FAS ● Feb 11, 2021
FAS President’s Lunar New Year 2021 Message
Dear members of the FAS,
The Chinese Lunar New Year is once again upon us and it is the turn of the Ox according to the Chinese zodiac. The Ox symbolises characteristics of diligence, dependability, strength and determination; qualities which I am proud to associate our football fraternity with as each and every one of you has played a part in helping to overcome the odds in 2020. This enabled us to become the first local sports to resume our competitive professional league successfully without blips during the pandemic and would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of all of you.
With the turn of the year, we have also seen many positive news make the headlines. One of the most significant is the contract extension of our National Team Head Coach Tatsuma Yoshida, who has agreed terms with our FA to continue to lead the Lions all the way till December 2022.
Throughout his tenure, Tatsuma has since instilled an attractive, offensive style of play in the national team that has earned him plaudits on all levels. Although he was unable to showcase the progress of our national team due to international games being halted last year, we are confident that he still has plenty more to offer in the upcoming year ahead. I would like to thank Tatsuma for the trust he has placed in us and for the belief that he has in what we want to achieve collectively. I would also like to express our gratitude to Mr Kohzo Tashima, President of Japan Football Association, for recommending Tatsuma in 2018 and this time for supporting and playing a part in the renewal of his contract. We are already looking forward to what the future has in store for us especially as we prepare for the remainder of our World Cup qualifiers as well as the AFF Suzuki Cup, which was rescheduled from last year to December this year.
With the successful resumption of our professional league, we are confident to now put forth plans for the amateur competitions, including for the SFL, Women’s, IWL and COE teams in 2021. We have been in engagement with several clubs from the amateur football fraternity and begun formulating modified small group activities and competitions, including 4v4 competitions which would allow our amateur players to return to action albeit in a modified format of play that is still in line with the Covid-19 restrictions. It is important that our amateur clubs are not neglected as we restart the Singapore Premier League (SPL), hence we came up with the 4v4 competition format in the hopes that they can see some action on the pitch while we wait for further easing of restrictions once the situation allows it.
We started off the year by strengthening a longstanding relationship with one of the key partners of the SPL. Our longest-serving sponsor, POLAR Mineral Water, have committed to continuing their partnership with the League through to 2025.
The renewal of the sponsorship is worth approximately S$1.5 million and will see POLAR Mineral Water remain as the Official Mineral Water of the Singapore Premier League, Singapore Cup and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS). The deal extends and reaffirms POLAR Mineral Water’s long-term commitment and support for the development of football in Singapore, as it takes the SPL and FAS’ partnership with Field Catering & Supplies Pte Ltd, which distributes POLAR Mineral Water, to a total of 22 years since it began in 2003. We are immensely thankful to have their continued support especially during a time when businesses everywhere are impacted by the effects of the pandemic.
Despite the pandemic having a substantial impact on the scheduling of the football calendar, we need to ensure that we adopt high standards of monitoring player performances so that their fitness levels do not dip. This is why we have recently partnered with Fitogether, a South Korean company which specialises in Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems (EPTS) football science technology. This marks the first time in the history of local football that we will be utilising technology of such a high level to track our players’ fitness progress.
The two-year sponsorship by Fitogether is worth around S$620,000 and will see the company provide all SPL clubs with fully functioning Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices – among other EPTS gear – to facilitate tracking of fitness data for players. Other initiatives to further boost the league’s capability development are also in the works, such as an annual Sport Science and Technology conference to equip clubs with the latest knowledge in the area of fitness. We are confident that with these upgrades in place, it will allow us to start our SPL season on better ground.
Three of our SPL clubs will need to be in their best fighting fit shapes as they will be participating in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) tournaments. Tampines Rovers will be our representative in the AFC Champions League, while both Lion City Sailors and Geylang International will compete in the AFC Cup. It is an extremely exciting year ahead as this marks the first time that a local SPL club qualifies directly for the group stage of the AFC Champions League and we are eager to see how our teams fare in their respective competitions, whilst also making sure that they chalk up the relevant experience.
With such a promising year lined up for us, it is only right that we celebrate the Lunar New Year with as much gusto as we can. Each year at around this period, the Lunar New Year marks a period of festivity whereby celebrants observe traditional customs and come together for feasts. It also represents a time for togetherness as extended families and loved ones gather for reunion dinners complete with customary food such as the Yusheng, Bak Gwa and love letters amongst others. While there may be certain restrictions in place for this year’s lunar new year festivities, we should not let it dampen our spirits as it is for the safety of everyone in the community. I for one, still look forward to seeing everyone decked out in festive colours and new clothes, as well as the adornment of beautiful oriental decorations across the island.
With that, on behalf of the FAS Council, I would like to wish all of you a Happy Lunar New Year and all the best in the year of 2021! 新年快乐，恭喜发财，万事如意 ！Happy 牛 year! HUAT AH!
Lim Kia Tong