Football: Re-elected FAS chief Lim and council turn focus to building up Unleash the Roar! project

FAS President Lim Kia Tong speaks at the press conference of the Football Association of Singapore Extraordinary Congress on April 28, 2021.
FAS President Lim Kia Tong speaks at the press conference of the Football Association of Singapore Extraordinary Congress on April 28, 2021.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - After being returned unopposed as Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president for the next four years on Wednesday (April 28), Lim Kia Tong and his team's next task is to build on the Unleash the Roar! national project.

The aim is to develop a structured system that will ensure a constant stream of top local footballers who will be a force in South-east Asia by the end of his tenure.

The 68-year-old lawyer said: "There must be a natural desire to win every regional tournament we go to. We want to keep improving and make sure any success we have is not just a one-off but sustainable. To do so, we will oil every path so we will have a structured system with a steady flow of good players coming through."

Also re-elected were deputy president Bernard Tan, vice-presidents S. Thavaneson, Teo Hock Seng and Razali Saad. A new face in the executive committee is former Geylang International chairman Ben Teng.

Also on Lim's slate of nine were Dinesh Nair and former internationals Lionel Lewis and Goh Tat Chuan, who had passed eligibility and integrity checks earlier in the month.

As the only woman candidate, Julie Teo also made the council as the FAS constitution states there must be at least one female council member.

The remaining five members of the 15-strong FAS council were elected from seven candidates at the FAS Extraordinary Congress at Orchard Hotel. After obtaining a simple majority of at least 19 votes after one round of voting by the 36 ordinary members present, the quintet are Harman Ali (21 votes), Lim Tong Hai (30), Darwin Jalil (24), Rizal Rasudin (23) and Zaki Ma'arof (23).

Ashley Arriola (eight votes) and Romzi Damiri (nine) did not get elected.

The council will be tasked with steering the government's Unleash the Roar! plan to lift Singapore football standards with the goal of getting the national team to the 2034 World Cup.

Lim, who became the FAS' first elected president in 2017, felt that his previous council - which included former vice-president Edwin Tong and members Forrest Li, Foo Say Peng, Yakob Hashim, Sharda Parvin and Teo Ban Seng - had done well on a few fronts despite the disruption brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

These included improving governance and administration, better running of the Singapore Premier League and Singapore Football League (formerly known as the National Football League) for amateurs, overseeing the historic privatisation of Lion City Sailors, and the improved showing of the national team.

But Tan said they remain committed to bringing about a "revolution", and called for unity among the local football community and general public.

He said: "Incremental changes are important, but what we want is a step change. To do that, we need the nation to work together as it is not just an FAS issue. It's not just about finances and resources; participation in schools and communities is also required."

Lim is also pleased with the composition of the new FAS council and is confident the newer members will be able to take Singapore football forward should the older members step down.

He said: "I'm pleased to note the wisdom and experience we have on board with the more senior ones to guide the younger members, the role models in our ex-internationals, and also Julie, who has a wealth of knowledge in women's football and can grow this area.

"We have to start grooming the younger members to grow the game and take over in the future."

The 2021-2025 FAS council

President: Lim Kia Tong

Deputy president: Bernard Tan

Vice-presidents: S. Thavaneson, Teo Hock Seng, Razali Saad, Ben Teng

Members: Julie Teo, Dinesh Nair, Lionel Lewis, Goh Tat Chuan, Harman Ali, Lim Tong Hai, Darwin Jalil, Rizal Rasudin, Zaki Ma'arof.