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Football development back on track

The 29th Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Annual General Meeting was successfully held today at the National Football Academy Conference Room, Jalan Besar Swimming Complex Office Block.


In his address, FAS President Zainudin Nordin expressed his disappointment over the performances of the National Under-23 and National “A” teams, both of which did not meet the targets that were set in 2010.


Mr Zainudin however added that he was pleased to report that FAS has made good progress in the implementation of the FAS Strategic Plan 2010-2015 which was launched a year ago.


FAS Strategic Plan 2010-2015


In April last year, FAS launched a comprehensive Strategic Plan designed to take Singapore football forward.


The plan was endorsed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Singapore Sports Council as well as leading football officials including FIFA President Sepp Blatter and AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam.


Mr Blatter acknowledged the FAS Strategic Plan and said: “The Strategic Plan that FAS has devised is one of the most comprehensive developed by a Federation that I have witnessed. Having read and understood your strategic goals, I am confident it will take Singapore football to greater heights.”


He added: “Despite budgetary constraints, the FAS has a strong record of generating considerable returns on its investment, a definitive strength of Singapore football.”


FAS has made steady progress in the implementation of its Strategic Plan in 2010.


National Football Syllabus


The National Football Syllabus, which was endorsed and commended by FIFA and technical staff from both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, was introduced as the main coaching manual that all youth coaches, including COE coaches, will use to develop young players from 8 to 18 years of age.


FAS has also adopted the 4-2-3-1 playing system as the system that is appropriate for Singapore. This system of play would be used by all our national teams. This is the playing system that is being used by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Champions, Spain, as well as other top teams in the world.


Junior COEs


As part of the long-term development pathway and to start nurturing players from a young age, FAS started the Junior COE and operated two centres in 2010 for Under-8s, Under-10s and Under-12s.


There has been a noticeable improvement in the overall level of technical skills of the JCOE players. Plans are already in the pipeline to increase the overall number of JCOEs.


National Football Academy


Singapore football has continued to progress steadily at the various age groups’ levels through the concerted efforts within the National Football Academy (NFA). The various NFA teams also participate in the COE and Prime League competitions – playing against players who are older than them.


The NFA Under-14 team play in the COE Under-16 League, while the NFA U-15 and U-16 teams play in the COE Under-18 League. Both the NFA U-17 and U-18 teams play in the Prime League. These NFA teams have generally done well in these domestic competitions.


Youth Olympic Games


In August 2010, the NFA Under-15 team captured the imagination of the whole nation when they won the bronze medal in the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.


The “Cubs” won the hearts of Singaporeans and residents with their attractive brand of football and a ‘never-say-die’ approach towards the game.


Prominent VIPs who supported the Cubs in person at the Jalan Besar Stadium included President S.R. Nathan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament.


FIFA also singled out the following 4 “Cubs” in its YOG technical report for their outstanding performance during the YOG. They are:


1. Mohamad Hanafi Bin Mohd Akbar


2. Muhd Muhaimin Bin Suhaimi


3. Jonathan Tan Zen Yang


4. Ammirul Emmran Bin Mazlan


In recognition of their achievement, FAS has nominated the following for the 2011 Singapore Sports Award:


(a) Team of the Year (Team Sports): Singapore U-15 (YOG Team)


(b) Sports Boy of the Year: Jefferey Lightfoot


(c) Meritorious Awards:


Ammirul Emmran


Mohd Hanaffi


Mohd Mohaimin


(d) Coach of the Year: Kadir Yahya


NFA Under-14 Team


Our Under-14 team participated in the 2010 AFC U-14 competition held in Sabah. Three players from this team, namely Faizal Raffi, Zulfadhmi Suzliman and Elivin Sasidharan, were identified by AFC and named in their AFC U-14 All-Stars team – highlighting these players’ future potential.


The Under-14 team have graduated to the 2011 NFA Under-15 team and will participate in the 2011 AFC Under-16 qualifiers.


NFA Under-18 Team


The NFA U-18 team performed well in 2010, finishing in second place in the Great Eastern - YEO'S Prime League.


Eight players from the Under-18 team, namely Safuwan Baharudin, Raihan Abdul Rahman, Shakir Hamzah, Nazrul Ahmad Nazri, Muhd Zulfahmi, Eugene Luo, Khairul Nizam and Khalili D’ Cruz, were subsequently promoted to the Young Lions for the 2011 S.League season.


Overseas training


Besides providing our emerging talents with the best training and competitions programs locally, international match exposure which comes from playing against top European and Asian teams has been identified as being critical for the overall development for our elite youth players.


In 2010, FAS sent our YOG team to train and play matches in London. Our other NFA teams were also sent overseas to play international matches to prepare for their various AFC assignments in 2011.


Coaching


Developing good coaches is another of FAS key drivers and FAS has a Coaches Pathway in place. FAS has trained more coaches over the years and currently has 1,399 coaches on its register.


FAS Technical Director Slobodan Pavkovic has been conducting weekly Coaches Morning sessions designed to upgrade the coaching abilities, knowledge and techniques of all NFA, COE, and SSS youth coaches. FAS Coaching Instructors were also invited to attend these sessions and the FAS National Football Syllabus was the main coaching manual for all sessions.


FAS is also happy to note that more of our ex-national players have taken up coaching and are actively pursuing AFC coaching certification. From the last AFC “A” Certificate Course that was completed last year, ex-national players including Aide Iskandar, S.Subramani, Nazri Nasir, V. Selvaraj and Steven Tan all obtained their AFC “A” Certificates.


Later this year, FAS will be conducting the AFC Pro-Diploma course, which is the highest coaching qualification in AFC, for our elite local coaches who already possess the AFC “A” certification to further enhance their tactical and technical capabilities and capacities. More details will be announced once FAS has finalized the details with AFC.


FAS also aims to send our local elite coaches for overseas attachments as part of our Strategic Plan, to further enhance their coaching capacities and capabilities through valuable overseas coaching exposure.


MOUs


FAS will be signing MOUs with some of the top Asian and European Football Associations and Clubs to adopt their best practices in areas such as coaching, youth development, refereeing, football science and medicine, as well as to have attachment programmes for our top players, coaches and referees.


The first MOU signing will take place next month and FAS will make the official announcement closer to the date.


Refereeing


Singapore’s FIFA Referees and Assistant Referees continue to be appointed by FIFA & AFC to officiate in international competitions and matches.


Singapore was represented in the FIFA World Cup Finals when FIFA Assistant Referee Jeffrey Goh Gek Pheng was appointed for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.


It was the third consecutive FIFA World Cup that a Singaporean match official had been appointed by FIFA to officiate in this prestigious competition.


FOOTBALL SCIENCE & MEDICINE


Football Science and Medicine is another key driver of our Strategic Plan and FAS has expanded the Football Science and Medicine team with two new additional full-time personnel – a physiotherapist and fitness and conditioning trainer – to support our various national teams.


FAS is also exploring the possibility of employing a sport psychologist to better equip our players with the mental demands of the game. 


TECHNICAL & MANAGEMENT COURSES


As part of FAS Plan to enhance the capabilities and capacities of our officials and coaches, FAS organised in 2010 the 1st FIFA Pro-Active Grassroots Course for our grassroots volunteers, the 1st FIFA Administration & Management Course, for our S.League, National Football League and Women’s Premier League club officials along with the 1st AFC Goalkeeping Level 1 Course for our S.League goalkeeping coaches.


More such courses will be organised in 2011.


S. League


There were several milestones achieved in the 2010 season – the 15th season of the S.League - most notably with Etoile FC winning their first S.League title and also picking up the League Cup in February 2010 to make it a memorable double in their maiden season.


Another milestone was achieved when StarHub became the first broadcaster in the history of the S.League to pay for the rights to showcase two “Live” matches every week on their channels, expanding the reach of the S.League whilst bringing local football closer to our fans.


Aleksandar Duric also achieved a significant milestone in 2010 when he became the first player to score 300 S. League goals.


On the regional front, SAFFC again represented Singapore and the S.League in the 2010 AFC Champions League. In their second appearance in the AFC Champions League, the Warriors recorded a milestone in local football history when they achieved their first win in the AFC Champions League after defeating Henan Jianye 2-1 in a group match that was played at Jalan Besar Stadium.


Corporate Partners


FAS continued to reach out to the private sector to seek sponsorships for the S.League and for our football excellence and development programmes.


Sponsors such as YEO’S renewed their co-title sponsorship of the S.League for another three seasons in 2010 with an increased amount of $1.8 million. Field Catering and Supplies (Polar Mineral Water) extended its sponsorship deal with FAS and the S.League for another five years till 2014.


In 2010, the FAS welcomed into our football family Tiger Airways as the Official Airline Partner for Singapore’s youth football teams which include Under-14 to Under-18 teams in the National Football Academy.


Other notable corporate partners include Great Eastern Life Assurances Co Ltd, Nike, Asia Pacific Breweries, Certis Cisco, Sunrise & Co Pte Ltd, amongst others, indicating a strong corporate presence in the S.League and FAS.


Looking Ahead:


2014 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION MATCHES


The national team will participate in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers later this year.


We received a bye to the second round of qualifiers where we will face the winner of the Malaysia vs Chinese Taipei clash on 23rd and 28th July 2011.


The Asian Football Confederation has ranked Singapore 15th in Asia for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers. Four years ago, we were ranked 29th in the World Cup 2010 Asian qualifiers, where we qualified for the third round for the first time in our history.


FAS is in the midst of rebuilding the national team. The core team will comprise of players below the age of 23, although a few experienced and committed players will be selected to strengthen the national squad.


2011 SEA GAMES


Our U-23 team, which includes 16 players from the 2009 SEA Games bronze-winning team, has begun its preparations for the SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia, where our target is to qualify for the final having won the bronze medal in 2007 & 2009.


Our technical staff will also spare no efforts to strengthen the team technically and tactically in preparation for the 2011 SEA Games. Our specialist striker coach V. Sundramoorthy will also be working with our strikers closely, not only the SEA Games team but also the NFA teams, to coach and guide our strikers so that they will become more prolific in front of goal.


23rd LION CITY CUP


Football fans can also look forward to top quality football action during the 23rd Canon Lion City Cup that will be held in June 2011. Singapore will be represented by the bronze-winning YOG team (NFA U-16) and the NFA U-15 teams.


In line with the FAS Strategic Plan 2010-2015, FAS is pleased that the youth teams from established Clubs such as Everton FC, Juventus FC, Benfica and CR Flamengo would be competing in the tournament. The opportunity to play against these top youth teams will enable our elite young talents to gain competitive match exposure.


FUNDING FOR S-LEAGUE CLUBS


With the support of our partners, FAS has managed to secure additional funding for the S.League. Our Clubs will see an increase of 40% in funding, in terms of cash subsidies and KPI based subsidies this year.


FAS is confident that with these additional funds, our clubs will enhance their management capabilities and invest in strengthening their respective teams to raise the quality and tempo of the game for the benefit of our fans and Singapore football.


CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE


FAS is helping our clubs get their youth development system right so that they have more and better quality local players who come through their pipeline, which will in turn provide the national coach and the technical team with a bigger base of players to choose from.


In order to increase the pool of young talents, FAS has decided that from 2011, all local S.League Clubs must operate their Club COE U-14, U-16 and U-18 programmes.


The funding for this COE programme is over and above the additional funding of 40% which has been provided for clubs this season.


The Club COE programme will enhance the tactical, technical, physical and mental capabilities of players by providing quality coaching and support services. FAS will be closely monitoring and auditing this programme.


FAS COUNCIL 2011 - 2013


The following 21 Council Members were approved by the affiliates of FAS at the Annual General Meeting and the new FAS Council will serve a two-year term which commences on 1 April 2011.


NEW FAS COUNCIL (1 APRIL 2011 – 31 MARCH 2013)


ADVISORS :


Mr Mah Bow Tan


Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee


PRESIDENT : Mayor Zainudin Nordin


VICE PRESIDENTS :


 Mr Tan Soo Nan


Mr Lim Kia Tong


HON TREASURER : Mr Sarjit Singh (new)


MEMBERS :


Mr Samuel G. Panthradil


Mr Zulkifli Baharudin


Mr Bennett Neo Gim Siong


Mr Michael Kuah


Mr Ng Mui Kim


Mr Jackson Yap


Mr Leong Kok Fann


Mr Bala Chandran s/o A Kandiah


Mr Mohd Muzammil


Mr Daisuke Korenaga


Dr Dinesh Nair (new)


Mr Tan Chong Huat (new)


Ms Ang Lay Kwang (new)


Mr Tan Seng Hua (new)


Mr S Thavaneson (new)


Mr Koh Siong Ling (new)


Mr Lim Eng Lee (new)


OUTGOING COUNCIL MEMBERS


FAS President Zainudin Nordin thanked the 10 outgoing Council members for their contribution to the development of Singapore football, and informed members that this is part of the rejuvenation process for the FAS Council.


The outgoing Council members are:


Lt-Gen (Ret) Ng Jui Ping


Assoc Prof John Koh Nam Sang


Mr Jeffrey Beh Eng Siew


Dr Benedict Tan


Mr Tay Bong Hua Jeremy


Dr S Krishnamoorthy


Mdm Cynthia Phua Siok Gek


Ms Linda Phua Puay Yong


Mr Goh Ek Piang


Mr Jayadev Unnithan

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