FAS' reply to ST Forum Page: FAS will continue to provide international exposure for our players
We thank Mr Derrick Lee (“Good time to revive Merlion Cup”, 12 June 2013) and Mr Michael Ang (“S.League needs major overhaul”, 10 June 2013) for their letters as published in The Straits Times.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) recognises the need for our teams, at all age-groups, to play against quality opponents on a regular basis. As spelt out in our FAS’ Strategic Plan, we will re-establish the Merlion Cup as one of the marquee events on the Singapore football calendar by attracting top teams from Asia, Europe, North and South America.
We are pleased with the success of the Canon Lion City Cup in recent years, where we have unearthed several budding talents. We are certain that if the young players are given the necessary regular match exposure and enhanced experience while training and playing in Europe or South America, it will definitely help them in their football development. Our Singapore’s Under-19 side also performed admirably against the youth teams of English giants Liverpool and Manchester United in last December’s NexLions Cup.
At the senior level, the FAS will continue to invite quality teams to participate in the Lions’ International Series. We recognise that by competing against top teams, it will provide the necessary match exposure for our Lions to play football at a higher level. The Lions secured two important victories for the friendly matches against Myanmar and Laos in early June, which had provided the players with the opportunity to build confidence and teamwork ahead of their next competitive game against Oman in the Asian Cup 2015 Qualifiers on 14 August 2013, at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
For our S.League season 2013, we have successfully introduced several initiatives to raise competitiveness and football quality. For example, we introduced the “Star Player” initiative which has seen the likes of former French Ligue 1 and Moroccan international player Monsef Zerka, and former K-League and Korean international player Lee Kwan Woo set the league alight with their scintillating displays on the pitch. The competitiveness of the S.League can be seen from the 12-club league table, where after 14 matches, only nine points separate the third-placed team and the 11th-placed team. In the recent League Cup tournament, there were many thrilling and exciting matches with several upsets as well. The intense level of competition has made this season one of the most exciting thus far, and this is coupled with improving attendances at the matches.
While we have progressed well in most of our programmes under the FAS Strategic Plan, there remains much hard work ahead to achieve excellence at all levels. Hence, we would like to call upon our stakeholders, including the fans and the media, to continue to work with us to raise the standards of football in Singapore. We also hope more corporations would answer the call by Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong at the recent Singapore Sports Awards, to provide more funds to take sports, and in particular, Singapore football to a higher level.