Melbourne stint is a chance of a lifetime, says Duric

Aleksandar Duric hopes that he can learn new skills from his stay in Melbourne to boost the youth football fraternity in Singapore.
Aleksandar Duric hopes that he can learn new skills from his stay in Melbourne to boost the youth football fraternity in Singapore.

Former Singapore international Aleksandar Duric has joined Melbourne City for a six-month stint to learn the ropes of running a football club.

Duric, who is the principal of the ActiveSG Football Academy, was seconded to the Australian club last Friday.

He will shadow the various departments in the club to learn more about their business operation model, youth development programmes as well as community engagement initiatives and events.

Calling it an "opportunity of a lifetime", the 48-year-old aims to build strong connections with officials and pick up new skills to boost the youth football fraternity in Singapore.

Said Duric: "It's a huge club over here, there's so much to learn from them. And I'm in Victoria, a state that is crazy over football - where better to learn how to run a club?

"I want to find out how they reach out to the schools here, how they get sponsorships, how their coaching system works so I can go back and improve the quality of coaching in the grassroots."

Duric hopes his partnership with City will be an opening to future opportunities for local players to train with the club.

National footballer Safuwan Baharudin had a three-month loan spell with City in 2015 and remains the only Singaporean to play in the A-League.

"The connections I want to make, they're not just for me, but for the players and coaches too, so that they can have more opportunities outside Singapore," Duric added.

City Football Group, the global organisation that owns Melbourne City and Manchester City among other clubs, had opened an office in Singapore in 2015 to oversee its commercial operations in South-east Asia.

ActiveSG assistant director (partnership and pathways development) Lim Tong Hai, a former national defender, will deputise for Duric in his absence.

Established in 2016, the academy provides young players aged three to 17 with training sessions up to three times a week for a fee of $130 per season. There are 10 training centres across the island.

The academy currently has over 1,000 players - up from 600 in their first year of operation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'Melbourne stint is a chance of a lifetime, says Duric'. Print Edition | Subscribe