Football: Wishes from and for Singapore football

Yes we can - An Eagles football fan getting his message across during the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League match between Geylang International and Tampines Rovers held at Jurong West Stadium last February. A surge in attendances early in the year soon fi
Yes we can - An Eagles football fan getting his message across during the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League match between Geylang International and Tampines Rovers held at Jurong West Stadium last February. A surge in attendances early in the year soon fizzled out.BERITA HARIAN FILE PHOTO

LIM KIA TONG, 64
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) interim president

Football, whether elite level or social, must be embraced and played on a wider platform and on a bigger scale by locals of both genders.

The mindset that football or sports has no future must take a back seat and I hope that, not only football but also all sports will receive more support and resources from all stakeholders.

While I wish that FAS will be managed and administered in some ways differently, I wish to see it maintaining and sustaining its creditable level of governance, which is recognised by the Asian Football Confederation and Fifa.

At the elite youth level, I hope that (technical director) Michel Sablon's revamped youth development structure will produce sound footballers who can move into the national team in the near future.

I hope those selected for the national team will work even harder to improve our ranking and do well in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

I would like the FAS to help produce a more vibrant National Football League and Island Wide League with more technical, organisational, logistical and financial support.


KRISHNA RAMACHANDRA, 45
Tampines Rovers chairman

I hope for consolidation and good coordination among various stakeholders to push forward with one common goal - to revive Singapore football. To set aside differences when there are different views put forward by various parties.

I wish for greater support from the fans, that more good people will volunteer their time and not be disheartened when things don't change.

I hope Tampines, avant garde in the way we operate, will vie for regional and local honours.


BEN TENG, 42
Geylang International chairman

Our match attendance increased by 25 per cent last year compared to the last, mostly through our outreach efforts.

We want to enhance this next season, especially with the Japanese community (the Eagles signed a memorandum of understanding with J-League club Matsumoto Yamaga) around us, kids and parents from the ActiveSG football academy, and residents in the neighbourhoods around Bedok Stadium.

The club will build the team around the 12 core players who are retained in 2017 from the two-year contracts signed last year.

We also hope to produce attractive football, playing at an intense level will be the team's philosophy.


YAZID YASIN, 37
S-League veteran

More quality performances by S-League teams. When we talk about bringing in foreign players, they must be better than locals, or on a par at least. To be honest, some of the foreigners are nothing special, and I feel the same opportunities can be given to local players.

I hope that more local footballers can go overseas to develop their careers. I hope to see more job security for S-League players. For players, it is difficult to concentrate fully on the pitch without having to worry about what's going to happen.

Especially when it comes to August and September, when you know that your contract is about to be up, you'd worry.


BAIHAKKI KHAIZAN, 32
Singapore international

We are currently at the lowest point in Singapore football, and I just hope that little by little, there will be good vibes that will give local football some hope. We don't need overnight sudden changes, but I hope to see more positive initiatives coming up.

I hope that the support from local companies and fans will be sincere, that they will support us whether we are doing well or badly.

There should be more local teams playing in the S-League. It's our own league and it's a bit worrying to see that we have so few local teams involved.


IQBAL HUSSAIN, 23
Hougang United player

There have been setbacks for me, like missing out on being selected for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

I know that every year, there are bound to be some difficulties along the way - be it in the national team or the club losing form - but I hope to be a more consistent player and become a regular in the national team.


TAN ENG CHIU, 34
Balestier Khalsa women's footballer

My wish for Singapore football is that more women's teams take part in the FAS League. I also hope Balestier get good results in the national league, as we are aiming to get promoted to the Premier League.

For myself, to be able to guide younger players along and to add value to my team.


JOEY CHENG, 23,
Warriors FC women's footballer

I hope the sport gains more momentum and for more people to play football. I hope more girls join the sport, and that the national team qualifies for regional competitions.

For my club, that we work harder to improve ourselves and to win the two trophies (Premier League and Challenge Cup) next season.

And personally, to get better and stronger, improve physically, mentally and in technique so I can help others in the sport.


MOHAMED ZAINUDEEN, 47
National cerebral palsy football coach

I wish for more awareness for CP football and that more players come forward to play, so we can showcase the sport to other kids.

The national team need more support because they are all working adults and if we want them to attend training sessions more frequently, they need to be compensated in some way so they can focus on their training in preparation for the Asean Para Games in September.


YAHYA MADON, 53
Home United's Under-17 coach

One way to unearth more talent is to encourage schools with good football facilities to form teams and take part in the schools tournament. It would be great if more neighbourhood schools had floodlights so the fields can be used for night training. Currently, there are limited spaces (including Turf City and SIA Sports Club) where fields are lit properly. We need to make better use of our resources.

When you look at schools like Coral and Tanjong Katong Secondary, you see that the teachers and parents go the extra mile for the sake of football. I hope to see more schools do that in the new year.


STEVEN TAN, 46
ActiveSG Football Academy coach

We need to make the S-League more attractive. There is hardly any pathway or incentive for players. Many of the polytechnic and university students I meet say they would rather find another job than continue as a full-time professional.

It's a good start when we see kids coming out to join (the ActiveSG football programmes) and hopefully more will use this opportunity.

Who knows, we might be able to unearth one or two hidden talents there. Compiled by Alvin Chia, Nicole Chia & Jonathan Wong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline 'Wishes from and for Singapore football'. Print Edition | Subscribe