Fernvale pupils' day in the sun with Valencia

Jay Ravi (left), sales manager of Alfa Romeo, presenting a cheque to Fernvale Gardens School principal Gerard Vaz after a clinic conducted by Valencia youth footballers and coaches for Minds children yesterday.
Jay Ravi (left), sales manager of Alfa Romeo, presenting a cheque to Fernvale Gardens School principal Gerard Vaz after a clinic conducted by Valencia youth footballers and coaches for Minds children yesterday.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

He had been guiding his intellectually impaired counterpart on the proper way to kick a football during an hour-long clinic.

And, when the boy could finally do it yesterday, the joy on his face was one that Valencia youth player Dario Serra will never forget for the rest of his life.

"The students are just like us, but they have added disabilities, so we had to be very patient with them to ensure that they have fun," said the 16-year-old, who was among 24 other Valencia youth and 12 coaches who conducted a football clinic with 24 students at Fernvale Gardens School yesterday.

"When a boy I was helping could finally kick the ball, it was a wonderful moment. I could see in his eyes that he was having a good time."

The LaLiga entourage arrived at the Sengkang-based school to hugs from the pupils, aged seven to 12, who were excitedly waiting for them. The players gave the pupils high fives and souvenir pins before they proceeded to the field for the hour-long clinic.

The school's principal Gerard Vaz, 46, thought that it was an eye-opening experience for his pupils, and said: "We always look for these kind of opportunities for the kids to mix around.

"This gives them the chance to put some of the sporting skills that they learn during their PE (physical education) lessons into action."

Following the clinic, seven adults from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore's Idea-Employment Development Centre mixed it up with the Valencia youth players for a 20-minute friendly game.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2019, with the headline 'Fernvale pupils' day in the sun with Valencia'. Print Edition | Subscribe