Healthy HDB living

Estate planners must get on board football masterplan

When I was a young boy, there were small fields at the foot of HDB blocks. Every evening, all the neighbourhood boys would go there to play football (What it will take to make S'pore football great again; July 14).

Big or small, pre- or late-teens, and regardless of race, whoever wanted to play would just join in. We would play until it got too dark.

Now, there are no more such small fields in most HDB estates.

If children want to play football, they have to go to futsal courts, which are scarce and not conveniently located, or they have to book a school field, which is also inconvenient.

This is why our children do not play as much football as in the past.

One suggestion is to rope in the HDB and our estate planners to support the football masterplan.

They need to incorporate small grassy areas for football in the design of our estates, among the landscaped gardens.

The roofs of our multi-storey carparks could also be turned into football pitches.

High fences will have to be installed to prevent the balls from going over the sides of the building. Closed-circuit television cameras can be installed to monitor the use of the facility.

The Football Association of Singapore can deploy coaches to these neighbourhood pitches to coach the children, whether on an ad-hoc or regular basis.

The S-League clubs can also help to coach the children, making the clubs relevant to the community that they are supposed to represent.

Maybe this will increase support for S-League matches, as the residents will see the clubs as part of the community.

Mini tournaments can even be organised for the children.

These measures will help to increase the opportunities for our children to play football and, thus, improve their skills.

A bonus, of course, will be the social bonding that will take place in the neighbourhood and an improvement in the physical fitness of our children.

Edward Ng Seow Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2017, with the headline 'Estate planners must get on board football masterplan'. Print Edition | Subscribe