Footballers must work on fitness even after training sessions

I could not agree more with Mr Liew Eng Leng (Singapore footballers must play 'one gear up'; Aug 24).

I have lost count of the number of our national footballers who succumb to cramps during matches, causing their football standard to suffer.

This often results in late goals conceded.

While skills do play a key role in winning football matches, the reality is that modern football does require superior fitness levels.

One need only recall South Korea's unprecedented showing in the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, where they ran Italy and Spain ragged, to realise the importance of fitness.

Building up fitness is easier than building up skills.

What our football administrators and coaches need is to place more importance on players' fitness.

Players need to put in more fitness work after training and on non-training days.

Perhaps they can take a leaf from former national striker Aleksandar Duric's book.

At the age of 42, he was still the fittest player on our national team.

Diet is another important aspect.

From what I know, some of our professional players still indulge in unhealthy food like roti prata after their matches.

Sebastian Tan Gee How

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Footballers must work on fitness even after training sessions'. Print Edition | Subscribe