Football: Lion City Sailors launch $10m training centre as part of 'commitment to revitalise local football'

The Sailor's training facility at Mattar Road includes two 11-a -side pitches and three seven-a-side ones. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - With an almighty smash of a champagne bottle, the Lion City Sailors officially declared their $10 million training facility open on Thursday (July 28) evening.

The Sailors, Singapore’s only privatised football club, had announced their plans for the 28,000 sq m facility along Mattar Road in April last year. 

It features physiotherapy rooms, a gym, an analysis room as well as study facilities for academy trainees alongside five football fields – two 11-a-side pitches and three seven-a-side ones.

Modelled after some of the world’s top clubs, such as Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid, the training centre will serve as the new home of the Sailors first team who play in the Singapore Premier League, the club’s Under-21 side, academy trainees and their women’s team.

The official launch ceremony was attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong. Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Lim Kia Tong was also present.

The ceremony featured a champagne bottle being smashed on the side of the wall of the main entrance of the facility, which is a nod to naval tradition where the gesture is done against the hull of newly launched ships.

Club chairman Forrest Li said the centre “is a symbol of our commitment to revitalising local football” and the club’s drive to pursue excellence.

He noted that infrastructure is the basis of a good ecosystem and added: “We are excited to be a part of the (Unleash The Roar!) initiative announced by Sport Singapore and the FAS, which has infrastructure and youth development as two of its key pillars. We hope this training centre pushes the football scene a bit further along that journey.”

The Unleash the Roar! national project aims to get the national team to qualify for the 2034 World Cup.

Mr Tong said he was “blown away” by the Sailors facility and said it “will complement and strengthen” the Government’s overall plans to bring high quality sports facilities and infrastructure to Singaporeans in the coming years. 

It features physiotherapy rooms, a gym, an analysis room as well as study facilities for academy trainees. PHOTO: LION CITY SAILORS
Lion City Sailors players undergoing physiotherapy. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

He also pointed to the Kallang Football Hub, which will serve as the training centre for the national teams and is part of the new Kallang Alive precinct, as another exciting development.

“These infrastructural investments by both the private and the public sector... support our efforts through the Unleash The Roar! initiative.

“I think we’re all here because we recognise the importance of training and developing footballers from an early age... (to) nurture, identify and develop a strong pipeline of football players and it will bode well for our national team,” said Mr Tong.

(From left) SJII chairman Roy Quek, MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling, club chairman Forrest Li, Minister Edwin Tong, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Eric Chua, FAS president Lim Kia Tong and Sport Singapore group chief Marcus Tan at the launch of the training centre on July 28, 2022. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Sailors also built the training centre with the aim of serving residents of MacPherson. 

It features a public viewing area and running track, a cafe and community-friendly spaces for grassroots activities. This, said Li, is a gesture by the club to thank the community for “welcoming us so warmly into Mattar”.

Sailors chief executive officer Chew Chun-Liang added: “We want to be not just a resident or neighbour, but good neighbours.

“We want to make sure the people in MacPherson can also benefit from our presence and see us as a valued partner.”

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