Business as usual for Game Changers team

Game Changers leader Bill Ng walking into  Fullerton Bay Hotel on April 13 to applause from his team members, including (from left) Lai Boon Teck, Samad Allapitchay and Christopher Wong.
Game Changers leader Bill Ng walking into Fullerton Bay Hotel on April 13 to applause from his team members, including (from left) Lai Boon Teck, Samad Allapitchay and Christopher Wong.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Even with its presidential hopeful implicated in a police investigation into the possible misuse of funds at Tiong Bahru Football Club, it was business as usual for the Game Changers yesterday.

Mr Bill Ng's team for the April 29 Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election went ahead with its planned meeting with affiliates from the amateur National Football League (NFL), women's teams and interest groups.

This, even as investigators from the Commercial Affairs Department were seizing computers and carting away boxes of documents from Hougang United, Tiong Bahru and Woodlands Wellington - clubs connected to Mr Ng.

Tampines Rovers chairman and lawyer Krishna Ramachandra, a vice-presidential candidate on Mr Ng's slate, told The Straits Times: "The team is totally intact and it is interesting how some quarters are expecting us to fold and wilt away.

"We remain united and will handle challenges as they come our way. Frankly, it's the hallmark of the way a team should operate."

Said Game Changers' spokesman Steven Tan: "The full slate for the election for Team Game Changers has been confirmed... and the team is looking forward to it."

The Game Changers nominated a slate of nine, with Hougang United chairman Mr Ng as its presidential hopeful, and four individual candidates for council seats. They face Team LKT led by former FAS vice-president and lawyer Lim Kia Tong.

The Game Changers met representatives from 15 affiliates at a Bussorah Street restaurant, where they presented their plans for the NFL.

But senior figures like Mr Ng, deputy president nominee Lau Kok Keng, and vice-president nominees Annabel Pennefather and Teoh Chin Sim were absent, while Mr Krishna left after a short while.

Akihiro Nakamura, president of NFL Division 2 club GFA Victoria, said: "I really thought that there wouldn't be any election but I am happy to hear (the Game Changers') plans."

The mood at Hougang seemed different though. Players The Straits Times spoke to declined comment.

But even without its charismatic chairman, who turned the once-ailing club around, Hougang will play on. Its next match is a home game against Balestier Khalsa on April 27.

However, the situation dismayed local football officials. A veteran official said: "This is the lowest depth I have seen Singapore football sink."

Another club official added: "It is painful to hear such news. If it is true that there is misuse of funds, it will be frustrating to think of how that money can be used to provide proper training to kids.

"Also, this has taken away all focus on the good things local clubs are doing. Good work has been overshadowed, and the reputation of other clubs may also suffer."

• Additional reporting by Chua Siang Yee

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'Business as usual for Game Changers team'. Print Edition | Subscribe