Football: Stags veterans play SRC as part of outreach initiative

Tampines vice-chairman Christopher Wong (second from left) with former national footballers (from left) Eric Paine, Quah Kim Song and Robert Sim. He says the club hopes to make its retired players feel honoured and appreciated by inviting them back a
Tampines vice-chairman Christopher Wong (second from left) with former national footballers (from left) Eric Paine, Quah Kim Song and Robert Sim. He says the club hopes to make its retired players feel honoured and appreciated by inviting them back as ambassadors.PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTOPHER WONG

Nostalgia will be in the air on Friday at the Padang when Tampines Rovers' footballers of yesteryear take to the pitch once again.

The S-League club, which was established in 1945, has organised a gathering at the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) to kick-start an initiative to get former Stags players and officials back as ambassadors.

"We are where we are today thanks to these people from the past," Tampines vice-chairman Christopher Wong told The Straits Times. "This is a club steeped in tradition, over 72 years. By inviting them back as ambassadors, we hope it will make them feel honoured and appreciated."

Former players who will take part in the friendly against SRC includes ex-national skippers Terry Pathmanathan and Nazri Nasir, strikers Quah Kim Song and Ho Kwang Hock, defender Robert Sim and goalkeeper Shahri Rahim.

Oldies like S. Rajagopal, Quah Kim Lye, Lim Teng Sai and club pioneer Justin Morais, now 85, will also be present. Other Stags favourites who could play include strikers Noh Alam Shah and Aleksandar Duric and midfielder Lee Man Hon.

Ex-chairman Teo Hock Seng, who presided over the club's golden era from 2000 to 2015, winning five S-League titles (2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013) and three Singapore Cups (2002, 2004, 2006), was invited but is unable to attend owing to business commitments but former Football Association of Singapore president Mah Bow Tan will be present.

Quah, now 65, said: "It's a start, getting the former players and officials back together. The issue is whether we can sustain the effort.

"Hopefully, we can have activities about once every two weeks where we can gather to play football or do some outreach to the community and to the less fortunate. That is also our way of contributing back to society."

Wong, 53, is already looking further ahead. He explained: "This is not a one-off and we want to sustain this (getting the veterans back) and continue to recognise their contributions.

"The club (currently playing at Jurong West Stadium) will return to Tampines Hub later this year. Apart from inviting these former Stags back to host fans during matches, we hope they can represent the club to do community service and make appearances at schools."

•Tampines Rovers veterans v SRC: Padang, Feb 10, 5pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'Stags veterans play SRC as part of outreach initiative'. Print Edition | Subscribe