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Steps taken to encourage more girls to play football

We thank Mr Ivan Goh for his letter ("Do more to boost women's football"; last Friday). We are glad to note his interest in the women's game.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) recognises that the women's game is an important part of the local football eco-system. Our long-term goal is to develop a quality national team.

One way to ensure this is by organising the Women's Premier League.

However, as with the boys' game, youth development is an integral component to the successful development of women's football. This is why we have been working closely with the Ministry of Education (MOE), schools and other partners to encourage more girls to play the game.

The junior tournaments, events and structured training programmes for aspiring footballers that we organise annually with our partners include:

 - The annual inter-school tournaments for junior colleges, secondary and primary schools, which are organised with the MOE's Physical Education and Sports Education Branch. This year's tournaments saw over 35 schools and more than 600 students taking part.

 - An annual five-a-side Football Fiesta organised for primary school pupils on top of the annual inter-school competition. This is to help raise and maintain the pupils' interest in the sport.

- A Junior Centre of Excellence programme for girls aged 10 to 11, which was started this year. So far, we have more than 25 footballers training weekly at Queensway Secondary School.

There are signs that our efforts are slowly bearing fruit. For example, there are indications that interest in girls' football in schools is burgeoning, to the point that the sport has become part of the Direct School Admission exercise for St Andrew's Junior College and Meridian Junior College.

Finally, we send our national teams to compete in international tournaments so that the players can chalk up competitive exposure.

Our girls recently played in the qualifiers for the Asian Football Confederation's Under-14 Regional Championships, while our Under-19s will be participating in an Asean Football Federation tournament this year.

With regard to Mr Goh's suggestion of including naturalised citizens in the women's team, our doors are open to anyone who is eligible and good enough to play for our national teams.

 

Gerard Wong

Director, Marketing and Communications

 

Football Association of Singapore

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