Return to the real grassroots of Singapore football

The word "grassroots" has often been used to drum up support for Singapore football.

But in most quarters, the word seems to have been lost in translation.

For most of the football authorities here, the grassroots seem to end at the National Football League (NFL) level (FAS election key battle builds up; March 21).

In the run-up to the Football Association of Singapore's first open election, reference was made to the NFL clubs that are courted by aspirants in their ballot chase, calling them the grassroots of local football

They may be theoretically right, as the grassroots refers to the "most basic level of an activity or organisation".

However, the real grassroots of Singapore football are the hundreds of ordinary people who play the game every weekend.

These are the people who sacrifice time and effort to turn up at pitches all across the island, rain or shine.

Their passion is untainted by pursuits of fame or fortune.

But all too often, they are neglected by the football fraternity.

Often, we hear the upper echelons of football complain about the lack of talent, but this is where the raw talents are. Just ask the greats of Singapore football where their passion and foundation in the sport came from.

It is time to return to the real grassroots of Singapore football - the people who love it most.

Ian Morris

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Return to the real grassroots of Singapore football'. Print Edition | Subscribe