FAS ● Nov 13, 2020
FAS President’s Deepavali 2020 Message
The ‘Florence Nightingale’ of local football, Nurhafizah Abu Sujad broadens the reach of her quest to keep footballers in top condition, joining the Lion City Sailors while retaining her role as National Teams Head Physiotherapist.
My dear Hindu members and the Hindu football fraternity of the FAS,
I hope this message finds all of you healthy and well. The last few months have seen some form of much welcomed relief in terms of easing of restrictions that we had to adapt to in the first half of the year. While we continue to grapple with the uncertainties brought about by the long-term impact that Covid-19 has had on our nation, I am heartened to see that we, as a football community, have rallied together and helped each other out.
Deepavali is also known as the Festival of Lights, where all Hindus come together to celebrate the emblematic victory of light over darkness and good over evil. How apt it is then for us to be celebrating this occasion now, given that we can finally catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel as we look to emerge victorious in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
As our Hindu friends don their festive wear and illuminate their homes with beautiful lights to welcome visitors during this joyful occasion, I am glad that they are now able to celebrate it with their loved ones since government restrictions have been lifted to allow for five visitors per household at any one time.
I believe that the significance of light illuminating the path of darkness during Deepavali is indeed metaphorical of the football scene now as well. With the initial uncertainty of not knowing when the Singapore Premier League (SPL) can restart again, it was akin to our community being shrouded in darkness as we traversed in uncharted territory. Eventually, we could see a glimmer of hope as we were allowed to resume training sessions for the clubs in early September. This paved the way for an eventual restart of the league in mid-October, and it was definitely a welcome sight amid all the gloom back then.
Since then, all SPL staff and personnel have been complying with the safety protocols in place such as the mandatory swab tests, safe distancing measures as well as the standard match day logistic processes. I am proud to say that because of the discipline shown and hard work put in by everyone in our footballing fraternity, we have maintained a clean bill of health with zero Covid cases detected amongst SPL players and referees thus far.
However, this does not mean that we will let our guard down in any instance. We will continue adhering to all necessary protocols to ensure that we stick to a safe return to football without compromising on the health and safety of all parties involved. This will require a concerted effort from everyone, but I am confident that we can achieve so much if we work together cohesively.
Just yesterday, we launched the new 2020 Singapore kits for the National Teams in anticipation of the Lions and Lionesses’ return to action next year. The kits, which are uniquely designed for Singapore, pay homage not only to our nation’s history but also give tribute to Singapore’s football legacy. For the first time since the FAS logo was redesigned in 2003, we will be using the logo for the National Team jerseys. The change was made following fans’ feedback on the significance of the logo which symbolises the pride of Singapore’s football history and brings back a sense of nostalgia. Having the FA logo on the jersey would also mean that we are in line with the standard practice followed by the other Member Associations across the world.
Speaking of new changes, the ongoing renovation works at our FAS headquarters in Jalan Besar Stadium is nearing completion. It is the first major facelift for the premises since 2003 and is an initiative that I have been working on together with FIFA. Their support and kind financial assistance have enabled us to give not just the FAS office a major overhaul but also to upgrade the pitch for the stadium. I am happy to say that the ‘Home of Singapore Football’ will be ready to serve the football family once again in early 2021.
I had also initiated the discussion with FIFA back in 2018 with regards to the areas of grassroots, youth and community participation, as well as in capacity building amongst the club officials and administrators. As a result, the FAS is currently working with FIFA on a subvention programme for all amateur clubs which will provide them with incentives for achieving various criteria points.
We have all endured the challenges of 2020 and responded by displaying various instances of teamwork, resilience and unity. I am of the belief that as long as we plough on together as a team, we can collectively overcome all the adversities in our way and emerge stronger as One Team Singapore. Life may no longer be as we had known it to be, but the beauty lies in its ever-changing nature as we adapt along the way.
With daily cases dropping to low single digits, our nation looks poised to successfully enter Phase 3 within the next few weeks. We are looking forward to embarking on the next step towards resuming normalcy, whereby we can hopefully welcome fans back into our stadiums once more, albeit in controlled limited numbers. I look forward to the day when our players can go on the pitch once more with all of you roaring your support in the stands, but until then, let us take heart in how well we have responded to the national crisis thus far and be proud of how we have overcome many adversities as a nation.
During this Deepavali festive season, we hope that our Hindu friends will enjoy the festive fare of muruku and sweetmeats and take this opportunity to strengthen family and friendship ties through the traditional house visits while adorning new clothes. We also look forward to seeing the beautiful lighted diyas or oil lamps, and homes decked out in the colourful kolam designs during this period!
On behalf of the FAS Council and staff, I wish you and your loved ones a blessed Deepavali!
Lim Kia Tong