FAS ● Apr 09, 2024

FAS President’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2024 Message

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Dear Members of the Singapore Football Fraternity,

 

As the blessed month of Ramadan draws to a close, we are now in the period of preparation for Hari Raya Puasa.  This is a particularly busy period for our Muslim brethren – a time to buy new clothes, to dress up our houses and to prepare traditional delights such as ketupat, rendang, and Raya cookies.  It is a time of joy, and it is a good time to share greetings.

 

Football has continued at pace during the first quarter of the year. Our new National Team Head Coach Tsutomu Ogura joined the FAS at the end of January and spent the next few weeks getting to know Singapore, the clubs, coaches and players.  He had to also get players, who were mostly off-season, ready for the two FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches against China.  He brought in Gavin Lee from TRFC into the national set up as his assistant coach, and new faces into the national team.   In spite of the short time he has had to work with, the team showed remarkable fortitude and a new brand of high pressing high intensity football.  He secured a 2-2 draw in the initial match at the Singapore National Stadium followed by a harsh 4-1 defeat in Tianjin.  With more time to work with the team, and with players gaining fitness, the team can only get better. With Ogura at the helm, there is a sense of reignited hope and belief among our supporters, and we should all get behind him.

 

Our Lionesses have also been hard at work, as 26 of them flew to Dammam, Saudi Arabia for a 10-day training camp as part of their preparation for upcoming official competitions. Head Coach Karim Bencherifa is using this training camp as the start of the team’s strategic plan in preparation for the 2025 SEA Games.

 

Our young footballers have also been in the thick of the action as the Singapore Youth League (SYL) reaches its midway point of the classification stage. While there are still some teething issues that need to be ironed out, these are to be expected for an initiative that aims to be all encompassing. The SYL is an important initiative. It is imperative that our youth in Singapore get to play frequently and at the right level for them to develop in football and already, many have come to the conclusion that this was a missing piece in our football calendar.

 

The Deloitte Women’s Premier League 2024 season also kicked off in March, with nine clubs participating in the 23rd season of the domestic top-flight women’s game. This season, almost every team has seen a major reshuffle in terms of player lineups, which not only bodes well for fans who will be treated to some exciting new faces, but also how well each team will look to gel as they look to mount a serious challenge for the title. Defending champions Lion City Sailors and Hougang United have already been quick off the blocks with two wins in their first two games, setting the pace for the rest to follow.

 

The second quarter of the year will also be busy having kicked off with a series of activities. In collaboration with the Singapore Exchange last week, we launched the Financial Literacy Training Camp for Singapore Premier League and Women’s Premier League footballers. This pioneering initiative aims to educate our athletes and staff on managing their finances and investments, both during and beyond their football careers.

 

A total of 204 Integrity Officers from FIFA’s Members Association also descended on Singapore in the first week of April for the inaugural FIFA Integrity Summit 2024, a collaborative effort between FIFA, AFC, and FAS. The two-day event underscores FIFA’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of football by combating match manipulation, corruption, and other unethical practices, aligning with the governing body’s statutory objectives.

 

The AFC President His Excellency, Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, will also visit Singapore in late April marking his second official visit since November 2017.  This highlights the strong relationship between the AFC and the FAS. We look forward to extending our distinctive Singaporean hospitality to him and his delegation during his stay here.

 

In May, the Singapore Premier League will kick off with a new calendar, updated regulations and with Albirex as a local team. The curtain raiser is as always, the traditional Community Shield match between the reigning SPL Champions and the Singapore Cup winner.  Albirex Niigata versus Lion City Sailors is always a very juicy contest, and the upcoming clash between the two teams on 4 May 2024 should prove no different.

 

I wish one and all my warmest wishes for a blessed Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to you and your loved ones.

 

Warm Regards,

 

Bernard Tan

President