Organised by D2D, the event saw eight teams compete in an invitational futsal tournament to raise funds for victims of the recent natural disaster in the PhilippinesIt was Monday night football with a special cause as eight teams gathered at UberSports in Punggol for the Haiyan Relief Cup.
Charity was the theme of the evening as the teams battled it out all in the name of raising funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Over $1,000 was raised for the tournament, all of which were contributed to the Singapore Red Cross Society for its relief efforts in the typhoo-struck region.
The tournament was the brainchild of D2D Sports general manager Rasvinder Singh, who organised it in conjunction with the Philippines Football Club (PFC), which is based in Singapore.
“This tournament came about because we’ve got a couple of Filipino teams taking part in the Women’s Futsal Crazy League and the captain was sending out WhatsApp messages asking for donations,” Rasvinder recounted.
“It then dawned on me that maybe we could do something to help them, so that’s how this idea came about.
“I got four invitational teams to take part to play against four Filipino teams (from the PFC), which was a mix between males and females.”
The invited teams were Raptors United, TGPC Rovers, Young Bros and Tiger Street Football specialists Touch N Go.
The competition was structured such that the four Filipino teams would play against the four invitational teams in a 20-minute, five-a-side match. The winners then proceeded to the Bowl semi-finals while the losers went on to the Plate semi-finals. The tournament then ended off with a 3rd/4th placing match and the final game.
In the end, Touch N Go unsurprisingly emerged as the champions after beating Young Bros 3-0, while TGPC Rovers beat Raptors United 7-2 to clinch third spot. PFC Orange won the plate final after they beat PFC Blue 2-1 in a penalty shootout after drawing 9-9 in regulation time.
However, for once the score lines were not the main focus of the day as the teams all played in a light-hearted atmosphere with the same goal of raising funds to aid in the victims of the natural disaster.
“I feel strong support from the football community in Singapore,” PFC captain Joseph Uichanco said.
“The support is overwhelming and I’m sure all of our team, which is mostly Filipinos and even their families in Philippines or in Singapore, they are filled with gratitude and they would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone.
“Ask any Filipino; if they are not affected themselves, they know somebody who was affected or lost somebody there. I can tell you some of the players here right now are from Tacloban (the hardest hit area from the typhoon) and came back only a week ago after they had to go and see their families themselves.”
Arif Aiman, Touch N Go’s captain, was only thrilled to be able to help and contribute with the best way he knows how, which is via playing football.
“Football in Singapore is number one in terms of sports,” Arif said.
“For people to come down and contribute through football and some entertainment is something that is much better than walking around and asking people to donate, which Singaporeans would seldom want to entertain.
“This way, it is easier to get people to come together and donate more.”
Rasvinder was heartened with the outcome of the tournament and stressed that it was the rational thing to do.
“It’s never nice to be in that situation (in the Philippines),” he pointed out.
"We’re lucky enough in Singapore we don’t get to experience all that. Having read and seen the images of what has happened, you can understand people’s lives has turned upside down. We’re doing this for humanity.
“Honestly, this is the first time ever I’m doing something related to charity of this scale.
“D2D’s specialty is that we do things with a heart. Today is an example of our heart. It feels good and it makes me feel like I want to do this more often.”