Domestic Competitions ● Jun 28, 2018

Inaugural FAS Schools Futsal Tournament Set to Kick Off

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SINGAPORE, 28 JUNE 2018: In less than a week’s time, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will kick off the inaugural Singapore Pools-FAS Inter-School Futsal Challenge.

Set to be the largest school futsal tournament in Singapore, it will take place this July and August across two age-group categories – Under-10 and Under-14.

The organisation of this tournament is in line with the FAS’s objectives of developing youth and preparations for the five-a-side competition are moving into the final phase ahead of kick-off next Tuesday, 3 July at Our Tampines Hub.

From the students to the match officials, the tournament will be a learning experience for all involved and there was a palpable air of excitement at a briefing yesterday afternoon for coaches and teachers from the participating schools in the Under-10 category.

The attendees were given a better understanding of the competition format and rules, with FAS representatives on hand to clarify doubts. The referees involved will also be brought up to speed by the FAS Referees’ Department, which will be organising a three-day futsal workshop for approximately 100 referees on the latest Laws of the Game for futsal.

 

Pre-tournament briefing session for coaches and teachers

Admiralty Primary School’s Co-Curricular Activity teacher, Mr Muhammad Farhan, shared that the students are raring to go.

“This is a very good platform to expose the Primary 3 and 4 students and to prepare our kids for the school tournaments,” explained Mr Farhan, who has previously attended the FAS Grassroots Coaching Course and is currently coaching Primary 3 and Primary 5 students.

“The five-a-side format also provides a good progression pathway for them before they move on to the Junior North Zone or even Nationals, where they will play nine-a-side.

“The kids are very happy to be taking part in the tournament. They have been training very hard and are looking forward to representing their school.”

Beyond the development of technical skills, a key objective of this tournament is to inculcate positive values in the young participants through sport. Three values – Respect, Teamwork and Passion – have been identified and will be encouraged throughout the tournament.

Deputy Director, General Secretary’s Office, FAS, Mr Gerard Christopher elaborated: “As part of our Youth Development Framework, we believe that these are values key to the character building of young children which they can learn through football. Football can complement the education system through imparting these positive values. We encourage participants to demonstrate respect for their opponents, officials, teammates and environment; work together as a team to succeed, as well as have a passion for the game while having fun at the same time.”

Mr Christopher Maik, Teacher-in-Charge of Geylang Methodist School (Primary), agreed: “The emphasis on values in the tournament is very important, especially from a teacher’s point of view. We are not here for the results – we are here for the kids to have fun and to build their character. It is crucial that this is all part of the game and not just the sporting aspects. It is nice that the FAS has come out to say that they will be a part of this.”

History of futsal in Singapore

Futsal fans here will likely recall the glamorous Tiger 5s series that was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium when the sport is mentioned – it was hosted thrice in 1997, 1999 and 2001. Believed to be the world’s most lucrative tournament of its kind then, the Tiger 5s rivalled the Futsal World Cup in prestige and attracted the likes of world champions Brazil, as well as top nations like Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Former Singapore National Team players like Yazid Yasin, Rudy Khairon, Steven Tan, Noor Ali and Nahar Daud featured in the tournament as the hosts put up a good showing in all three editions.

More recently, Singapore participated at the 2015 ASEAN Football Federation Futsal Championship, which ended a 14-year absence from the tournament. The team featured former professional players Oswind Suriya and Farhan Farouk as well as Amir Zalani, who currently turns out for Singapore Premier League side Hougang United FC.

Amir, the youngest player in the team then at 19, recalled his “superb” experience, saying: “That was my debut representing the Singapore Futsal team and I scored two goals! It was quite an experience because the team was newly-formed and it consisted of players from various backgrounds – some had full-time jobs while others were students.

“I learnt a lot from our Thai coach, Mr Pattaya Piemkum, a former Thai national futsal player. He taught us precision in basic skills such as passing, shielding and shooting and the importance of teamwork and communication in the court. It was definitely one of my best times!”

Amir representing Singapore at the ASEAN Football Federation Futsal Championship (Photo courtesy of Amir Zalani)

Introduction to football

By introducing the game of futsal at a young age, the FAS hopes to build up the technical skills of these players, who will form the base of Singapore’s footballing community.

Futsal is a good way to introduce young aspiring players to football as it develops the basic technical skills and ability – agility, coordination and speed – required in and easily translated to football.

Played on a hard court with a futsal ball that is smaller and has less bounce than a regular football, teams are also allowed to make unlimited substitutions at any time.

With more contact time with the ball compared to in football, futsal players develop better ball control, more accurate passing and quicker transitions between defence and attack. Game intelligence is also honed as players are required to make quick decisions.

Amir, who made his debut in the Singapore’s domestic professional football league S.League (now known as the Singapore Premier League) – in 2016, noted the higher intensity of futsal as key in aiding his development.

“Futsal has helped me to improve my basic skills like passing, moving into spaces quickly, close control and shielding the ball, which is important in football,” the 22-year-old said.

“It requires quick-thinking, focus, technicality and agility. There are lesser players, more freedom to plan tricks and requires me to work closer with each player.”

These facets of futsal will be experienced first-hand by the students in the coming weeks, the majority of whom will have never played the sport before.

The FAS hopes that everyone involved will have an enjoyable time and we look forward to kick-off. Happy playing!