National men's floorball coach Lim Jin Quan wears an extra hat
He is relishing the challenge of being both national men and women's handler
As coach of the Singapore men's floorball team, Lim Jin Quan has a tough mandate ahead of him but, yesterday, the weight on his shoulders increased after he took over the reins of the women's side as well.
Lim succeeds Louise Khng, who vacated the post at the start of the year due to personal reasons, and he is relishing the challenge of the dual role.
"I feel honoured and privileged to be able to take on this role," Lim, 27, told The New Paper yesterday.
"As the saying goes, 'men are from Mars and women are from Venus'.
"I am sure I will experience different challenges as compared to coaching the men's team. I am excited to see where the journey will lead to."
The former national player added that he has a support system in place to help him cope with a dual role.
"I don't see this as a one-man job and I have a coaching team with me on this journey," said Lim, who also coaches schools on a full-time basis.
"On the larger scale of things, I have friends and family helping me with other aspects of my life for this season.
"Their patience and understanding are essential for me to make the necessary logistical arrangements, so that I can carve out more time for this new role."
Lim has big shoes to fill. Khng led the women's team to 12th place at last year's World Floorball Championship (WFC) - their best performance since the tournament switched to a one-division format in 2011.
They also retained the SEA Games gold last year and won the inaugural Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) Cup in 2018 during Khng's 2½-year stint.
"There is definitely a lot of unspoken expectations and pressure filling her shoes, but there isn't a need to compare," Lim said.
"I want to be mindful of the team, as any additional pressure I take on might unnecessarily spill over to the players.
"It is most important to do my best, and learn and grow alongside the team through this journey together."
While he also manages two women's Premier League teams - NUS Titans and NUS Jupitans - along with his pro-bono stint as national coach, the Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) has a set-up in place to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
Said SFA president Kenneth Ho: "The selection process goes through a system whereby the coaching team will come together to make the selection before it is vetted by the high performance team. It is then presented to the management for approval.
NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST
"Hence, there is no conflict of interest when it comes to player selection and, therefore, no reason for him to leave his current teams."
Lim was supposed to helm both sides along with assistant coach Jatin Nair but the latter stepped down on Monday, citing personal reasons.
The duo had worked in tandem to lead the men's team to the AOFC Cup and a silver medal in last year's SEA Games.
For now, Lim will handle both teams on the same contract, albeit on a bigger stipend, as SFA commenced its search for a deputy yesterday.
While funding was a consideration to SFA's latest decision, Sport Singapore's rationale that resources could be split as the WFC - floorball's equivalent to football's World Cup - alternate between years for both the men and women's teams proved key.
Hence, while Lim and his deputy are expected to conduct training for both sides, there would be more focus on the men's team this year as they prepare for December's WFC in Helsinki, Finland.
"SFA, with the support from Sport Singapore and the management committee, decided that a coaching team to run both sides would be the right way to move along," Ho said.
"We do foresee there might be some difficulties faced by the coaching team at the start in terms of scheduling, but the management will work closely with them to ensure the national teams do not stand to lose out."