Football: Youth development at forefront for former Lions Lim Tong Hai

Lim Tong Hai believes he has the background to push for reforms in the area of youth development.
Lim Tong Hai believes he has the background to push for reforms in the area of youth development.PHOTO: ST FILE

He led Singapore with distinction as national football captain and later coached S-League club Geylang International but Lim Tong Hai is readying himself for a much larger responsibility.

The 47-year-old, who is also the chairman of the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) Referees' Committee, believes he has the background to push for reforms in the area of youth development.

Lim will be contesting the April 29 FAS election as an individual council member on Lim Kia Tong's team.

The two men are not related.

Tong Hai is one of two ex-national captains on Team LKT. The other is Razali Saad, who is contesting one of the four vice-presidential positions. The 52-year-old Razali is also a board member of Sport Singapore.

He told The Straits Times yesterday: "Having played the game and also having the knowledge of handling various teams, we're looking at how best we can add value to the youth developmental side.

"For us to have a good national team, we must have a good base and this is one of the main things that we are gunning for."

The former centre-back was part of the Singapore team that won the Malaysian League and Malaysia Cup double in 1994.

He added: "As a former player, we can best contribute and give back to football by sharing our time and knowledge, which is critical.

"We also know the problems faced on the ground and how we can best help to resolve it, so the players will be given ample opportunity to develop."

Kia Tong said he did not intentionally choose the two former captains to be part of his team, but admitted their presence would be advantageous.

"Not only do they understand the game, but they are also icons - younger boys look up to them and believe in them," said Kia Tong.

"They are regarded as masters of the game because they were not only former national players, but also former national captains."

Pointing out that Razali, who was not present yesterday, and Tong Hai can each contribute in different areas, Kia Tong added: "They have their own qualities and attributes, and that will help me propel my team forward."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'Youth development at forefront for Tong Hai'. Print Edition | Subscribe