You know it’s World Cup season when you realised many of your colleagues are coming into office late, looking tired with many cups of kopi, or they simply called in “sick likely because of the late night matches.
Sadly, the World Cup also reminded Singaporeans of the sorry state of our local football. Case in point, the not so Singapore Premier League (aka former S-League), and the defeat streaks of our national football teams, both senior and junior squads, over the years.
To “rub” more salt into our wounds, we were recently reminded of the failed Goal 2010 plan/dream, mooted by former PM Goh Chok Tong for our national football team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup one day. Well, keep dreaming.
Many NATOs (No Action, Talk Only) have pointed out various reasons for the cui state of our football scene – i.e. FAS (Football Association of Singapore)’s old and new management f’up, early off-ing of stadium football lights that disrupted football matches, got $20 million to serve “coffee and tea” for Trump and Kim but no money to invest in the development our local football talent. And the list goes on.
One of the reasons could also be our perpetual botak football fields, especially in our schools, that arguably “hindered” our Goal 2010. Well, one could say that schools are the bedrock of our youth football development. So, hopefully, we could spot and groom our next Fandi from our schools, and eventually fulfil our dream of Goal YYYY.
And to support this impossible dream, MOE has set aside S$83.5 million for its Synthetic Turf Programme. In context, it is almost like serving “coffee and tea” for Trump and Kim four times or winning S$8 million TOTO for 10 times.
But our schools are giving their thumbs-up for these synthetic football fields. Reasons listed are “cleaner” (but still smelly) students after PE lesson, as they will not bua the mud from the natural football field all over the school or classroom. This is good news for the schools’ cleaners with cleaner students. #punintended
More importantly, it saves money! Synthetic football fields are cheaper to maintain, which involves topping up the rubber infill granules and brushing the artificial grass with a tractor, and these could be done in about three to four hours.
In comparison, the process of maintaining a natural field could take about a month, because it involves putting in more soil, waiting for the grass to grow, and it does not always turn out that well because of the rain.
Only time will tell if these synthetic football fields would eventually help produce the Iceland version of Singapore’s national football squad for World Cup. Meanwhile, my advice to our local Ronaldo-wannabes, make full use of these synthetic football fields in schools, and practise your free kicks bend like Beckham.
Good luck, and may we hear the Kallang Roar one day at World Cup for our Lions.