Football: Getting a kick out of Women's Football Day

Furious action during a tournament for girls at the Women's Football Day in Kallang yesterday.
Furious action during a tournament for girls at the Women's Football Day in Kallang yesterday.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
MCCY Minister Grace Fu (left) participating in an exhibition match between the women’s national team and the management of the Football Association of Singapore and 
Sport Singapore.
MCCY Minister Grace Fu (left) participating in an exhibition match between the women’s national team and the management of the Football Association of Singapore and Sport Singapore.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Some were not even in their teens, while others were seasoned veterans. The boots on parade, as befitting a girls'/women's football tournament, were more colourful than a rainbow.

Indeed, variety was the name of the game at the second annual Women's Football Day (WFD) at the Home of Athletics (formerly known as Kallang Practice Track).

Yesterday's event, which attracted 45 teams, was organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in conjunction with International Women's Day.

The 550 girls and women were also joined by their loved ones, with seven-a-side, five-a-side, Under-12 two-a-side Panna Challenge and Family Fun 3s tournaments.

Said parts specialist Ruzi Tumain, 43, whose daughter Nur Syazwani, 15, played for the Wondergirls team: "Today was great as it is like a family event and we would appreciate having more of such events in future."

The event also signalled the start of the women's football season, with the Women's Premier League (WPL) kicking off next Saturday.

The carnival-style festivities were graced by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who also got a taste of the action by participating in an exhibition match between the women's national team and the management of the FAS and Sport Singapore.

She said: "I'm seeing the number of participants growing and many enthusiastic girls and ladies who are so passionate about football.

"Besides this tournament, they are also playing in the Women's (Premier) League, just continuing with their passion for the sport.

"They are practising very hard and I'm beginning to see a good pipeline of talent from young children to secondary school (students) and into the polytechnics.

"And some of them, after they graduate, they continue to play under their various clubs and that's the way that women's football should go."

FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong was also present and he was encourage by the turnout.

He said: "You are able to see the vibrancy with which they participate in the activities which is good and it augurs well for women's football."

National defender Charmaine Lim, 26, is hopeful that the event will leave a positive impact on young girls.

"It's a great platform for girls... it allows them to see that they are not the only ones playing football, and there are a lot of girls out there playing as well," the National Youth Sport Institute strength and conditioning coach said.

"It's great that the national team players are here today and maybe it can serve as inspiration for these kids to get there one day."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Getting a kick out of Women's Football Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe