Former S.League coaches to train kids at ActiveSG academy
Kids to be trained by seasoned coaches at new ActiveSG football academy
"Learn Football and much more."
That is the motto adopted by the ActiveSG Football Academy, which will kick off operations from Saturday.
Helmed by former Singapore international and current Academy principal, Aleksandar Duric, the programme aims to better youngsters - aged six to 12 - on and off the pitch.
On the sidelines of the ActiveSG Football Academy Football Tournament, a school outreach initiative, at the Kallang Practice Track yesterday, Duric unveiled the five head coaches who will be assisting him.
Heading the programme at different ActiveSG venues across the country will be the coaching cast of Richard Bok, Steven Tan, Robin Chitrakar, Hairil Amin and Hyrizan Jufri.
They will oversee the academies at Serangoon Sports Centre, Kallang Cricket Field, Queenstown Sports Centre, Woodlands Sports Centre and Jurong East Sports Centre, respectively.
The programme is priced at $130 for 14 sessions and takes place over five weeks. Around 200 have already signed up, with organisers targeting 100 participants per centre.
Former Warriors coach Bok is the most successful coach in S.League history while Tan also won the title while in charge of Tampines Rovers. Chitrakar, meanwhile, formerly helmed the Young Lions.
Hairil is the head coach at Nanyang Polytechnic while Hyrizan is the academy coach at the Singapore Sports School.
"We are delighted to secure our head coaches. These five head coaches have been carefully selected based on their track record in football coaching and experience working with youths," 45-year-old Duric said.
"Many top footballers have worked with them before and I believe the children in our academy will blossom under their care - not just in terms of football skills but also the life skills needed to excel in whatever they do."
While unearthing the next Fandi Ahmad or V Sundramoorthy is one of Tan's goals, the former national winger insisted that it will not be his main priority.
"While this is an opportunity to find the next generation of footballers in Singapore, it is also important to teach the kids important life skills and values which will stay with them," the 45-year-old said.
The ex-Lion, fondly remembered as the "supersub" for his match-winning performances off the bench, also believes that his new role is a good way of giving back to the community which helped him in his rise as a professional footballer.
Home United assistant coach Chitrakar, 39, adopted a similar mantra.
"What we want for the kids is to not only become better football players but also pick up life lessons and have fun," he said.
Hyrizan, 44, felt honoured and privileged to be part of a set-up focused on lofty goals.
"I am delighted to be called up by Duric and the ActiveSG staff. It feels like I'm being called up to the national team," said Hyrizan, beaming from ear to ear.
"This is a big responsibility that is given to me and I want to do my part and give back to the community by teaching the kids to become better footballers and people."
The ActiveSG Football Academy programme is open to both boys and girls and will officially begin on Saturday. Taking place over a five-week period during the June school holidays, those who sign up will be given the chance to attend up to three sessions per week. More information is available at http://www.myactivesg.com/start-out/children-youth/academy/football.
I am delighted to be called up by (Aleksandar) Duric and the ActiveSG staff. It feels like I’m being called up to the national team.
— Hyrizan Jufri on becoming a ActiveSG Football Academy coach
Bok eager to hone young talent
He became the most successful coach in S.League history during his seven-year tenure with SAFFC (now known as Warriors FC) from 2006 to 2012.
Richard Bok guided the team to four S.League titles and three Singapore Cups, scooping up three S.League Coach of the Year gongs along the way.
He certainly has a wealth of experience to share, and the ActiveSG Football Academy, headed by former Lion Aleksandar Duric, acknowledged this, after unveiling the 46-year-old as one of five new head coaches.
Bok will be overseeing the programmes at the Serangoon Sports Centre, which are slated to kick off on Saturday.
He is happy that the academy will be focusing on youngsters aged six to 12 and believes that it will help Singapore football in the long run.
"I think it is very important to expose kids to a variety of sports, not just football, from a young age," Bok told The New Paper yesterday.
"These are their formative years where they can absorb knowledge better and hone their technical skills and tactical awareness better.
"I believe that the coaches that the academy have selected are highly qualified and have a lot of experience in youth development and can help the kids become better players."
When asked what attracted him to the mission, Bok explained: "I had a good chat with Aleks (Aleksandar Duric) about the academy, what the curriculum was going to be, what values it wished to inculcate in their participants and so on.
"What encouraged me to join was that it is not only focusing on development of skills but character building as well.
"Values like teamwork, respect and discipline are important values that should be learnt from young and are something that I am keen to teach the kids."
- G BUVANKUMAAR