tremendous results from a nation without proper training facilities like a velodrome, not yet at least.

    Both Sim and Chan had to leave their full-time jobs temporarily in order to pursue their sporting careers. Each had received some form of government funding or scholarship.

    Yet as the journeys of Malaysia’s Nicol David and Azizul Awang would illustrate, to shatter the regional glass ceiling in sports where Southeast Asians are the underdogs, it will take a village.

    READ: Commentary: Why success should not be the only factor in deciding what is Singapore’s national sport

    THE ‘KAMPUNG SPIRT’ LIVES ON

    With limited government funding, the private sector in Malaysia stepped in.

    Even when the private sector fall short, sheer grit and public funding sometimes can plug the financial gap. That was how Malaysia’s first Olympic figure skater, Julian Yee, who in 2016 turned to crowdfunding in his bid to become the first Malaysian to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang 2018 – and he did.

    Malaysians pulled through for the 2017 SEA Games champion, as he raised close to US$17,000 on his crowdfunding platform in his successful pursuit of his wild Winter Olympics dream.

    Though Yee did not win an Olympic medal, his successful Olympic qualification with financial support that came through “kampung spirit” makes his history-making story not quite different from Nicol David’s or Azizul Awang’s.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Still perhaps, the most stunning Malaysian sports story is in diving protege Pandelela Rinong.


    upload_2021-3-19_11-54-19.png
    View attachment 198419
    File photo of Pandelela Rinong. (Photo: Reuters)

    Rinong shocked Malaysia and the world when at 19 years old, she became the first Malaysian female athlete to win an individual Olympic bronze medal at London 2012, and then a silver at Rio 2016 in the synchronised 10m platform event with Cheong Jun Hoong.

    The media darling was then invited to grace the cover of glamour magazine Tatler Malaysia, in a high fashion shoot that cemented her as a true sports superstar.

    Rinong’s 2012 trailblazing was a major springboard for Malaysia’s crop of diving talent. Malaysian divers have won medals at every World Championships since 2013 and is today the second most successful Asian nation at the event with China taking the top spot.

    In 2017, Cheong Jun Hoong also picked up Malaysia’s first ever diving World Champion title.

    Like squash, diving only became a known sport to Malaysians at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games. Unlike squash and cycling, however, diving has not drawn much private sector support.

    Malaysian divers, who were led by Chinese coach Yang Zhuliang from 2008 to 2017, had to commute to China to train in proper facilities.

    Diving is after all a sport dominated by China, Russia and America. This keeps Malaysian divers grounded in their studies, while juggling their sporting dreams.

    Besides two Olympic medals, in 2018, Rinong graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Science Management funded by the Universiti Malaya Olympian Sports Scholarship she had received after London 2012.

    Rinong was the inaugural recipient of the scholarship, which covers tuition and accommodation as well as welfare and training allowances worth RM30,000 a year. By 2017, the scholarship was extended to 7 other Olympians, three of whom including Rinong are divers.

    upload_2021-3-19_11-55-17.png
    View attachment 198420

    Malaysia's Cheong Jun Hoong poses with her gold medal during the podium ceremony for the women's 10m platform final during the diving competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, on July 19, 2017 AFP/FERENC ISZA

    From squash to cycling to diving, these are sports where Malaysians had lacked local training facilities and were once written off at the global sporting stage.

    Yet, Malaysian athletes collectively turned the narratives around one sport at a time.

    The Olympic medals, world titles, superstardom, and for Negaraku to be heard by the world at the biggest sporting events – all that were once unthinkable, but not anymore.

    (A film producer based in California, Jan is a sports media professional who have told stories at the Olympics for over a decade.)
     
    Cheung likes this.
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Clarence Chew is first S'pore-born table tennis player to qualify for Olympics men's singles event
    Clarence Chew is first S'pore-born table tennis player to qualify for Olympics men's singles event, Sport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Clarence Chew in action at the Men's Singles Round of 16 at the 2021 World Singles Qualification Tournament in Doha.PHOTO: COURTESY OF INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION
    [​IMG]
    Laura Chia
    • PUBLISHED
      MAR 20, 2021, 6:52 PM SGT
    SINGAPORE - Clarence Chew has made history by becoming the first Singapore-born male table tennis player to qualify for the men's singles competition at the Olympics.

    The 25-year-old beat compatriot Koen Pang, the SEA Games champion, in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha on Saturday (March 20).

    Chew had raced to a four-point lead in the first game and never looked back, eventually winning 4-0 (11-7, 11-7, 15-13, 11-4) in 35 minutes at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena.

    He told The Straits Times after the final: “I still can’t really believe it but I’m very happy to have qualified. This is a lifelong dream and I will continue to work hard so that I can put on a good performance at the Olympics and do Singapore proud.

    “This is a historic moment for Singapore and I hope this achievement will inspire the younger generation to continue working hard and one day, it’ll be their turn to represent Singapore.”

    Ellen Lee, Singapore Table Tennis Association president, said the achievement is an “extraordinary feat” and an inspiration to all.

    “We are so proud of Clarence’s achievement. We are so happy for Clarence and his family and all who have played a part in his journey... I hope this will spur many of the younger generation of players to dream big and achieve their dreams.’’

    National men’s coach Gao Ning added: “Both athletes have worked so hard to be here and as a coach, it was the best feeling in the world to be able to see the results of this effort. This incredible accomplishment by Clarence is a dream come true for me. Now, (what) we need to do is to focus and continue this success into the Tokyo Olympics.’’

    The two Singaporeans had topped their respective groups in the South-east Asian contest at the tournament. Then, Chew and Pang, 18, won their semi-final matches on Friday4-1 and 4-0 respectively to set up an all-Singaporean final, guaranteeing a spot for the Republic in Tokyo.

    Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong congratulated the pair in a Facebook post on Saturday morning, ahead of the final.

    He wrote: "Both Koen and Clarence have shown tremendous improvement in the sport and this is truly a proud moment for Singapore. I wish you both the very best for the finals match, as you give it your all to clinch the Olympic spot. Go Team Singapore!"

    The last male paddler to represent Singapore in the singles at a Summer Games was China-born Gao, who donned the Republic's colours at the 2016 edition in Rio. He was eliminated in the second round.

    The Singapore women's team of Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye have already booked their spot at the July 23-Aug 8 Games. World No. 10 Feng and world No. 48 Yu will also contest the women's singles
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Family of water polo stars donates S$500,000 to help sport

    Published MARCH 21, 2021
    Updated MARCH 21, 2021
    [​IMG]

    Singapore Olympic Foundation
    The launch of the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Tan Family Water Polo Fund at Our Tampines Hub on Sunday, March 21, 2021, attended by (from left) Singapore men's national team captain Lee Kai Yang; Dr Tan Eng Liang; Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong; International Olympic Committee Vice-President Ng Ser Miang; and Singapore women's national team captain Koh Ting Ting.

    SINGAPORE — A family that has produced several national water polo players has donated S$500,000 to help fellow athletes, the Singapore Olympic Foundation said on Sunday (March 21).

    Spearheaded by Olympian Tan Eng Liang, the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Tan Family Water Polo Fund will "develop young athletes and groom elite players, so as to establish Singapore as an Asian power”, the foundation said.

    The fund was launched on Sunday at Our Tampines Hub with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong.

    “Although I only had a S$200 bursary in university, it helped me to pay the bus fare. Whatever amount you get as a national athlete is a lot, so (the fund) is just our family’s small way of supporting water polo,” said Dr Tan, who was Singapore's first Rhodes scholar.

    “Water polo brought me to the Olympics, and I benefited not only in flying the Singapore colours, but attaining other achievements while playing for the country.

    “Water polo was a life changer for me. Without water polo and academics, I would not have gotten the chance to (be awarded the) scholarship. I’m grateful for the sport.”

    The donation is eligible for one-to-one matching by the Government under the One Team Singapore Fund, the Singapore Olympic Foundation said.

    Mr Tong said: “The contributions made by Dr Tan Eng Liang and his family over the years to water polo and the sporting fraternity in Singapore have been significant and extensive.

    "This new fund will support promising and high performing water polo athletes, and help them achieve their sporting aspirations."

    International Olympic Committee vice-president Ng Ser Miang added: "The fund is an incredible way for Dr Tan Eng Liang and his family to play a key role in developing water polo in Singapore and continue his family’s legacy – as they have been doing for decades."

    FAMILY LEGACY

    Dr Tan, along with brothers Tan Eng Bock and Tan Eng Chai, as well as uncle Tan Hwee Hock, took home a gold medal at the 1954 Asian Games. They later represented the country at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, which remains Singapore’s only appearance in water polo at the Olympics.

    They were also part of the Singapore team that claimed its first SEA Games water polo gold medal in 1965, sparking a 54-year winning streak that lasted until 2019.

    Mr Tan Eng Bock’s sons, Mark and Matthew, also represented Singapore, with the latter becoming the national team captain in 1983 and winning 10 consecutive SEA Games gold medals.

    Mr Tan Hwee Hock, Mr Tan Eng Chai and Mr Tan Eng Bock all died in 2020 and early 2021. Dr Tan was "was keen to build on their legacies and enhance the support and development of the sport", the foundation said.

    “Let us rebuild, and in the immediate term push and continue to make water polo the pride and joy of Singapore,” he said. “If you look at all the team sports in Singapore, none has a more glorious history than water polo.”

    The fund will be administered by the Singapore Olympic Foundation through bursaries, scholarships and various programmes. It will aim to enable young water polo athletes to "achieve their goals", support high-performing water polo players to represent the nation, and to promote a healthy environment for the progress of the sport in Singapore. CNA

    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/family-water-polo-stars-donates-s500000-help-sport
     
  13. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Sport
    The Big Read: Goal 2034 – hard-hitting questions answered on Singapore’s ‘big, hairy, audacious aspiration’
    The Big Read: Goal 2034 – hard-hitting questions answered on Singapore’s ‘big, hairy, audacious aspiration’ (channelnewsasia.com)

    A look at Singapore's goal of having the national football team qualify for the 2034 World Cup with SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin, FAS Deputy President Bernard Tan and others.

    upload_2021-3-22_22-21-17.png

    View attachment upload_2021-3-22_22-20-23.gif View attachment upload_2021-3-22_22-18-26.gif The announcement has been met with some public scepticism, given Singapore football’s current state of affairs and the failure of a similar project to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. (Graphic: TODAY/Anam Musta'ein)

    By Jason Tan
    By Justin Ong

    22 Mar 2021 06:00AM (Updated: 22 Mar 2021 06:10AM)

    SINGAPORE: Earlier this month, the Government launched a new national project which aims to raise the standard of football among young Singaporeans.

    The latest project, dubbed Unleash the Roar, is related to the Goal 2034 ambitions mooted by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) two years ago to have the national team, also known as the Lions, qualify for the 2034 World Cup.

    The announcement has been met with some public scepticism, given Singapore football’s current state of affairs and the failure of a similar project to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

    With the work cut out for the people behind the project to win over the sceptics, TODAY's Jason Tan and Justin Ong put the tough questions to the project co-chairs, FAS deputy president Bernard Tan and Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin, as well as FAS technical director Joseph Palatsides and ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric.

    Former-professional-footballer-turned-lawyer Sudhershen Hariram and national youth footballer Zikos Chua also joined in the roundtable discussion.

    Here are the excerpts:

    Jason: We had Goal 2010 and then in 2015, former FAS technical director Michel Sablon also said that Singapore could play like Japan by 2020. So how is Goal 2034 different, and how will things be done differently?

    Bernard: I think football is very important for Singapore. It is an emotional topic, it is the most played and watched sport in Singapore and all of us actually do want Singapore to be better.

    The question we all need to ask ourselves is, have we tried our best? And let's say we have fallen short of some targets in the past, is it right to give up? And the constant refrain I get in the football community is no, because we can do better … What is important is to take events of the past, learn the lessons and move forward. And surely all Singaporeans know: we cannot give up the first time we fall, right?

    The Singapore spirit is you fall, you pick yourself up, you go again. That is the spirit of sports, that's the spirit and attitude we want to have, and certainly that's what we want to actually deliver as we move forward. So I assure you that we are very cognisant of what we did in the past, and this project is fundamentally different.

    Teck Yin: Over the years, we have had continuous discussions with different FAS leadership around aspirations, targets and approaches … And I must say that this particular project is probably one of the most well put together projects that I've seen coming out of the FAS over the years.

    It is clear about the aspiration and ambition with respect to setting an audacious goal that can excite and challenge the younger generation. When you think about football as the process and the journey, you cannot just be focusing on your senior team, you cannot just be focusing on your under-23 team.

    We've always known that you need to focus on the children and youth who are starting to play and are in school today. But the question is, how would you frame the aspiration that excites that generation — frame an aspiration that gets the parents of that generation saying, ‘I would encourage my children who want to play football, to get them involved in a programme, and I can see that there's a plan to put in place a good quality programme that will be beneficial to my child’?

    I think this project must be clearly focused on what it means to bring Singaporeans on a journey that would be, if you like, bringing back that Kallang Roar, giving that opportunity for another generation of Singaporeans to be able to experience how we as Singaporeans journey together as a nation. So I want to commend the FAS for coming up with a big, hairy, audacious aspiration like this one.

    Jason: I’m not quite sure if both of you answered the question on how will it be different this time round, from Goal 2010.

    Bernard: When Goal 2010 was announced, it was really an emphasis on trying to naturalise foreign talent into the squad. That actually brought some success — remember we actually won the Suzuki Cup, that's not something to toss away.

    But if we want a lasting long-term success, we need the base of the Singapore team to be homegrown. And this means a huge investment in developing rather than naturalising talent Unleash the Roar is all about investing in our children, and giving them an opportunity to play football at the highest level.

    The second thing is this idea of a pathway to excellence. If we want to qualify for the World Cup or to be the best in Southeast Asia, let's not beat around the bush, our best players need to play in the best leagues in the world. Every single country is looking at the same thing.

    This means we need to give pathways for our very best to experience football in ecosystems that are far in advance of us, for our footballers growing up to experience football in Europe, for our professional footballers to be playing in quicker, faster, more stringent leagues around the world. I say the domestic league will actually benefit from that push, because we have players playing in Europe, you can bet your bottom dollar that the domestic league will also improve, because players are knocking at the door of Europe.

    I just want to remind readers of just two things: The whole of the Iceland national team plays in Europe, the whole of the Brazilian team plays in Europe, except for three players. Europe is the big ecosystem but even if we managed to get our players to Japan and Korea, that’s important.

    The third big difference and I want to appeal again to all parents is this time, we have aspiration for girls. We think it's important for the girls team to also see success in football, because it is a popular game and is growing in popularity, and we want our girls to also experience it.
     
    #493 Loh, Mar 22, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2021
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Jason: Some Singaporeans are also asking where is the accountability for all these past objectives? Has any post mortem been done to see why we didn't achieve some of these goals, and what were the lessons learnt?

    Bernard: When we formulated Unleash the Roar and Goal 2034, it was based on absolutely learning from what we could have done better and Goal 2010. For us to achieve huge aspirational goals… we need the whole of Singapore to pull it together. It cannot be done by one agency, it is almost impossible unless the whole of Singapore comes together.

    Teck Yin: We need to recount some of the key milestones and the key events that football went through post 2010.

    So 2012 you have a Suzuki Cup victory, led by a very successful national coach, as well as an ageing Singapore team ... We then talked about rebuilding; rebuilding the national team, rejuvenating, and we kept a near term focus on SEA games 2015 … the effort to think about that rejuvenation led the FAS council to work with the Malaysian counterparts to get Singapore back into the Malaysian league.

    The conversations on this particular project didn't just happen in 2019, It started before, early in the term of the current FAS Council. This discussion culminated in an expression of that ambition in 2019. Plans got a little bit scuttled and derailed by the pandemic, and so we see a blank year. And now we are in 2021.

    But the average age, as well as the focus of the new Singapore Premier League (SPL), is consistent with where we are trying to go. Therefore, the SPL will have a distinct role in this project, especially in relation to the discussion on pathways of players through the domestic leagues to overseas leagues.

    So, it's not that nothing was done, but I think we have to remember the context of the day, and how things needed to be managed as we progressed. And a transformation that's required is never an easy transformation.

    READ: Commentary: World Cup 2034 may seem like a long shot but Singapore can surely get behind this dream



    [​IMG]
    In a roundtable discussion on a new national project which aims to raise the standard of football among young Singaporeans are (Top row, left to right) TODAY supervising editor Jason Tan, TODAY journalist Justin Ong, Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin, (Middle row, left to right) ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric, FAS deputy president Bernard Tan, former-professional-footballer-turned-lawyer Sudhershen Hariram, (Bottom row, left to right) FAS technical director Joseph Palatsides and national youth footballer Zikos Chua. (Photo: Zoom screengrab)

    Jason: In the past, it was common to see kids playing football in void decks of housing estates, but we don't see this anymore. How can we continue to make sure that football can be played almost anywhere?

    Bernard: One thing to understand is that we live in an urbanised country that is very densely populated and we are trying to promote a game that requires open spaces... it is something that we will look at.

    You can see reconstruction of different kinds of facilities in Housing and Development Board estates, but more importantly, we need to have a long term view of how we use our limited areas.

    We have only about 200 to 300 fields in Singapore, and we need them to be heavily used. The two things I've been pushing for are more dual use fields, to have more fields become artificial because then you can take heavy loads.

    One of the problems of grass fields is once it rains right it gets so soggy, that you can't play. We in Singapore must regard grass fields as a luxury, although we still need to have some. And then, if we can install floodlights, then we can continue to provide night playing opportunities. In many temperate countries, you can play at noon and still be fine. In Singapore, you can't do that.

    So we have constraints but that's something that we shouldn't complain about. We accept our constraints, let's see how we can overcome them.

    READ: 2034 World Cup an 'aspirational target' for Singapore, will not determine success of new national project: FAS

    Zikos: In Singapore, I did experience playing at a void deck, although there were the occasional times when you'll be chased out by neighbours and sometimes you will even have the police called on us.

    But I think if the Government could do a better job in allowing kids to play at the void decks ... you develop skills, a lot of competitiveness, a lot of fun. A lot of the top players in Brazil, they don't come from organised academies, they come from favelas (low-income informal settings) and that’s where they developed all their skills.

    Teck Yin: We acknowledge that in all sports, unstructured play on a daily basis, outside of programmes that parents sign the kids up for are a very important part of skills and social development.

    Zikos is absolutely correct that when we look at the successful football-playing nations, or in any particular sport, the opportunity for getting out there on a daily basis for children to play in unstructured settings, outside of programmes, is an important part of that development.

    Ironically, in Singapore, given the amount of structure and system, and how we manage facilities, we would probably need a structure to allow unstructured play … we actually have spaces that people can play, but a certain level of marketing, encouragement, and even ironically, programming, might be necessary to help people understand what's accessible and available for them to do so.

    Of course, I would have to encourage town councils not to lock the futsal courts and only make it available based on booking. There's obviously some concern around vandalism and maintenance and stuff like that. But if we are going to do this well, we need to keep (spaces) open. Specific to this project, we will be looking to ensure the accessibility of these spaces in neighbourhoods.

    READ: Commentary: Is it mission impossible for Young Lions at the SEA Games?
     
  15. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Justin: National Service (NS) has always been seen as a challenge to aspiring football players. How will it be different this time round and what kind of support can footballers realistically expect?

    Bernard: If you look at the development of a footballer, it’s a late development sport. You can be a gold medal gymnast at the Olympics at the age of 15, you can actually be quite a strong swimmer by the time you're 17, 18. But if you want to make it at a top level of football, usually people tell you, you peak at 26, 27.

    The critical ages for the development of football is from 18 to 21, perhaps to 23. Obviously there are exceptions, you see people who are playing at 16 and 15 at the adult game.

    But in general, the ages of 18 to 21 are extremely crucial. And obviously, that's when NS is served. So really, we have looked at ways in which we can work with NS, to see that the development of the footballer is not compromised.

    One way is early enlistment. If you can enlist at 16 and a half or sooner, you're really at the bottom of the (development) window of 18 (when you complete full-time NS), and you still have your whole career to develop. I think that is the way I will frame the challenge: Not that we cannot do NS but that we need to keep the development window.

    Justin: You said that one aim is to send players to overseas leagues. But there was the whole saga with Ben Davis. Will there be any exemptions or deferments granted for people to play in overseas leagues?

    Teck Yin: Whenever we talk about Ben Davis, we must not misconstrue the context of the conversation. The issue for Ben Davis was very simple, the moment Ben Davis and his family were not willing to commit when Ben Davis will come back to Singapore, that was the end of the conversation.

    You have grown up in Singapore, you have benefited from the Singapore system. NS is an obligation to keep a successful and secure Singapore going. We owe that to the whole country. At the systems level, we have always worked with the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) ... the Singapore Armed Forces sportsman scheme is one such scheme that enshrines that policy of balance in implementing the schemes. We have always looked at the specific circumstances of a specific athlete and the campaign.

    So, whether it's early enlistment, whether it's delayed enlistment, or even enlisting at the end of your polytechnic education for many of the Sports School students who move to the Institute of Higher Learning, It is discussed in the specific context of the athlete and the campaign. So, we will engage in this discussion with MINDEF in the same way. Fundamentally, is deferment absolutely necessary, or is this a case where early enlistment is better suited? Or is this the case that the particular athlete is still studying at one of our polytechnics while plying his skills on the football field, and therefore can enlist after that, and does that relate to a particular SEA Games campaign?

    So we will have to look at the circumstances… but at no time should football distract us from the NS obligation. And at no time should we allow the Ben Davis case to be used or construed as something it is not.

    READ: Commentary: Singapore has its first multimillion-dollar football signing. But what next?


    Justin: I understand Zikos is going to enlist in April this year. What are your hopes for your enlistment experience?

    Zikos: I'm quite looking forward to it. because it is going to be a new experience for me, but at the same time, it's very high up in my goals that I am able to play and train consistently at the same time.

    Teck Yin: Let me share a conversation I had with Zikos when he was 16. I asked him, I said, ‘What is your pathway?’ He looked at me a little bit puzzled. He said, ‘I don't know what you mean by pathway’. I said, ‘what's your next step in football?’ And he said to me, ‘I don't really know. I just want to play as much as I can play.’ In this project, players need to be mentored, with respect to the pathway and the options.

    Children and youth come into the game, passionate and enthusiastic to play, have fun, and at some point to be the best player they can possibly be … I'm assuming that Zikos wants to represent Singapore at the senior national team. He's an intelligent lad (who has) found ways to play football and to study … very clear in his obligations about going to NS.

    But the conversation that we need to have with Zikos, is how do we keep your skills, how do we keep your fitness, how do we give you a football pathway, during NS and beyond. It cannot be a black hole ... and this project is meant to make sure that at even a younger age, football and the future for youths is not a black hole.

    READ: New national project for football to encourage youths to train and go professional

    Joseph: Every player could be different as well and that's why we have to be open to all different scenarios. A lot of players who are ready to enlist have different pathways.

    There's the educational element, the academic element that we want to consider, and maybe some issues, such as personal family issues that we have to consider. There’s no right or wrong in all this ... we have to work within the guidelines, and all we need to do is just enhance them to make sure that there's continued development during this period of time and Zikos made it very clear that he's looking forward to how NS can shape him as a person as well which I think it's very important to take away.

    But at the same time, he wants to see how best he can continue to develop as a footballer. NS is a big part of Singapore and we respect that to the utmost. What we need to do is just develop a plan, and it's great to see that we've got open communications, and a willingness to make things better.

    Jason: What if Zikos gets enlisted into a combat vocation? How then do you work with MINDEF to ensure that his so-called footballing pathway remains at the highest possible level for him?

    Teck Yin: Rather than talk about his case, I'd rather talk about my case. Because I played with the national water polo team for 12 years. And in all of those 12 years I was in the army. There were even occasions where I had to train and prepare and play when I was a commanding officer of a battalion. There were occasions when I found myself in Brunei for extended periods of time.

    I dare say that the mentality and the mindset of being able to adapt to your situation and put in the work that you need to put in is a critical component of an intelligent and successful athlete.

    Conditions, even beyond NS, may never be ideal for the player or the athlete. You may be free of NS, but you may be dealing with a nagging injury. You may be free of NS, but find yourself playing in a professional league, but also desiring in your own aspiration to work in another job.

    We have many national athletes who compete at a very high level, at the global level, who actually desire to do some form of work. So I think we have to be able to deal with the specifics of the day for the players in question.

    In the other case of the swimmers that we had to look at for deferment, there was a clear physiological and performance degradation in their performance in the water-based environment that we were able to track. That enabled us to seek long term deferment. So different sports are a bit different.

    And I think football in this case, can do the work with NS. And people may disagree... but I would hope that our footballers will not only just embrace NS, but use that as an opportunity to become a stronger athlete.

    READ: 2034 World Cup a 'realistic' goal for Singapore football, says FAS VP Edwin Tong: Report
     
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Aleksander: I served in the army also when I was growing up … I joined the army when I was 17 and I also became an officer. My time spent in army made me grow up as a person, become stronger mentally and physically. I juggled all my officer duties with football training. I think we are just making too many excuses. NS is one of the good things in their lives.

    This can be done, they just need to really balance everything, (know) what you really want. And maybe from their military camp, we can work closely with them, maybe give them some special training to do on their own, or send some coaches inside the camps, and get them maybe to train a couple of times a week in camp.

    Sudhershen: The easy option may be to just say that it's so difficult or you can try and do something about it. And then there's the other part of it which is what the people who make the decisions can help you with.

    So it's good to hear that it's on a case-by-case basis. You can’t just have a cookie cutter sort of policy that applies to everyone … it has to be a holistic thing where everything is taken into consideration and we move away from the mindset of thinking that it's an either-or situation. The realities of how we are in Singapore, whether it's NS, whether it's education, they have to coexist. And I do agree that in NS, certain experiences you go through are transferable to your footballing career — the way you approach things, your mental strength, and it does make a difference.

    And then you have to also take the initiative to try and make things work, sometimes they won't. But you will never know until you try.

    Justin: The state of the domestic league is putting some people off pursuing a professional football career. How will FAS work with parents and change their mindsets on football as a viable career?

    Bernard: Anything that we do in the Singapore Premier League is actually a decision that's made in conjunction with the club chairmen so I'm not going to touch on specific changes. Maybe what I can offer is a perspective of sports as a career.

    There's an increasing number of parents who believe that the stairway to achievement is not just in academia. To be a well rounded person, you need something else, whether it's in the music or the arts, or in sports. I want my child to have multiple experiences. We have progressed in society, where there are multiple routes to achievement.

    With that as a backdrop, I think more and more parents will be allowing their kids to pursue their love for sports. What we are offering is a chance for you to go as far as you can, a stairway to go right to the very top ... I want our best players to be playing in the best leagues in the world.


    [​IMG]
    A Singapore Premier League match between Balestier Khalsa FC (red) and Tampines Rovers FC (white) at Toa Payoh stadium on Mar 17, 2021. (Photo: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor)
    Justin: Zikos, what are your hopes for your career in football?

    Zikos: I think that Goal 2034 provides a clear target for us as footballers that we should work towards on a daily basis. I hope to see myself playing in perhaps a top Asian league or even in Europe, in the future. And I would like to see how far football can take me and give my best.

    Joseph: I don't think anyone plays a sport (thinking) about what job I can have at the end of it all. If you ask Aleksandar, how was it when he won the Suzuki Cup? Will he ever forget those moments, for example? No he won’t.

    And when you win a gold medal or when you win a last minute community game because you scored a goal at the end or the goalkeeper saved the penalty shootout, they are the moments that enrich your life experiences.

    If you make a career out of it, then that's just a bonus. But I think getting people to be involved in the game, whichever game it is, and giving them different pathways... they're the type of things that we want to provide for the children of Singapore.

    After that, if we grow our ecosystem to the level that we all desire, then I think those opportunities will rise for everyone in different roles which could be football related or not.

    Sudhershen: There seems to be a prevailing mindset — I don't know whether it's peculiar to Singapore — that just because you play football (professionally), you're entitled to a job after that, and that you have to be taken care of. I don't think that's fair.

    You go into it with your eyes open, and nobody owes you a job after that to make sure that you're employed for the rest of your life, whether in football or not. It cannot be the case that anytime you join a company, it is then responsible for the rest of your life right?

    So it's good to hear that there will be jobs available for the players to choose, whether they want to go and apply for it or not.

    READ: Commentary: Could Sea Group’s Forrest Li be the next Singaporean owner of a global football club?

    Jason: Bernard has suggested that Singapore models itself after Iceland, by having its football talent play in overseas leagues. How will FAS prepare Singaporeans for that? What other lessons has it learned from Iceland?

    Bernard: First, the question is, why do we want to aim high? In 14 years, do we anticipate that more and more Southeast Asian players will be playing in Europe?

    And the answer must be yes. Unless you're exposed to the top end of the game, it's very hard for you to improve. So the whole idea here is for our athletes to aim for the top. It is not a static game, it is a competitive game. If our youth development is not preparing children who are able to play in the Singapore Premier League at a very young age, do you honestly think a European scout will pick them up?

    They have to be playing, they have to be debuting at an early age. Our teams must do well in Asian Football Confederation competitions, because that's where scouts watch you … we need to make sure that we develop our players faster. We want them to debut faster.
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Jason: Do you truly believe that we have enough local football talent to play high-tempo, possession-based football and compete against the best in the world? Even China — one of the biggest countries in the world, with a 1.4 billion population, a lot of money invested in recent years in its own league, paying huge contracts to international stars — has nothing to show for so far.

    Bernard: What has China done wrong? How many of their players play in Europe? If you try to bring European and Brazilian football to China, I think it becomes Chinese football, rather than European, Brazilian football.

    The only way that China can go up in the rankings is to have their players playing in the Premier League. Until China does that, they won't be competing in the top 50. The Japanese team has at least six playing in the top five leagues in the UK.

    Unless you get your players playing the top leagues in the world, no matter how much money you throw at the league won’t make the difference. So we need to set our objectives clear. We want our best players to play against the best in the world.

    Joseph: You talked about the possession-based, high-tempo style of play. We know global trends suggest that that is the most successful form of play at this current time. And that's why most of the best clubs in the world play this style of play.

    Not everyone does, because there's more than one style of play to be successful… But in terms of youth development, that is the best way to go and I can tell you we have looked at the last three SEA games, and we can see that the data tells us that (teams which play this style) got to the finals.

    So we want to build towards a successful style of play. If our youth development model is implemented correctly, then there's no reason why our players cannot play in the Singapore Premier League at a very young age, but we need to have a pool of players capable of doing this, not one or two… How do we make our youth development model so functional that we're creating more than one or two players, that we're creating a pool of players... to make sure that we are successful over a sustainable period of time? That's what we're trying to put in place now.

    Sudhershen: Whether there is enough talent locally, I think the answer is yes. And it's been shown that at the younger ages we have been able to compete, so it's not a question of whether the talent exists.

    It's more about whether we can harness the talent in such a way that they then go on to the professional level and continue to produce at a high enough level. I understand that one way of doing it is to try and push them as fast as possible and give them exposure.

    And it helps that the younger players get to train with the older players early… because I think it is accepted that if you train with better players, you do get better.

    READ: Commentary: COVID-19 will plunge EPL clubs into financial woes

    Justin: Unlike Goal 2010, Goal 2034 seeks to develop local talent instead. However, various countries have naturalised talent playing in their national football teams, including Qatar which is hosting the 2022 World Cup, and powerhouses such as Spain and Portugal. Where do we stand on this?

    Bernard: We always must stay open to foreign talent. But the challenge is actually different today. When Goal 2010 was announced, naturalisation was actually quite easy. But today the rules of naturalisation under FIFA (the international football federation) are slightly more complicated.

    They require you to have a link to the country, or to have a residency requirement of five years. For us to actually attract foreign talent ... we need to start early. And so one of the challenges we are trying to think through is: How do we get a foreign talent pipeline coming into Singapore?

    There are a few things we can think about. One is obviously scholarships for them to complete their secondary schools as well as maybe junior college education in Singapore, while they're playing football.

    There are two benefits to this: (The player) starts early, he gets to understand Singapore from an early age. Even if he doesn't become a naturalised national team player, our local players will be training with better footballers from other countries... it will lift the capability of our players... You don't have to look so far as Qatar, all our Southeast Asian neighbours, you can go through the entire list, they all have naturalised players.

    Justin: Away from the men's game, will there also be a push for the national women's team to qualify for the World Cup?

    Bernard: What we want for the women’s team is to strive for glory in Southeast Asia. I think that's a good target for them.

    Whether they qualify or not qualify, I want a women's team to be the team that no one wants to play against… the women's game has challenges that are significantly different from the men’s game... we first need to look at participation.

    We need more girls to play in Singapore… Parents shy their kids away from it… that's one big area that we need to look at. We need to start early. Very few Primary Schools offer girls football, and we're trying to work on that.

    We are also making sure that academies look at girls as well as boys... Technically, we also need to look at areas in the girl’s game where the challenges are significantly different — the strength, the agility and the size do suggest that the way the girls’ game is played is slightly different.

    This is something that we are in constant communication with the women's football fraternity themselves. Certainly what I would like to see at the end of Goal 2034 is a women's national team that little girls aspire to play for.


    [​IMG]
    Tampines Rovers supporters watching a Singapore Premier League match between Balestier Khalsa FC and Tampines Rovers FC from an overhead bridge near Toa Payoh stadium on Mar 17, 2021. (Photo: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor)

    Justin: In light of the disappointment over past failings, what is your message to Singaporeans to rally them around this project?

    Bernard: To have a good Singapore football team and for Singapore to excel in sports, the whole community needs to support the venture and needs to support our athletes... what I'm asking for is, please support our children, because ultimately they're the ones who will go through the pipeline and deliver glory to Singapore.

    We have a dream. We will facilitate that dream. We will put in place the structures that will enable the children to achieve those dreams. What we're asking for is parents to support the kids and for the community to do so as well.

    Teck Yin was saying whether we can keep certain areas free for kids to play. To me, that's necessary, because kids have too few places to play. So if older footballers (can) take the slots at 9pm to 11pm to play because that's when kids can’t play… let the kids have slots that can fit into their school timetable.

    All of us as a community can play our part. And what I'm asking for is the whole of Singapore to come together to achieve this dream.

    Source: TODAY/ic
     
  18. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    ‘A long time coming’: Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation forms first women’s national team

    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...w-federation-forms-first-womens-national-team

    By NABILAH AWANG
    Published MARCH 27, 2021


    [​IMG]
    Nur Ezzaty Putri Rohaizat (foreground), 15, performs the backstroke spike during a practice match.
    Eileen Chew/TODAY

    Singapore now has its first women national sepak takraw team
    This was an initiative of the Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation's new leadership
    The federation made the move after noting the potential in female players here
    Trials last December saw more than 50 sign-ups but only nine players were selected
    The players are aged between 15 and 23

    SINGAPORE — At the age of 11, Nur Ezzaty Putri Rohaizat would spend hours after school watching her neighbours play sepak takraw at their public housing estate in Telok Blangah before going home to practise kicking techniques she learned from YouTube videos.

    Now, the 15-year-old Queenstown Secondary School student is Singapore’s youngest player in its first women national sepak takraw team, which is set to compete in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2023.

    Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, allows players to use only their feet, knee and head to touch a rattan ball. Each team consists of three players: A server, feeder and striker.

    The team’s head coach Padzli Othman, 55, told TODAY that the formation of the female team has been “a long time coming”.

    “For years, I have seen women play on the court in housing estates but they never got the chance to play in a league. This is a good opportunity for them,” the former national sepak takraw player said.

    Mr Mohd Nasri Haron, president of the Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation (Perses), said that the formation of the national women's sepak takraw team is an initiative of the federation’s new leadership, which had noted the potential of female players here.

    He added that Perses hopes to make sepak takraw a more inclusive sport.

    While plans to form the team were put in place two years ago, the federation could start trials only after the Government eased some of the Covid-19 restrictions last year.

    Trials for the team held in December saw more than 50 sign-ups but just nine players were selected. The players are aged between 15 and 23.

    [​IMG]
    The new female national sepak takraw team aims to compete at the SEA Games in Cambodia in 2023. Photo: Eileen Chew/TODAY

    Mr Nasri said that Perses would be holding a match on Sunday (March 27) to look out for more talents to beef up the women’s national team.

    The team plans to make its debut at the King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championships in Bangkok in September this year before competing in the regu category in the SEA Games in two years. The regu category is played by three players on each team.

    At the 2019 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Thailand nabbed the gold for the women’s regu, Vietnam the silver and the Philippines and Malaysia shared the bronze medal.

    NOT A MALE-DOMINATED SPORT

    Ezzaty, who plays the position of striker, whose goal is to execute volleys into the opponent's court, said she was shocked that she made the cut, especially when she had never received any formal sepak takraw training.

    But as the tallest player in the team — at 1.68m — Ezzaty said that her height allows her to jump high and do flips to spike the ball into the opponent’s court.

    She added half-jokingly: “It’s also the biggest challenge for me because I’m very scared of heights.”
    READ ALSO
    SEA Games: Michelle Sng wins Singapore's first women’s high jump gold in 52 years after successful appeal

    [​IMG]
    Nur Ezzaty Putri Rohaizat, aged 15, is the youngest member of the new female national sepak takraw team. Photo: Eileen Chew/TODAY

    Like Ezzaty, Nurul Ilyana Mohd Sokih did not expect to make it into the national team.

    The 18-year-old fitness training student at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) recalled feeling intimidated when playing sepak takraw with her male friends at the court near her housing estate in Marsiling in the last three years.

    Ilyana, who plays the server position — also called the tekong — said: “I get teased a lot when I play with my friends at my housing estate. I felt like, sometimes, they look down on me because they think that only men can play this sport.”

    But she is determined to prove them wrong, even practising five times a week to master the serving technique called the “horse kick”, where a player kicks the ball over her shoulder or head.

    “As a female player, one of the advantages as a tekong is that we can execute the horse kick because we are a bit more flexible,” she said.

    Nur Haziqah Rosli, 17, who plays the position of both the server and the feeder, agreed that female players tend to be agile and can execute many acrobatic kicks, spikes, and serves.

    The ITE student is pursuing a National ITE Certificate in security technology.

    Haziqah, the fourth out of six siblings, has three older brothers who were national sepak takraw players before they resigned and a father who was a former sepak takraw umpire.

    She said that in her free time, she watches matches between women’s teams in other countries to pick up different techniques.

    Her father, who was initially shocked that she was selected for the women’s national team, lends his support by training her at least once a week.

    Having played the sport since she was 10, Haziqah said that her goal is to become a versatile player able to play all three positions.

    “My father always told me not to give up. He wants me to go far and represent our national team,” she said. “That’s why I’m training hard right now because that’s my dream, too.”

    Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/singapo...w-federation-forms-first-womens-national-team
     
  19. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Athletics: Back on track, Soh Rui Yong hits SEA Games qualifying mark in 1,500m
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Soh is aiming to qualify for the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Vietnam SEA Games if selected.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
    [​IMG]
    Sazali Abdul Aziz
    Correspondent
    • PUBLISHED
      MAR 27, 2021, 10:52 PM SGT

    SINGAPORE - Despite running his first track race in almost two years, top national marathoner Soh Rui Yong cruised to victory in the men's 1,500m event at the Singapore Athletics All Comers 2 event on Saturday (March 27) evening.

    So comfortable was he on the Home of Athletics track at Kallang that he easily cleared the qualifying mark for the year-end SEA Games in Vietnam with his 4min 5.19sec performance.

    His time also betters the gold medal winning time of 4:06:63 clocked by Vietnam's Duong Van Thai at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.

    However, it is uncertain if Soh, who won the marathon gold at the 2015 and 2017 editions of the SEA Games, will get the nod for the 2021 edition if he is nominated by Singapore Athletics. The Singapore National Olympic Council's selection committee meets in August.

    Ahead of the 2019 Games, he was not selected as the SNOC's selection committee said then that Soh's "attitude and behaviour" in the two years prior fell short of what it expected of national athletes.

    The SNOC and Soh had previously clashed on a number of occasions, including before the 2017 SEA Games when he was issued a formal warning by SNOC over a breach of regulations regarding the promotion of his personal sponsors on social media during the Games. He had also reportedly upset Singapore Athletics sponsor 2XU after cutting holes in his race vest during the marathon final.

    Soh's non-selection had sparked a debate over whether a potential medallist should be barred from representing the country because of issues pertaining to conduct.

    Soh, who had not competed on the track since June 2019, told The Straits Times on Saturday that he would be "happy to race" at the Vietnam SEA Games if selected. He is also aiming to qualify for the 5,000m and 10,000m, which were his pet events before he switched to the marathon in late 2014.

    When asked how he would feel if he were not selected again, he said: "I wouldn't say I would be disappointed, but I would be looking for some answers. Because I don't think you can keep an athlete out of the SEA Games indefinitely, especially when he has qualified hard and fast."

    The SNOC's website states that selection for the Vietnam Games will also be based on non-performance related considerations such as "attitude and behaviour… whether in relation to sporting matters or otherwise", general conduct and character and past disciplinary records.

    Singapore Athletics president Lien Choong Luen noted that nominations are not due until July, instead pointing to others who have hit qualifying benchmarks. High jumper Michelle Sng, who won gold at the 2017 SEA Games, also met the qualifying mark for this year's Games, clearing 1.78m.

    "We are really happy they have met these marks, and it shows they are progressing well," said Lien. "In the case of Rui Yong, to get such a good time in an event he doesn't race regularly hopefully means he will also do well in his pet events. We have time (before nominations are due) and we can have a conversation around what our overall strategy is."

    Soh, 29, said he decided to switch his focus to the track for the first half of the year because marathon racing opportunities are limited during the pandemic.

    But he eventually aims to return to the marathon. He will be competing at the Chicago Marathon in October, when he hopes to qualify for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, which both take place in 2022. The benchmark for the Asiad is 2:23:42 - Soh's national record is 2:23:44 - and the Commonwealth Games' qualifying mark is 2:22:39.

    [​IMG]
    Soh Rui Yong (right), competing at the 1500m marathon event at Singapore Athletics' All Comers 2 event on Mar 27, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

    "I'm a marathon runner, that's my identity," he said. "I love doing these other (events) too but eventually, if I'm going to reach a higher level of success, it's in the marathon."

    Soh's plan has been boosted by a four-year endorsement deal with apparel brand Under Armour to be a part of its global athlete programme, signed earlier this year. While he declined to reveal financial terms, it is understood to be worth a six-figure sum.

    A major pull factor, he said, was the chance to train with Dark Sky Distance, Under Armour's professional running team based in Arizona.

    At Saturday's All Comers event, two Singaporeans also qualified for the Asian Youth Games in Guangdong, China, in November. Sprinter Mark Lee, 17, clocked 10.92s in the 100m race to clear the benchmark of 11.19s, while thrower Aloysius Loh, also 17, heaved the shot put (5kg) 16.70m to surpass the 15.32m qualifying standard.
     
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    16,830
    Likes Received:
    905
    Occupation:
    Stock Broker
    Location:
    Singapore Also Can
    Football is very popular in Singapore, but I play badminton. However the last time I enjoyed watching the Euro Cup at one of our community centres.
     

Share This Page