Floorball: Hosting Women's Asia-Oceania Cup a stepping stone for Singapore

The Singapore team with guest of honour Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament and President of SNOC, after beating Indonesia 18-0 in the Women's Asia-Oceania Floorball Cup on June 18, 2018 at Our Tampines Hub. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - On the court, Singapore scored a landslide 18-0 win over Indonesia in their opening match of the women's Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) Cup on Monday (June 18) at Our Tampines Hub.

Off it, the hosting of the inaugural tournament is a small victory for the Singapore Floorball Association (SFA), and a stepping stone for more progress in the near future, after being bogged down by a financial scandal two years ago.

In 2016, national sports agency Sport Singapore lodged a police report against the SFA's then-president Sani Mohamed Salim for allegedly misappropriating the association's funds. But the national sports association regained its charity status - a prerequisite to receiving government funding - in May last year after cleaning house.

The ongoing AOFC Cup, which features the Republic, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iran and India, is the SFA's first big-scale event since the 2015 SEA Games on home ground.

SFA president Kenneth Ho said: "We can't always be looking back; this (management) committee is always looking towards the future.

"High performance and youth development, as well as exposure of the sport in the region and locally, are the main objectives of this committee in the next few years."

He noted that the SFA aims to hire a youth coach and set up a youth development squad by the end of the year, with the aim of qualifying for the Under-19 World Championships in the next few years.

The men and women's U-19 world meets are alternated every year, with Canada hosting the men's edition next year.

Singapore last played in the second division of the men's tournament in 2005, while the women have not featured at the age-group world championship before.

The 31-year-old Ho said: "Most of the players in our current national teams are under 21 years and their standards are almost there, so based on our recent results, our youth teams should be able to qualify (in the near future)."

He added that the formation of the age-group teams will provide a structured developmental pathway for young athletes into the senior national teams, with more than 200 schools offering floorball as a co-curricular activity.

"We hope to have a team in the U-19 world championship first, and then look at hosting the tournament proper," Ho said.

The SFA received a total of $40,000 from two sponsors - Nexia TS and Goldbell Engineering - for high performance on the sidelines of the tournament's opening ceremony yesterday.

On yesterday's win, Singapore captain Amanda Yeap said: "I think it's not too bad but definitely the opponents for our next few matches will be even harder.

"We are not too sure about (today's opponents) India because we haven't played against them before, but we will play our best and not be overconfident."

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