Speech by Mr Zainudin Nordin at the Press Conference for 25th Canon Lion City Cup
PRESS CONFERENCE FOR 25TH CANON LION CITY CUP
TUESDAY, 23 APRIL 2013, 2.00PM
CANON SINGAPORE HEADQUARTERS
SPEECH BY MR ZAINUDIN NORDIN
PRESIDENT, FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE
Mr Andrew Koh
Senior Director & General Manager
Consumer Imaging & Information Division
Mr Winston Lee
Football Association of Singapore
Mr R Sasikumar
Red Card Group
Distinguished Guests and Friends from the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good afternoon to all of you.
1. First of all, I would like to extend our appreciation to Canon for their firm support for the Canon Lion City Cup over the past few years. Your support has played a key role in our on-going efforts to develop and groom local football talents. For instance, Canon had provided Amer Nazri and Amirul Azmi, both from their respective national-age group teams, the opportunity to train at the prestigious Ajax’s youth academy for two weeks just a month ago. We believe they have benefitted tremendously from that experience, and have since relayed what they have learnt to their follow teammates.
2. We would also like to thank our former international player R Sasikumar and his team at Red Card for co-organising with FAS the Canon Lion City Cup, which has been well-supported by our fans.
3. In line with our Strategic Plan, the Canon Lion City Cup aims to provide Singapore’s elite young football talents with the competitive match exposure by playing against the top club teams from Europe and South America. In the previous edition, our boys took on quality opponents from Ajax, Manchester City, FC Porto and Vasco Da Gama, and we are pleased that our National Football Academy’s (NFA) Under-16 team went on to finish runners-up. Apart from the brilliant displays of football on the pitch when our NFA Under-16 team went head-to-head with Ajax in the final, we are indeed happy that close to 4,000 fans from all walks of life thronged the Jalan Besar Stadium to watch the match.
4. We are also heartened to note that several of our promising young talents within the NFA Under-15 and Under-16 teams have earned praise for their technical abilities from the coaches at the top clubs competing in the recent editions of the Canon Lion City Cup. For instance, former NFA Under-16 captain Adam Swandi, who was singled out by several coaches from the visiting teams, has since progressed further and is now at French side FC Metz. Apart from potential and talent, it is important for our players to continue to work hard and be imbued with the right attitudes.
5. With the emphasis on youth development, this tournament is also part of our long-term commitment to groom and prepare our NFA Under-15 & Under-16 players for the upcoming editions of the SEA Games. Apart from high-profile competitions, FAS is also constantly looking at opportunities for our players to travel overseas to train and play against quality opponents. For instance, our NFA Under-15 and Under-16 teams recently completed their training stint in Japan as part of their preparations for the upcoming Canon Lion City Cup competition.
6. Singapore football continues to progress steadily at the various national age-group levels through our concerted efforts within our NFA programmes. This year, we have expanded our NFA setup, which now includes the Under-13 and Under-14 teams. We are also pleased to note that there was an overwhelming response for the trials which were held in October last year, as close to 700 boys turned up to stake a claim in these teams.
7. Besides providing our emerging talents with the best training and competitions locally, playing against top European and Asian teams has also been identified as vital for the overall development and international match exposure for our elite youth players. This is why it is important for our NFA teams and players to be placed on overseas attachments.
8. We set up a Football Development Fund last year, with the aim of sending more players, coaches, referees and staff for overseas attachments to enhance their capabilities and capacities. Going forward, we will strive to secure more resources so as to send our teams and players on overseas training tours on a more regular basis – in line with the goals spelt out in our Strategic Plan. We will also continue to develop collaborative partnerships with our partners to systematically groom our youth players.
9. There remains much hard work ahead and we and we will continue to strive towards our goals, work on other areas which we are lacking, and to further promote and develop the beautiful game. On 3 April 2013, Singapore football clinched the “National Team of the Year” award, and four other key accolades, which included “Player of the Year”, “Coach of the Year”, “Referee of the Year” and “Assistant Referee of the Year”, at the inaugural AFF Awards 2013. Apart from the Lions, I would also like to thank every staff in the Association, who thoroughly deserved recognition for their hard work and relentless efforts.
10. I am pleased to announce that the 25th Canon Lion City Cup will take place from 8 to 16 June 2013 at the Jalan Besar Stadium, and we hope to see more fans coming to the Stadium to support our boys as they take on the top youth teams from the various footballing nations. We have made good progress in youth development, and I look forward to your continued support as we strive to raise our standards further.
11. Thank you.