Football: Game changers v Team LKT for FAS' hot seat

Teo Hock Seng (above) will be Team LKT's V-P nominee while Annabel Pennefather has been put forth as Game Changers' V-P candidate for the FAS election.
Teo Hock Seng (above) will be Team LKT's V-P nominee while Annabel Pennefather has been put forth as Game Changers' V-P candidate for the FAS election. ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE, ASHLEIGH SIM
Teo Hock Seng will be Team LKT's V-P nominee while Annabel Pennefather has been put forth as Game Changers' V-P candidate for the FAS election.
Teo Hock Seng will be Team LKT's V-P nominee while Annabel Pennefather (above) has been put forth as Game Changers' V-P candidate for the FAS election. ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE, ASHLEIGH SIM

Bill Ng's team raise eyebrows with the inclusion of two women as V-P candidates

The biggest fixture in Singapore football this year was set at 6pm yesterday, with Team LKT taking on Game Changers at the Singapore Sports Hub on April 29.

After the deadline for nominations for its first democratic election had passed, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced that it had received two applications for the nine-man slate.

It also revealed that there were 16 nominees contesting the six individual council positions.

But while it might have been a quiet day at the Jalan Besar Stadium, which saw only Hougang United general manager Matthew Tay submitting Game Changers' forms shortly after 2pm, there was a rumble when the slates were revealed.

And it appears Hougang United chairman Bill Ng, one of the two presidential candidates, is attempting to live up to his team's moniker.

Not only has he included two women in his slate - the new FAS constitution only states that at least one candidate must be female - but he has listed them as two of the four vice-presidential candidates, signalling that they are not merely token representation.

Furthermore, Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Annabel Pennefather and Dr Teoh Chin Sim, Team Singapore's chief medical officer at the 2015 SEA Games, while widely respected within the wider sports community, have little to no experience in football.


    : Lim Kia Tong (FAS provisional council president and lawyer)
    Deputy president: Bernard Tan (ST Engineering chief marketing officer)
    Vice-presidents: Teo Hock Seng (Komoco Motors group managing director), Edwin Tong (lawyer and MP for for Marine Parade GRC), S. Thavaneson (Balestier Khalsa chairman), Razali Saad (former national captain)
    Council members (slate): Dinesh Nair (FAS medical committee chairman), Forrest Li (founder of online gaming portal Garena) and Darwin Jalil (team manager of National Football League Division 1 club Eunos Crescent)
    Individual council members: Lim Tong Hai (former Lions skipper and ITE senior lecturer), Sharda Parvin (Tanjong Pagar United women's player), Michael Foo (People's Association director for community sports), Rizal Rasudin (chairman of NFL Division 2 club Admiralty CSC), Kelvin Teo (chief executive officer of Sembcorp Development), Yakob Hashim (coach of NFL Division 1 club Yishun Sentek Mariners)

    President: Bill Ng (Hougang United chairman and director of private equity firm)
    Deputy president: Lau Kok Keng (former Geylang International vice-chairman and lawyer)
    Vice-presidents: Annabel Pennefather (Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president and lawyer), Dr Teoh Chin Sim ( Team Singapore's chief medical officer at the 2015 SEA Games), Krishna Ramachandra (Tampines Rovers chairman and lawyer), Zaki Ma'arof (president of NFL Division 2 club Kaki Bukit SC) Council (slate): Harman Ali (president of NFL Division 2 club GFA Victoria), Samad Allapitchay (former national captain) and Christopher Wong (Tampines Rovers vice-chairman and pilot)
    Individual council members: Adrian Quek (former Geylang International general manager and executive manager of a sports management company), Lai Boon Teck (former Fifa referee), Shahri Rahim (former national goalkeeper and president of NFL Division 2 club South Avenue), Moklas Ma'arof (secretary of NFL Division 2 club Kembangan United), Jeffrey Sim (treasurer of Hougang United), Suresh Nair (former journalist and referee instructor).

    INDEPENDENT: Edward Liu (Tanjong Pagar United chairman and businessman), Kumar Appavoo (Reform Party member), James Lim (former People's Association deputy director), Sebastian Tan.

Ng, 57, also sprang a surprise by securing the buy-in of 1977 Malaysia Cup-winning captain Samad Allapitchay. He is one of three former national captains who have thrown their hat into the ring. The other two are Lim Tong Hai and Razali Saad, both of whom feature for Team LKT, the opposing camp.

Samad, 66, told The Sunday Times that he signed up to the cause on Friday and added: "It was an invitation (from Ng) that I could not refuse. I have friends from both sides, it doesn't matter who wins, I just hope the winning team will work hard to improve Singapore football.

"There are no shortcuts to success in football. The council members should go down to the ground to see the situation grassroots clubs are facing. As for myself, I had visited Kaki Bukit SC and South Avenue SC. I hope to be the voice for the NFL on the council."

Game Changers created a Facebook account on Friday, which they introduced themselves as "men and women of integrity, intelligence and in-depth knowledge of Singapore sports, with a special specific for football".

"They come from a multi-racial, multi-intellectual and multi-gifted sector of the grassroots, with their heart-beats truly on the heartlanders to boost Singapore football," the statement added.

They aim "to convince Singaporeans that there's a future for football, right down to the HDB grassroots, where football must be totally encouraged".

While Ng's team submitted their papers at 2pm yesterday, it emerged that the team of FAS provisional council president Lim Kia Tong (Team LKT) had submitted their paperwork as early as Friday evening.

His team includes corporate heavyweights such as Bernard Tan (chief marketing officer at ST Engineering), Teo Hock Seng (Komoco Motors' group managing director), Forrest Li (founder of online gaming portal Garena) and Kelvin Teo (chief executive officer of Sembcorp Development).

Kia Tong has indicated that one of his foci is to improve grassroots football. But while he has three representatives from amateur National Football League (NFL) sides in his team, the inclusion of People's Association director Michael Foo, whose portfolio includes community sports, could prove a strategic move.

Kia Tong told The Sunday Times: "I am confident that the members I have chosen are a good balance of old and new, a mixture of experience and youth.

"It's a good representation of the kind of talent that Singapore football needs moving into the future. This is a team of passionate individuals who are highly motivated to bring our football to greater heights."

There are also four independents not affiliated to either team who will run as individuals - Edward Liu, Kumar Appavoo, James Lim and Sebastian Tan.

Teams contesting in a slate will need a minimum of two-thirds (30) of the 44 votes to win. Independent candidates need a simple majority to win. The election will be held at the Sports Hub.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 26, 2017, with the headline 'Game changers V Team LKT for fas' hot seat'. Print Edition | Subscribe