Football: Kumar ready to serve with whoever is elected

Businessman Kumar Appavoo is running for one of the six Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council member seats that will be elected on its April 29 polls.
Businessman Kumar Appavoo is running for one of the six Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council member seats that will be elected on its April 29 polls.PHOTO: COURTESY OF KUMAR APPAVOO

Elections are nothing new to Kumar Appavoo, who is running for one of the six Football Association of Singapore (FAS) council member seats that will be elected on an individual basis on its April 29 polls.

The 48-year-old businessman ran as a member of the Reform Party in the 2015 General Election, contesting unsuccessfully in Radin Mas SMC.

Nevertheless, he told The Straits Times: "It's a different ball game. In this election, you have a pool of people who have a specialised field of interest - football."

While he was keen to draw a clear line between his intention to run for this election and his political involvement in the past, he said his past experience of campaigning for votes could be useful in the coming few weeks ahead of the election.

He said: "I know that everyone wants to know why I want to do this and what I have been doing on the football scene. You will see in the coming weeks."

Appavoo, who owns oil and gas company Chel Industrial Gases, said he standing in the FAS election as a representative of Gymkhana FC, a National Football League (NFL) Division Two team. He has sponsored the team since last year.

He also revealed that his father Pakire Appavoo, who died when Kumar was five, used to be a vice-president of the Singapore Amateur Football Association (Safa), FAS' predecessor, back in 1965.

He said: "I'm running because I knew how dedicated my father was to contribute towards Singapore football. Even up to today, people have spoken to me about this."

Youth development will be one of the key messages he hopes to drive across.

He suggested: "There are 23 NFL teams and I hope that we can all be considered when it comes to selecting national team players. And NFL could perhaps also consider starting small youth academies."

He noted that he sits outside the two teams contesting the election - Team LKT, led by FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong, and Game Changers, led by Hougang United chairman Bill Ng.

But for Appavoo, it does not matter which side wins, for he just wants to contribute towards shaping the future of Singapore football.

"Both camps have good members and I have good views of them. Unfortunately, one side have to lose," he said. "I hope for this election, we can all keep our egos or affiliations aside. Whoever is elected, I will work together with them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2017, with the headline 'Kumar ready to serve with whoever is elected'. Print Edition | Subscribe