Football Science ● Apr 17, 2020

Life without football: FSAM offers assistance and tips to players

Example of Fabian Kwok’s diet (Photo: Fabian Kwok)


SINGAPORE, 17 APRIL 2020 – Since the introduction of heightened safe-distancing measures at the start of April in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus, Singaporeans have had to make certain adjustments in their lives.


Not only were changes made to working and schooling environments, tweaks were necessary in lifestyle habits such as diet and physical activities.


Despite the situation, many footballers have continued to stay active by working out at home to maintain their health and fitness levels during this period.


Head of FAS Football Science and Medicine (FSAM), Haiyum Jaafar said, “The human immune system is a highly intricate network of cells and molecules designed to keep the host free from infection and disease. Exercise is known to have a profound impact on the normal functioning of the immune system.”


To help players keep a regular fitness routine, the FSAM department has developed several home workout programs for both fit and injured players.


Strength and conditioning trainer Hidayat Osman said, “We have prepared home workout programs for healthy players to maintain their general physical fitness during this training break. These workout programs are also meant to enhance athletic capabilities, improve fundamental exercise movement skills and serve as part of an injury-risk management plan prior to the restart of the season, when the situation permits.”


He added, “On the other hand, players with injuries are either given a separate program to cater to their rehabilitation or a modified version of the home workout program that does not stress their injury sites any further.”


Useful training tips and advice 




In lieu of physically assessing and assisting injured players who require rehabilitation, physiotherapist Imran Khamis has turned to the use of technology.


“The FSAM conducts one-to-one online video consultation to review and monitor the players’ recovery status,” he said. “Rehab exercises will then be tweaked and adjusted based on the state of their injuries.”


Responsible for the players’ health and well-being, FSAM also offers key tips on nutrition and diet. Nurhafizah Sujad, who is the key physiotherapist for the Men’s National Team, advises players to adopt a proper diet during this period.


“A proper diet is required in order to maintain health by preventing loss of muscle strength, bone mass and vitamin deficiency states,” said the senior physiotherapist.


“We have to watch what we consume as the quality of diet is a key determinant of nutrition and related to diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and heart conditions. Lack of certain nutrients in our diet could also lead to illnesses such as flu and the poor healing of a fracture or an infection.”


Sports scientist Faizul Wahid added, “It is important for the players to have a well-balanced diet of carbs, proteins and fats that will help them to recover well after the workouts.”


He also suggested that players could carry out some cooking experiments.


“Players should even try cooking their own meals or try out baking such as muffins, or walnut or banana steam cakes,” he said. “This could give the players a sense of responsibility to eat proper and take charge of their diet.”


“Experiment all you want but do not burn down the kitchen!” he jokingly cautioned.


Useful dietary tips



Sports trainer Shafiq Thair wants to remind everyone to stay safe and healthy until football activities can get back on track.


“Keep up with your fitness, nutrition and wellness during these tough times; your choices now will prove to be crucial once the football season resumes,” he said.


“Take extra caution at this time and practice social responsibility. What’s important now is we keep up with practicing good hygiene measures to stay well. Only through responsible actions will we then be able to return to our normal daily routine in due time. Stay home and stay safe!”