Look beyond the Fandi Ahmads and the Indra Sahdans, and explore a multitude of possibilities in other football-related jobs.
is the message Balestier Khalsa vice-chairman S. Thavaneson had for
students from the Institute of Technical Education, as the club signed a
Letter of Collaboration with ITE College Central at its Bishan campus
on Thursday morning.
The Letter of Collaboration formalises the
partnership between Balestier and ITE College Central for the next two
years, which will see them embark on a new programme called Football 4
The programme will be aimed at providing a safe
and enjoyable environment for participants to develop football skills
and fitness, and students with leadership qualities will be trained as
role models who can run their football Co-Curricular Activities club at
the various campuses.
While many people may eventually look at
pursuing a playing career, as Fandi and Indra – both of whom are ITE
alumni – had done with much success, Thavaneson highlighted the
availability of a wide range of jobs available with the expansion of
Speaking to an auditorium filled with
about 400 ITE College Central students, he urged them to take these
other possibilities into serious consideration.
“Football should be seen as more than just 22 players on the field kicking a ball,” he said in his address to the students.
us, this is an investment for the future, and we should look at
football beyond the game. Many of you can develop to become professional
players, but you can also take the road to coaching or refereeing, or
become administrators, or become events or marketing people.
on your course of study, there is always some opportunity out there for
you. I would urge all of you to engage the clubs, get involved with
them, approach them to do vacation training you’ll be paid for, so that
you can understand what the industry can offer you.
“I can assure
you that the clubs will extend a helping hand for you to achieve your
goals in life. The opportunities are there; all you’ve got to do is work
hard, grab those opportunities, and make a life for yourselves.”
reiterated the point when speaking to the press afterwards as he
furnished more details of the F4F programme, which will be spearheaded
by Balestier Prime League coach Nasaruddin Jalil.
Noting the long
line of Singapore internationals who have come through the ITE’s ranks,
dating back from its previous incarnation as the Vocational and
Industrial Training Board, he stressed the necessity of drawing upon
this resource to build the future of Singapore football.
wanted to find out how we could, as a club, benefit from the huge talent
pool that ITE has,” he said, explaining the origins of the partnership.
you look at players at club and national level, many have actually been
ITE students. Plus, we now see that football needs more
non-footballers, and we want to take the game down to the grassroots and
extend its reach to people.
“Funding for this project will come
from the club, and ITE will provide the infrastructure, the facilities.
It may cost us about $100,000 a year, but we have made provisions for
this – the coaches and everything else will be undertaken and paid for
by the club.
“But I don’t look at it in terms of the club, I look
at it in terms of Singapore football. If we can do something that will
develop talents and help bring football into a higher profile, it can
only be good for everybody involved in football.
“I do not want
this to be exclusive to us, and I will be the first to say we cannot
handle all the ITE students in Singapore,” he added.
four to five clubs, we can harness the talent from all the ITEs. I can
tell you, if that happens, it’s going to be one fantastic opportunity.”
also spoke on the benefits the collaboration will bring to ITE College
Central and its student population, which currently stands at
This, he said, includes those who may have tried and failed to realise their dream of becoming professional football players.
“Maybe a guy cannot make it as a footballer, but football can help increase his level of fitness,” he remarked.
fit guy makes a better student and a better worker who won’t slouch and
skive at work, so that develops good attitudes. In addition, when kids
get together into any sport, there are so many intangible benefits like
unity, cohesion, mixing between races.
“Sports are the greatest
binding factor, I can tell you, when you want to bring youths together.
This programme can open opportunities to youths, and I want to get them
in early and show them the possibilities.
“Maybe the boy or girl
will say at the end of the day that football is not for him, but that’s
fine, because he or she would still have got some training that will
help him or her in future. That way, we will have done our social duty
too, to help them build their careers.”
ITE College Central
principal Tan Seng Hua was pleased to formalise the institute’s
relationship with Balestier, in a move that could pave a way for the
other ITE Colleges to follow.
“This marks a new milestone in the development of football in ITE,” he told sleague.com.
this while, we have been supporting each other in terms of training
venues, coaching and so on. The relationship is not sudden, it has been
cultivated over time, and both parties feel we can bring more to a
common platform through this Letter of Collaboration.
indications are that this will be a success, because in the past, though
many were interested in football, they were not coming forward. Now,
we’ve created a common platform for over 800 members, and I hope to
improve the students’ fitness and instill professional conduct.
this programme proves to be successful, we can open the door to having
students from the other two ITE Colleges, namely ITE College East and
ITE College West. In the long run, this is part of our efforts to ensure
there is an ecosystem to develop our talents.”
Zainudin Nordin, who is also Mayor for Central Singapore District and
Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, was present at the event
to witness the signing of the Letter of Collaboration.
expressed his delight at the initiative shown by the Balestier
management, led by chairman Balbeer Singh Mangat and vice-chairmen
Jagjit Singh and Thavaneson, in turning this project into reality.
was, according to him, a reflection of the desire S.League clubs have
to build connections with educational institutions and other community
bodies – which he encouraged them to pursue.
“I wouldn’t want to
take credit for what Mr. Thavaneson, Balbeer and Jagjit have spoken to
me about for quite some time,” he said in response to a question on
whether FAS had pushed for the project.
“The signing of the LOC
marks, in my view, a very important effort from the club. With the
objectives in mind, I am very glad that clubs are beginning to open up
their minds and understand that they need to engage the community in
different and innovative ways.
“I think none of them have stopped
doing this. All of them have been doing it in their own ways, with
primary and secondary schools, maybe, but with this LOC, I am positive
people will see this idea of collaboration as a good thing to explore.
not impossible to engage others like private institutions – there are
many out there that are actively trying to develop their students. There
are many communities and clusters to engage, and by this example, I
would encourage others to do the same.
“Many of our football talents come through the ITE path, but it doesn’t stop us from seeing other possibilities,” he noted.
polytechnics, universities and other institutions, in my view, have
talents too, and we should not ignore their ability to be involved.
Building of connections will, I think, happen over time, and by this
pioneering effort by ITE and Balestier, people will start to realise
things can happen.”
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