Oswald Tan is a budding footballer from Queensway Secondary School and dreams of playing for the national team.
As such, the 13-year-old defender was understandably thrilled to hear the strains of Majulah Singapura before he collected his winners' medal and Most Valuable Player trophy after his Queensway A side won the Epson Youth Challenge Under-13 final at Our Tampines Hub yesterday. He also welcomed the prospect of training with professional coaches.
He said: "It is good to have such a tournament where we can pit our abilities against other teams around our age, and we look forward to learning from the Yamaga coaches."
The event's fourth edition drew a record 167 teams and saw more than 1,500 players battling it out at Our Tampines Hub, Jalan Besar Stadium and Serangoon Stadium last week.
The five-a-side matches cut cross six categories, from Under-9s to U-18s, including the girls' U-18s.
Held in conjunction with Pesta Sukan and organised by Singapore Premier League (SPL) side Geylang International, ActiveSG and the Football Association of Singapore, the event saw six teams crowned champions.
Epson Singapore's regional managing director Munenori Ando said: "Epson Youth Challenge 2019 delivered an exhilarating atmosphere and I am proud that everyone, including friends and families of the participants, got to enjoy the fun-filled football carnival.
"The success of this tournament is testament to Epson's strong commitment to providing a springboard for young sporting talent to grow and spur the development of Singapore's sports scene."
The finalists from all categories received Epson products and will go through an exclusive local clinic with coaches from J1 League's Matsumoto Yamaga in November.
Geylang chairman Ben Teng was pleased with the fruits of the collaboration between the Eagles and sponsor Epson Singapore.
He said: "One of our key missions is to develop and spot budding talents from a young age for the national football team and the SPL and we are doing our part through this Epson Youth Challenge.
"We are glad the finals drew a large crowd, and helped promote community bonding.
"We hope to be back stronger next year."
Geylang adviser and Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling, who helped to present prizes, added: "I have been following this tournament for the past few years and I must say it is professionally done.
"It has been growing and it is something GIFC can be very proud of.
"Going to different parts of Singapore is a good idea and in line with making sports accessible."