As part of the celebration for this year's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Grassroots Football Day, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has decided to launch a range of activities to promote grassroots football from May 11 to May 20.
These activities include The quarterly Fifa Live Your Goals (LYG) festival which will take place over two days (May 12-13) at Queensway Secondary and Bowen Secondary respectively. It features small-sided games for girls aged six to 15, and is free-of-charge and open to the public. Other activities planned for this year in Singapore include a five-a-side mini-tournament for boys aged 10 and 11 years old from East Zone Centres of Excellence at Parkview Primary School on May 11, and a football festival at Serangoon Stadium which comprises mixed Under-8s, U-10, and U-12 categories on May 12.
Another aspect also saw clubs from the Singapore Premier League getting involved and not wanting to be outdone as they organised pre-match activities to engage with the grassroots. An example of this was illustrated in the form of a friendly match between Hougang CSC and a Centre for Fathering team, which was played before the Geylang International and Hougang United FC SPL (Singapore Premier League) game at Hougang Stadium on May 12.
Although the friendly match was a fun-filled event which saw two teams of mostly aged players get together and play a footballing game out of good spirits, the match soon belied its friendly tag and soon developed into a competitive affair. Hougang CSC proved to be the better side as they had the lion's share of possession and would score early on in the game, a reward for their attacking nature. Despite their dominance, the Centre for Fathering team would carve out their own chances as well but were wasteful. They ultimately paid the price as their opponents doubled the scoreline making it 2-0 by halftime.
The second half saw a repeat of the same narrative and Hougang CSC would go on to establish their supremacy by scoring midway through the half. They then rounded it off by adding another in the closing stages making it 4-0. While the scoreline did not bother anyone, above all, the players agreed it wasn't winning that matter but the chance to bond and get together. Grassroots football events they believe is an important step in trying to inculcate a strong footballing culture in Singapore and a first step in restoring the morale of the sport here.
“It helps to promote football to grassroots members and promote the sport to all Singaporeans thus it is important to have more of these kinds of activities," said Mr Chin Kwang, a player from Hougang CSC.
"Events are like this are great as they allow people to get together through football and ultimately it establishes a bond between people which can only be beneficial for Singapore football," exclaimed Mr Bernard, the Centre for Fathering team's midfielder.
Positives from spectators to players filled the air and there is no doubt that more activities of this ilk will be wanted by Singaporeans. There is no denying that grassroots football is an important part to elevate Singapore's footballing status. As more youths come and partake in these events, one can be assured that Singapore will have a strong footballing culture in the future. But before that FAS needs to fix the football field at Hougang stadium with certain segments of players complaining of an uneven playing surface.