Continuity needed in local football

Tampines Rovers' Jordan Webb being challenged Brunei DPMM's Abdul Mu'iz Sisa when they met during a Singapore Premier League match on June 22, 2019.
Tampines Rovers' Jordan Webb being challenged Brunei DPMM's Abdul Mu'iz Sisa when they met during a Singapore Premier League match on June 22, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

It is heartening that the Football Association of Singapore's key thrust of talent discovery and youth development to bring up local football standards is bearing fruit through initiatives like the annual Epson Youth Challenge (Epson event attracts talent, Aug 5).

Geylang International should be lauded for organising this model of multiple stakeholder collaboration.

In overseas football leagues, talents are scouted and recruited, put through the rigours of a football club's training academy and youth side, then progress to the first team - there is continuity to ensure that the pipeline of football talent is groomed and inspired to carve out careers in football.

This continuity needs to permeate local football as well, complemented by a robust compensation framework and clear pathways for career progression, to create opportunities for aspiring football talents like the finalists of the Epson Youth Challenge to carve out careers in local football.

This is especially relevant given that the inability to have stable careers in local football was a major roadblock faced by players (Hope for S-beleaguered, Feb 26, 2017).

Suggestions have been made, and continue to be made, by well-meaning fans for making local football financially viable. With financial viability, players will then be able to have stable careers in local football.

There's clearly work to be done yet to pull local football out of the doldrums, but we're getting there, and by putting on our thinking caps and working together, there is hope yet for Singapore football to be restored to its former glory.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Continuity needed in local football'. Print Edition | Subscribe