Government, not the FAS, can make Goal 2034 happen

Irfan Fandi joining in the celebrations after Hariss Harun scored a goal in their international friendly against the Maldives, on March 23, 2018.
Irfan Fandi joining in the celebrations after Hariss Harun scored a goal in their international friendly against the Maldives, on March 23, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Those of us who watched Fandi Ahmad hoist the Malaysia Cup trophy in 1994 would have been stunned when Goal 2034 was announced recently, what with the Singapore Premier League still a work-in-progress after more than 20 years (2034 World Cup a realistic goal: FAS, Aug 19).

Still, there is no denying that football is a unifying force that transcends race, language, religion and boundaries. Just watch any game at the World Cup.

With such immense power at stake, the business of pursuing footballing success should not be left to amateurs.

Many Singapore sports associations are run by well-intentioned volunteers.

Though not lacking in passion, many have been persistently in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

This suggests a systemic lack of management and operational competency.

If we are genuinely serious about leveraging football to further unify our nation, we cannot again leave it to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

While the FAS has frequently fallen short, the Government has always delivered.

In essence, to make Goal 2034 a reality, the Government should take a major stake and make it a full-time endeavour.

Otherwise, what new catalyst is there to exorcise the ghost of Goal 2010 and court the fairy tale of 2034?

Li Ze Zong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2019, with the headline 'Govt, not the FAS, can make Goal 2034 happen'. Print Edition | Subscribe