Football: New FAS chief Lim Kia Tong pens thank-you note to heal divide

Mr Lim Kia Tong, the newly-elected president of the Football Association of Singapore, talks to reporters after the FIFA-ordered elections in Singapore on April 29, 2017.
Mr Lim Kia Tong, the newly-elected president of the Football Association of Singapore, talks to reporters after the FIFA-ordered elections in Singapore on April 29, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

One of newly-elected Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Lim Kia Tong's first acts on Saturday was to express his gratitude in writing to the very people who had voted him into office.

The letter he sent to all 44 voting affiliates on the same evening of the historic polls was not only to thank them, but also a clarion call to heal and bring back the glory days of Singapore football.

The 64-year-old lawyer said: "From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you for taking part so actively in this historic FAS elections.

"These elections have put in place a new team with a strong mandate, and we now have a chance to build, to move forward and to re-energise football in Singapore.

"Most importantly, we get a chance to show everyone that we can emerge from an election even stronger as a football community, and as one."

Lim's Team LKT beat Game Changers, a slate led by Hougang United chairman Bill Ng.

TIME TO MEND FENCES

We get a chance to show everyone that we can emerge from an election even stronger as a football community.

LIM KIA TONG, FAS president, wants the local football fraternity to come together.

In the aftermath of the defeat, Ng said that he accepted the result and pledged his team's support to the new FAS council. Ng's gracious reaction was applauded by Lim.

In his note, Lim wrote: "I am very encouraged by Team Game Changers, who graciously accepted the result and said they would support our council wholeheartedly. We will work with anyone with generous and selfless ideas to take Singapore football forward."

His words have made an impression among the football fraternity.

Former Tanjong Pagar United general manager Richard Woon said: "They (Team LKT) have genuine desire to improve. (But) don't expect overnight success.

"I'm confident in Team LKT, they will definitely want to carry out some plans to improve Singapore football."

Not everyone was as confident. NFL club GFA Victoria president Harman Ali, who was part of Ng's slate, remained unconvinced.

He said: "We wanted change. I guess the rest of the affiliates were not ready."

National Football League (NFL) club Yishun Sentek Mariners coach Yakob Hashim, who had aligned himself with Lim's team and was elected as an individual council member, praised Lim for trying to unite the fraternity.

Yakob said: "It's very, very important (that the Singapore football fraternity emerge as one). We have to move forward together.

"Whatever decision we make, we have to make it together as a team. We have a meeting on Tuesday and (we will) brainstorm ideas. These changes must be drastic. There are so many changes to be made."

Wang Meng Meng

 

Related Stories: 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'Lim pens thank-you note to affiliates to heal divide'. Print Edition | Subscribe