Football: Duric gets top local coaches for ActiveSG programme

(From right) ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric and head coaches Richard Bok, Robin Chitrakar and Hairil Amin talking to players from Juying Secondary. Duric says the programme aims to teach not only footballing tactics but also lif
(From right) ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric and head coaches Richard Bok, Robin Chitrakar and Hairil Amin talking to players from Juying Secondary. Duric says the programme aims to teach not only footballing tactics but also life skills.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

It is already one of the most affordable grassroots football initiatives, but participants are about to get more value for money, after ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric unveiled his team of head coaches yesterday.

They are former S-League coaches Richard Bok, Steven Tan and Robin Chitrakar, as well as experienced youth coaches Hyrizan Jufri and Hairil Amin.

Clearly delighted with his line-up, Duric, a former national footballer and eight-time S-League winner, said: "Many top football players in the country have worked with them before and I believe the children in our academy will blossom under their care - not just for football skills, but also the life skills needed to excel in whatever they do."

Bok won four S-League titles with Singapore Armed Forces FC (now known as Warriors FC), while Tan and Chitrakar are former internationals who had coached Tampines Rovers and the Young Lions respectively.

Hairil, a former goalkeeper, cut his teeth at Home United's Centre of Excellence, where he nurtured, among others, national striker Khairul Nizam.

Hyrizan holds an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Pro Diploma licence, the highest coaching qualification offered by the continent's ruling body.

Each will helm one of five centres spread over the island and run the academy's June holiday programme (May 28-June 26), which costs $130 for 14 sessions. ActiveSG members can use their credits to offset 30 per cent of the fee.

Bok, a three-time S-League Coach of the Year, said the programme's values, which include resilience and teamwork, were what drew him to the academy set-up.

Each head coach will have four assistants at the centres, where they will incorporate elements of the Football Association of Singapore's revamped National Football Syllabus. The scheme is targeted at children aged six to 12 and organisers have set an initial target of 500 kids. Around 200 have signed up so far.

Former national player Quah Kim Song, one of the academy's ambassadors, hailed the initiative's reach.

He said: "Programmes like these can unearth some good talent. It keeps them off the streets, keeps them engaged, and hopefully we can find two or three players who can make it far.

"At this age, what's most important is to let them enjoy the game and if they like it, pursue it with passion."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'Duric gets top local coaches for ActiveSG programme'. Print Edition | Subscribe