Press Releases ● Dec 29, 2015
Football Association Of Singapore Concludes 33rd Annual General Meeting
SINGAPORE, 29 DECEMBER 2015: The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) held its 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) earlier this evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium with its Council members and club representatives in attendance.
In his opening address, FAS President Zainudin Nordin gave a review of the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, and also revealed some information about the next Strategic Plan to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2016.
Creditable Performance Despite Constraints
The FAS, together with all stakeholders, has achieved many of the targets set out in the Strategic Plan despite limited resources. However, President Zainudin said there remains much work to be done, especially in the areas where the organisation did not meet the targets. An action plan has been formulated based on key learning points on these areas, and more details on the action plan, which includes enhancement of the youth development structure, will be announced early next year.
Mr Kohzo Tashima, Japan Football Association (JFA) Vice President and FIFA Executive Committee member, said that FAS has done well despite its constraints.
“Like any other company, professional sports organisations require a strong vision, capable and committed leaders, and full support in key areas, including financial resources, in order to succeed.
“The FAS has achieved much progress and success in most of its key programmes identified in its five-year visionary strategic plan. Its senior management is professional and widely respected in the international football fraternity, and I am certain that FAS could have achieved much more success had it obtained the necessary amount of support.
“For a Member Association which lacks the financial resources, it was a right decision to prioritise its youth development system although it is a long-term process. The recent appointments of experienced technical personnel such as Michel Sablon demonstrate both their confidence in FAS as well as the commitment of the Association towards its long-term goals.
“We will continue to cooperate with the FAS as it embarks on a new strategic plan which I believe will have a lasting impact on Singapore football – if its key partners come together and move towards the same direction,” concluded Mr Tashima.
World-class talent has been brought on board in the past year, with new Technical Director Michel Sablon renowned for revolutionising the youth development structure in Belgium that led to the current golden generation of Belgian players playing in the world’s top leagues, and bringing Belgium to first in the FIFA World Rankings. Michel has further refined and strengthened the National Football Syllabus, and he will present the improved NFS next year along with other changes to improve the youth development structure in Singapore.
Aside from Michel, Richard Tardy – who led Rwanda to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup – and Guy Martens, famed for developing current Belgium and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois when he was still at KRC Genk, were also welcomed to the FAS coaching structure as Head Coach, National Youth Teams and Consulting Goalkeeper Coach respectively.
There have also been other names identified for important roles within the FAS, such as the Head of JCOE/Club Academies/Singapore Football Academies to help Michel’s technical team implement an enhanced National Football Syllabus to all teams at youth level, and a new Coach to join Richard to work with the National Youth Teams. This will ensure a single playing philosophy from a young age, which will benefit the national teams in the long term.
Enhanced Youth Development Structure
This year saw the return of the Lion City Cup, where the National Football Academy (NFA) Under-15 and Under-16 teams took on their counterparts from English Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. While this tournament is important as a highlight for the youth teams, President Zainudin also revealed that Michel Sablon has been working on an enhanced Youth Development structure to augment our young players’ regular schedules.
“We are pleased to note that there are more school teams participating in football competitions, from 256 in 2014 to 350 in 2015. We aim to further increase this number by engaging the schools, and to have their competition calendar suit the newly enhanced Youth Leagues, so schools may also participate in the newly formatted leagues,” said Mr Zainudin.
Over the past few years, the FAS has been sending our youth footballers on overseas training stints to expose them to international standards. In March, Benjamin Davies, Hami Syahin and Muhelmy Suhaimi spent one week training with French club FC Metz, which boasts a much-vaunted youth system that has produced players such as Robert Pirés, Louis Saha, Emmanuel Adebayor and Papiss Cissé, among others. Three months later, another three young footballers – Muhammad Nur Adam, Mohamad Hamizan and Elijah Lim – were sent to J.League team Matsumoto Yamaga FC, thanks to a sponsorship agreement with Epson.
However, there are plans to enhance this in the future. The FAS is looking into securing longer-term attachments, for periods of 6 months to more than a year to better aid the development of not just players, but also coaches. The Football Development Fund will be utilised to fund such attachments.
Another planned initiative in the pipeline for coaches in Singapore is the introduction of a Coaching Academy, the first of its kind in the region, to provide regular training.
Concluding his speech, Mr Zainudin said: “I would like to once again thank everyone present for your hard work and commitment to improving Singapore football. Without you, we would not have achieved good results together. Let us continue to work hand in hand with one another as we embark on the next Strategic Plan period, and continue to raise the standards of Singapore football.
“We look forward to announcing the details of the new Strategic Plan and the enhanced Youth Development structure in early 2016.”
Mr S. Thavaneson, Chairman of Balestier Khalsa FC, reflected: “In general, FAS has done well in maximising its limited resources. It would have been easy to prioritise short term gains over long term goals but the FAS did not do so. Otherwise, they would have allocated funds to the National Team for numerous overseas training tours instead of placing so much emphasis on strengthening its youth development structure – which will take time to yield results.
“If I were to use an analogy, not paying attention to our youth development structure would be like neglecting the importance of bricks used in the construction of an apartment; instead, we are focusing only on the aesthetic appeal of the apartment. We cannot neglect the fact that only a strong foundation – which relates to the bricks and the hard work in laying them – would help to ensure sustained quality of the unit. The FAS has performed commendably in most of the key areas relating to football development.”
Reacting to the AGM, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “FAS gave a very honest assessment of their work over the past years including areas they did well in and the areas that they need to improve.
“While it is understandable that the National Team’s result is typically used by observers and fans to gauge the success of a Football Association, I believe we need to look long term and define success beyond the current results on the pitch.
“There is little doubt that FAS, despite constraints in resources including funding, has built a strong foundation which will translate into sustainable success for its national teams in the future. It has been focusing and doing well in key areas including youth development, management capabilities, grassroots, sports science and information technology.
“Moving ahead, FAS needs to ensure that it obtains the necessary amount of resources in order to implement fully its next strategic plan and achieve the maximum level of success on and off the pitch. Otherwise, they can never fulfil the full potential of Singapore football,” he asserted.
For a copy of the President’s speech, please click here.
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE