The Unofficial Hougang United FC Supporters Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FAS chief calls for patience

Mohamed Shamir
Photo: TNP
SINGAPORE - From progress in the area of youth development to having more money in the coffers, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) President Zainudin Nordin went through most of the high points of the last year in football at the FAS Annual General Meeting (AGM) at its Jalan Besar headquarters yesterday.

But a hush fell over the room as K Suppaiah stood up at the end of the meeting to point out the failures of the S-League in an emotional delivery that focused on a lack of a connection between clubs and fans.

The 61-year-old former Jurong FC chairman felt that the absence of a promotion-relegation system, as well as the presence of foreign teams, has led to the current situation.
Source: TNP
"I came here because I love the game enough to put in S$300,000 of my own money into it (through Jurong) and I don't think the S-League has improved in the last 17 years, and that makes me sick," said Suppaiah, who had been involved in the planning for the S-League when it was launched in 1996.

Jurong left the S-League in 2003 after a seven-year spell that saw them earn a cult following.

Two others stood up to voice their disagreements at the meeting after Suppaiah, but Zainudin took things in his stride, saying: "There will always be some discontent in the football community here, but what (Suppaiah) did was just venting and bringing up issues that have been discussed in the last 10 years."

Zainudin had admitted, in a recent interview, there are areas in the S-League that "require a lot of work" and, yesterday, some two years after the FAS' six-year strategic plan was launched, he candidly admitted that more needed to be done to achieve the lofty targets set in Singapore's football masterplan as well.

"We need to put more energy and focus into the strategic plan ... we could do better, and we need to double our efforts," said the 49-year-old. "But it's not a sprint, nor a marathon, but more like a middle-distance run."

The plan's targets include improvements in youth development, sending coaches, referees and players on overseas attachments, the national team breaking into the top 10 ranks in Asia - Singapore are currently sixth in ASEAN - and winning gold at the 2015 SEA Games, which will be hosted here.

"I don't think we have a problem with implementation. If you set a (quantifiable) target and you don't reach it, I don't think it means you've failed - that's too rigid a view," he said. "My gauge is development."

He was pleased with the improvements seen in youth development, including the seven additional development centres opened for kids aged between eight and 12, and the performances of the various age-group teams in the Canon Lion City Cup.

And despite the loss of key FAS personnel in its competitions, refereeing, marketing and football development departments since the launch of the plan, Zainudin has vowed to persevere.

"The coming and going of staff is a normal process ... but I think the strategic plan has some progress, and it's better to have a vision even if we hit only 30 per cent of our targets.

"We don't have the same resources as some countries, but we should still have the courage to (go through with it)." (SOURCE)

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