Football: Sailors, Dortmund to work on youth development together

The partnership will see a series of youth development programmes, coaching, educational and professional exchanges.
The partnership will see a series of youth development programmes, coaching, educational and professional exchanges.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore football's first privatised club, Lion City Sailors, have lofty ambitions to transform the local football scene and on Saturday (July 17), they took another stride by announcing a partnership with German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund (BVB).

The Singapore Premier League side have announced a 2½-year partnership with the 2021 German Cup winners that will see a series of youth development programmes, coaching, educational and professional exchanges as well as football training camps in Germany.

The partnership will also harness the growing commitment to build a strong infrastructure for youth football in Singapore and support growth in the areas of sports science, sports medicine, analytics and talent scouting.

A key component of the partnership will see an annual training camp in Dortmund for the LCS Football Academy's elite team, with an additional training stint pencilled in for selected footballers from the academy's scholarship programme.

Dortmund attackers Marco Reus and Giovanni Reyna, and Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic, are some of football's hottest properties that have come through the ranks at the German side's academy.

Suresh Letchmanan, managing director of BVB Asia Pacific, the club's Singapore-based regional headquarters, called it an "exciting partnership" and a "milestone" for both sides.

"Both clubs are dynamic and progressive brands with a commitment to developing talented youth players and these common beliefs make the two organisations ideally suited," he said.

"We will be working closely to implement creative and innovative activities with LCS in the coming months that harness the passion of our clubs and connect with our fantastic fans in and around Asia."

The latest partnership is another show of intent from the Sailors, who want to turn their LCS Football Academy into an elite youth development hub.

Last year, the Sailors committed $1 million to revamp their academy, which was later given a one-star rating by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the first in Singapore to achieve the feat. A $10 million training facility that will be home to both the SPL club and their academy is also set to be completed in April 2022.

The Sailors' chief executive officer, Chew Chun-Liang, is looking forward to a fruitful relationship with the Germans.

He said: "We are delighted to partner BVB, a club that has shown a tremendous commitment to youth development, fan engagement and the growth of the sport in general. We are an ambitious club with a vision of becoming one of the best in Asia. To get there, we must learn from the best, and in BVB we have found a partner that is among the best in the world."