Game Changers have strong support staff
Bill Ng's Game Changers are looking to change the face of football here as they contest the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election on April 29.
At first glance, Ng's nine-member slate does not have extensive experience running football at the national level, but he has put together a team that has worked with the FAS as well as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Ng's slate features lawyers Lau Kok Keng, Annabel Pennefather and Krishna Ramachandra, Dr Teoh Chin Sim, local club administrators Zaki Ma'arof, Harman Ali and Christopher Wong as well as former Singapore captain Samad Allapitchay.
The Game Changers also have a support staff, led by Steven Tan, who served as general secretary of the FAS in the period before the launch of the S.League.
Tan was also part of the team that drafted plans for the Republic's only professional sports league before its launch in 1996.
While Tan declined to name the full complement of the team behind the Game Changers, he revealed that they are nine strong, with Ronnie Lee and Francis Lee two key members.
The Lees are unrelated.
"We have a total of nine members, including two full-time staff members to handle matters on behalf of the team," Tan told The New Paper.
"This team looks at why we have to put certain policies in place and how we are going to do it, and this will be reflected in the manifesto that we will present next week."
Ng's Game Changers are poised to reveal their plans next Thursday. Said Tan: "This team is an indication of how we are already looking past the time when the FAS' 44 affiliates go to the ballot box - we are already planning how we will take Singapore football forward."
Former Hougang United manager Matthew Tay is one of the two full-time staff members on board.
Touting the credentials of his staff, Tan said: "Francis is a former Fifa match official who has worked in the FAS' referees department, and he has also managed various clubs playing in the S.League."
Francis has worked with two foreign teams in the league - China's Dalian Shide and South Korea's Super Reds - as well as local side Tanjong Pagar United.
Said Tan: "Ronnie has vast experience in grassroots football - that's where he started - and he was also a lecturer in sports management. He is passionate about post-sports careers and that's something very close to his heart."
Ronnie was a former lecturer and principal at the Asia Pacific School of Sports and Business, which has worked with the AFC to run administrative courses for officials of its member associations.
Tan asserts his team works hand in hand with the leadership group led by Ng and he confidently predicted: "There is varied experience in our (entire) group, and there will be support for our elected candidates when they succeed at the election."
Besides Ng, the chairman of S.League side Hougang United - the only self-sustaining local professional football club - there is former Geylang International vice-chairman Lau and Pennefather, who is a former president of the Singapore Hockey Federation and is currently serving in various committees in the International Hockey Federation and the IAAF.
The FAS election will be held on April 29 at the Singapore Sports Hub's Black Box.