Still early days for Singapore Premier League

Albirex Niigata being crowned Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions again should not, in any way, suggest that the rebranding and other initiatives by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) are a failure (Like a funeral for S'pore football; July 23).

Albirex Niigata are not exactly a foreign team.

They have been playing in the SPL for over a decade and actively reach out to the local community.

For instance, they collaborate with the Yuhua Community Sports Club to develop local football talent through the Yuhua Albirex Football Academy.

They also work with charities like Serving People With Disabilities to empower people with special needs by providing them with employment opportunities.

Albirex Niigata have also gone on record to say that they are in the SPL for the long haul and their aim is to go local (S-League champs Albirex aim to go local in long run; Aug 31, 2017).

As a Singapore football club, Albirex Niigata are as local as they come.

Albirex Niigata competing in the SPL also contributes to Singapore football by serving as the benchmark that other SPL teams can strive for to bring up the standards of Singapore football.

There is a Japanese phrase which means "steady progress, a day at a time".

We can draw inspiration from this and Albirex Niigata's win, and appreciate that the best of plans take years to bear fruit, so it is really still early days for the FAS and the SPL.

With all Singapore football fans and stakeholders doubling down and working together, we will be able to bring back the glory days of Singapore football.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2018, with the headline 'Still early days for Singapore Premier League'. Print Edition | Subscribe