Former TeamSG Lions & Stakeholders in Full Support, to Uplift Singapore Football at UTR! Football Conversation
Since the launch of "Unleash The Roar!" (UTR!) in 2021, the national programme to uplift Singapore football standards at all levels has made significant strides forward. Conceptualised by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Sport Singapore and the Football Association of Singapore, UTR! has seen the formation of 12 School Football Academies (SFA) islandwide. And since last year, close to 700 male and female footballers aged 13 to 16, are part of the training programmes handled by coaches from Spain's LaLiga Academy and from Singapore. The partnership with the LaLiga Academy also saw the very first batch of UTR! footballers in Spain last November, on a month-long training stint. The trip comprised boys aged 12 and 13 from the SFA programme, the ActiveSG Football Academy Development Centres and the Football Association of Singapore’s talent identification programme.
As the UTR! programmes continue to develop and evolve, the Republic’s recent football campaign at Cambodia 2023 came into spotlight, especially after the 7-0 defeat to Malaysia. That compelled our Young Lions to miss out on the semi-finals at the SEA Games for the 5th straight edition. Football fans in Singapore were hurting, disappointed and called for answers.
More than 170 guests in attendance for UTR!'s first large-scale dialogue session on 25 May 2023, with stakeholders regarding Singapore football. Photo Credit : Don/Unleash The Roar!
On 25 May 2023 at Suntec City Convention Centre, the UTR! team held its very first large-scale dialogue session. The "Football Conversation" is part of UTR!’s engagement series where opinions from stakeholders are solicited in both small and large settings. Helmed by Mr Eric Chua, Chairman of the UTR! Executive Committee and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS) for Culture, Community and Youth, and Social and Family Development, the 2.5 hour event saw more than 170 parents, coaches, ex-national players, teachers, industry professionals, media etc in attendance.
Mr Eric Chua, Chairman of the UTR! Executive Committee said that, in light of the disappointing recent SEA Games campaign, it's time to return to the basics. (see video below)
Highlights from the speech by Mr Eric Chua, Chairman of the UTR! Executive Committee. Video Credit : Bruce/Unleash The Roar!
With the main focus on youth development, several points during the townhall discussion were raised concerning the current training pathway programmes for promising national footballers, coaching standards, scouting for talented youths, international exchange programmes, support for football in schools and much more. It was an evening of open-hearted sharing by the various stakeholders and the exchange of information, ideas and hopes - all with the aim of improving the current and future generations of our footballing sons and daughters.
UTR! Ambassador and ex-Singapore international midfielder, Rafi Ali, provided his insights into the development of youth football. Photo Credit : Don/Unleash The Roar!
UTR! Ambassador and ex-Singapore international midfielder, Rafi Ali highlighted to ActiveSG Circle, "I believe we should have more of these open discussions with the various stakeholders. More talks about youth development and other ways of improving our local football standards. On the whole, this event was very good and positive. As to where we head next, I am a firm believer in youth development and we need to keep trusting in that process. Let's focus on the next generation of youth players and get them to compete in Asian Football Confederation-sanctioned U15 to U19 tournaments".
The UTR! Team will study each suggestion, consolidate key points from all group discussions and will share them in a summary report in the near future. There is still much work to do, and the football fraternity stands united to improve Singapore football for fans and all stakeholders of the game.
Infographics summary of UTR! Football Conversation, 25 May 2023. Image credit : Unleash The Roar!