Bring back children's spontaneity in playing sports

Children playing at the Modern Montessori Preschool Centre in Spooner Road.
Children playing at the Modern Montessori Preschool Centre in Spooner Road.PHOTO: ST FILE

It was exciting to read about Singapore's Goal 2034 (2034 World Cup a realistic goal: FAS, Aug 19), but if we are to qualify for the World Cup in 15 years, there has to be a fundamental change in our mindset towards sports.

We have very beautiful stadiums and meticulously maintained grass pitches - seemingly the perfect formula to achieve Goal 2034.

However, in our residential neighbourhoods, one can see many signboards banning football, skateboarding and other sporting activities at the void decks and also inside condominium compounds.

All these big "no" signboards create negativity.

Our children cannot develop their psychomotor skills when they have no chance to play sports spontaneously and conveniently on their doorstep.

Gone are the days when we often saw young children playing football, badminton or skating at the void decks.

Take Brazil, one of the top football nations, as an example. Many Brazilians live in very crowded cities, where space is scarce. But the children can play football on any tiny dirt patch with spontaneity.

If they cannot afford to buy a football, they use coconuts, oranges, et cetera.

Fancy plans and state-of-the-art equipment are just parts of the recipe for developing sports talent in Singapore.

Let's start giving our children the opportunity to play football and other sports at the void decks and open spaces in neighbourhoods.

Puah Kim Siong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2019, with the headline 'Bring back children's spontaneity in playing sports'. Subscribe