34th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
SATURDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2016, 11:00AM
LEVEL 3 VIP LOUNGE, JALAN BESAR STADIUM
ADDRESS BY MR ZAINUDIN NORDIN,
PRESIDENT, FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
1. A very good morning, Council Members, Club Representatives, Affiliates, Sponsors, Friends of Singapore football, Ladies & Gentlemen.
2. Welcome to the 34th Annual General Meeting of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
3. First of all, I would like to thank all of you present today for taking the time to be here on a weekend. I would also like to thank the many people who have contributed in one way or another to the development of football in Singapore. All our stakeholders, including the fans, clubs, sponsors, the authorities, media, volunteers and each and every one of you in this room, have helped us to bring local football forward.
4. We have been very busy in the past year, as you have just seen in the video presentation.
5. We have welcomed many talented people on board in the past year. Some of them are new to Singapore, like Head Coach, National Youth Teams Richard Tardy and Goalkeeper Coach/Instructor Frederic De Boever, while some are familiar faces – including household names such as coach V. Sundram Moorthy, who was appointed to take charge of the Lions in May. Every single person who has joined us – including those mentioned in the video – is important in helping us achieve our goals.
Shaping the Future of Singapore Football
6. A major element of what we are doing involves quality youth development, and our Technical Director Michel Sablon unveiled a comprehensive plan this May to create a world-class training environment that will greatly facilitate this.
7. There are 11 key areas in Michel’s plan, but I think one of the most important areas is support – we need support from stakeholders such as yourselves, support from the media, and support from the authorities. We need the resources and facilities to bring these plans to life, because without these, the plans remain just words on paper.
A Focus On Youths
8. Even before we get the resources we hope for, we are already doing what we can with the resources we do have. The Cubs Programme has expanded to seven Cubs Centres, and an eighth will follow next month. This is on top of other centres like the ActiveSG Football Academy and centres run by the People’s Association, which follow the same Coaching Manual.
9. You may also have seen recently an interview with our Goalkeeper Coach/Instructor, Frederic De Boever. He spoke about the Goalkeeper Academy Singapore that was launched this year, and which just grew a bit more earlier this month when the Pre-Academy for 7-10 year olds was introduced. This means there is now a seamless pathway for our youths who are specifically interested in goalkeeping from the age of 7 onwards.
10. We have made many changes this year, and there are even more in store in the coming year as we seek to continually improve ourselves. For example, the Centre of Excellence (COE) Under-15 League this year only began in July, so as not to clash with the schools competitions. Moving forward, we are looking to further enhance the synergy between schools and COE competitions so that our young players have the best balance between training, rest, and matches. It is a fine balance, and we are encouraged by the discussions we have had with the Ministry of Education on this matter so far.
11. We have also made some changes to our non-professional football competitions this year. As part of the FAS’ ongoing plans to strengthen domestic football at all levels, the NFL was restructured to become a 10-team single-division competition, with both IWL finalists gaining promotion to the 2017 NFL Division One which will have 12 teams.
12. We congratulate Eunos Crescent Football Club for winning this year’s NFL, as well as Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association for winning the IWL. We would also like to congratulate Balestier United Recreation Club for gaining automatic promotion to the 2017 NFL Division One as the other IWL finalist.
13. A play-off system was also instituted this year, with the two teams that finish at the bottom of the 2016 NFL facing the IWL losing semi-finalists to determine the final two spots in the 2017 NFL Division One. Tomorrow, Katong FC will play against South Avenue SC while Starlight Soccerites FC will face Admiralty FC in the play-offs. We wish all four teams the best of luck – may the best teams win.
14. The NFL and IWL are important components of our footballing ecosystem. Going forward, the FAS will continue to study ways and proposals to enhance support for and further raise the quality of these competitions.
15. As you saw in the video earlier, one of our referees has been shortlisted as a candidate to officiate in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Muhammad Taqi bin Jahari is a young, promising referee, and we are doing all we can to develop him and other referees with potential. We wish him well and hope he will make it to Russia in two years – of course, like anyone else in the football family who shows promise, we will offer him all the support he needs.
16. While Taqi is slowly making his way to the elite group of referees, one of our female referees has already made it to the apex of refereeing. Abirami Naidu completed a unique treble last May when she officiated at the Women’s World Cup in Canada, having already been a match official at the 2014 Under-17 tournament in Costa Rica and the 2012 Under-20 tournament in Japan.
17. Officials like Taqi and Abirami show that there are talented referees and assistant referees in Singapore who can reach the very pinnacle of their vocation. We hope they will show others the way and spark more interest in match officiating.
18. We have made significant strides in women’s football in the last year or two. For this I must congratulate Julie Teo, the General Manager of Grassroots and Women’s Football. We now have a full developmental pathway for our female footballers, with Under-14, Under-16, Under-19 and ‘A’ Women’s National Teams.
19. The younger girls have more role models in the older age-group teams to look up to. We have already seen more girls take up football, which is very encouraging as we want to promote football as a sport for all, to bring the community and families together.
Barclays Asia Trophy 2015
20. Something quite unforgettable for Premier League fans last year was the Barclays Asia Trophy coming to Singapore for the first time ever. It was a tremendous success, both in terms of organisation as well as giving some of our best players exposure against world-class opponents such as Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City.
21. We are proud that Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore described the tournament – which attracted 81,974 fans, a record for the event – as the “best ever Barclays Asia Trophy”.
22. What made it even better was the praise that our Singapore Selection team received from the opposing coaches. Arsene Wenger said our team was “very electrifying”, and that it was difficult to get the ball off our players. Meanwhile, Mark Hughes said that the Singapore Selection led by V. Sundram Moorthy “had great energy, great enthusiasm for the game and you could see that they had great ideas tactically”.
23. One thing we are very excited about is the result of the Charity Governance Awards 2016 organised by the Charity Council. As one of the shortlisted finalists, we underwent a final interview recently, and will know the outcome next week. It is a testament to the transparency we practice here at the FAS.
24.This year, we have lost two giants of the local game. Hussein Aljunied, who coached the National Team from 1984-1986, passed away on 5 March 2016.
25. Just last month, not only football but all of Singapore lost former President S.R. Nathan. Singaporeans all know how much Mr Nathan gave to the country, but not everybody knows that he was also a big football fan. He made it a point to attend many football matches, including age-group competitions and schools competitions. The last match we had the pleasure of welcoming him to was the FIFA 2018 World Cup Asian Group Qualifier between Singapore and Japan at the National Stadium on 12 November 2015.
26. We are immensely grateful to Mr Nathan for his fervent support, and will definitely miss his presence at games which always gave encouragement to our players.
27. FY2015 has been a year of consolidation for us. One thing for certain is that we will continue to not only rely on our own staff, but also tap on the expertise of partners like FIFA, AFC and other Member Associations around the world to develop ourselves and the local game.
28. As I have stated in the past, this will be my final AGM as President of the FAS. It has been a wonderful journey for the past seven years, and there are many people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.
29. I would like to thank our partners and stakeholders, including fans, Ministries and agencies, sponsors, clubs and the media for their continued support of the Association. The confidence you have in us makes us strive to do ever more.
30. I would also like to express my appreciation to my fellow ExCo and Council members for their invaluable contributions in so many ways, and especially to FAS Advisors Mah Bow Tan and Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee – for giving your advice, guidance and time to help us further raise the standards of local football.
31. Finally, I wish to thank the staff and management of FAS for their hard work and commitment despite the various constraints and challenges we have faced, and will continue to face.
32. The upward trajectory of Singapore football depends on the continued support of our key stakeholders and determination of our staff. In particular, the importance of securing the necessary support and resources – including infrastructure – cannot be overstated. Let us all pull in the same direction. Together we can all make a positive difference and leave a lasting legacy for Singapore football.