Singapore's floorballers putting teammates above personal glory
Team spirit in Singapore floorball squad so strong that all 19 outfield players scored at victorious AOFC Cup campaign
Singapore floorball coach Lim Jin Quan was expectedly thrilled when his team won the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) Cup in the Philippines last Friday.
But what made him happiest was that all 19 outfielders in his 22-man Singapore squad scored during the week-long tournament at the Alonte Sports Arena in Laguna.
The Republic also had a perfect record in five matches, culminating in last Friday's 17-1 final victory over defending champions Thailand.
Said Lim: "At the end, with Jeremy Chia's goal, it meant that everyone scored an international goal from this tournament, which is great, because they will leave with something to remember."
Lim, 27, took over the pro-bono post only three months ago and immediately set about getting his players to work as a closely knit unit.
Admittedly, it took his players some getting used to. But at the same time, his approach also fostered a strong team spirit, with players looking out for one another.
Once the team had built up a sizeable lead during their AOFC Cup matches, players were setting up goal-scoring opportunities for teammates who had not scored yet, instead of taking the glory for themselves.
After their group matches - where Singapore thumped Japan 10-1, hosts Philippines 17-2 and India 16-2 - all the outfield players had scored, except defender Chia.
Lim even switched him to play as a forward in the last minutes against India, and Chia also had several chances in the semi-final against South Korea, where the Republic won 13-1. But to no avail.
Chia, however, finally broke his duck with 40 seconds left in the final, where the 21-year-old scored after taking a long shot from mid-court.
When the ball slotted into the bottom corner, he was enveloped by his cheering teammates.
Said Chia: "It was definitely the highlight of my floorball career... (Having all outfield players on the scoresheet) wasn't an explicit target set by the team but, as more players scored, it became a task that everyone wanted."
It was the first time the national floorball team had all outfield players scoring in an international tournament, said Singapore Floorball Association president Kenneth Ho, who found it "quite the feat given that the team had eight debutants".
Man-of-the-Match for the final Vignesa Pasupathy said that the coaching team comprising Lim, assistant coaches Jatin Nair and Timo Suonpaa deserve the credit.
"Given the short span of time they had, they managed to get all of us to be on the same page and execute their plans," said Vignesa, 23.
"The preparation was settled with urgency because the coaches wanted us to send a strong message at this AOFC and we played with it at the back of our minds. But teams will be a lot stronger at the SEA Games."
The team, who returned home last Saturday, will resume court training on Wednesday before heading to the Aug 8-11 Czech Open.
"The win shows that we are on the right track in our preparation towards the Games but we have no time to waste," said Lim.
"We're going for the Czech Open in two weeks, where we'll face tougher opponents that are from a higher playing field."
This is the first time that Singapore will be competing at the annual competition in Prague, where clubs from Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden and Latvia will also be taking part.
They will be joined by the women's national team, who will also be testing themselves against European sides.