Football team's goal: Being dads for life

Social and Family Development Minister Mr Tan (wearing yellow sneakers) at the launch of the Dad's for Life football team at yesterday's Dad's Day Out carnival.
Social and Family Development Minister Mr Tan (wearing yellow sneakers) at the launch of the Dad's for Life football team at yesterday's Dad's Day Out carnival.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

New squad, which includes ex-national players and MPs, to promote fatherhood

They're more "men united" than Man United. Dad's for Life is a new football team whose goal is more winning hearts than winning games.

Including former Singapore players, Members of Parliament and fathers from all walks of life, the 24-strong squad will play matches against teams from schools, businesses and community organisations in an effort to promote good fatherhood.

The team was launched at Singapore Sports Hub at an event to celebrate Father's Day which included activities such as shoulder and neck massages and a relay race inspired by the Singapore Armed Forces' standard obstacle course.

Members of the new team, along with their jersey, were unveiled by Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo.

The squad includes MPs Teo Ser Luck and Seah Kian Peng.

It wants to promote the Centre for Fathering's Dad's for Life movement, which aims to inspire fathers to be a good influence on their children, through football and other community activities.

COMMITMENT

It is always difficult. You’ve got to have discipline.

MR R.SURIAMURTHI, an ex-national player,on juggling work and fatherhood

Team to play first match this weekend

Ex-national players R. Suriamurthi, Lim Tong Hai, Zakaria Awang and goalkeeper Lionel Lewis are also part of the squad.

However, the team will only play "social football" and manager Collin Chee said: "We're not here to beat anybody."

The team's first match will be a five-a-side friendly against fathers attending the Families for Life picnic at East Coast Park on Saturday.

Player Yuen Chee Onn, 56, who is head of outreach at the Centre for Fathering, said: "We chose fathers who we think are good role models."

Mr Suriamurthi, 58, said that good time management was vital for juggling the intense training sessions of professional soccer and the responsibilities of looking after his son, who is now 19. "It is always difficult. You've got to have discipline."

Mr Tan said at the event that children "should be right at the top" of a father's priorities instead of being put on "leftover time".

The father of two, who spends time with his children outdoors while pursuing his interest in landscape photography, added that children will "grow up very quickly" and "you cannot turn back the clock".

"Be there for them," he said. "I think it makes a lot of difference."

Elsewhere in Singapore yesterday, opportunities for honouring fathers were plenty, with discounts being offered by retailers, special menus at restaurants and a carnival at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to celebrate inter-racial and inter-religious harmony.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Football team's goal: Being dads for life'. Print Edition | Subscribe