Sport Singapore will launch football academy for youth development
Sport Singapore to launch academy headed by the former Lion
In a major move that could be the start of something big for the game in the country, Sport Singapore yesterday announced it will launch a new football academy soon.
The ActiveSG Football Academy, which will be led by former national striker Aleksandar Duric, is a product of a close collaboration with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
The academy will focus on children from as young as eight and allow them to have fun while developing the right basic skills of the game.
Speaking before the launch of Duric's autobiography at Books Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City, SportSG chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "We have recognised that there is a large potential pool of youths, boys and girls, who desire to play football.
"Many of them have not found the right place to play. For some of them, it may be less affordable or less accessible."
Membership fees at the new academy, which will be based at five ActiveSG centres islandwide, are expected to be made affordable.
Fandi Ahmad's F-17 Academy charges $50 per session on top of a $50 annual membership fee, while a weekend session at the JSSL Arsenal Soccer School costs $40 plus a one-time registration fee of $100.
HAND IN HAND
The academy will adopt the FAS grassroots manual as its core syllabus and the FAS coach education system to develop trainers.
Duric, who spoke of his passion for working with kids, will also assemble a team of coaches and plan the academy's training programmes. It is understood that his appointment is seen as for the "long haul".
"We will definitely be working closely with FAS because we have the same goals to develop the youth in our country," said the 45-year-old.
"No better way than operating together and trying to open up a little more to kids who may be left out of the FAS programmes which do a little bit more elite-level things."
The academy will cater to different skill levels by training members in "recreational competitive" or at elite level.
"We recognise that not everybody is going to be an Aleks, but we're quite clear we'll find another Aleks," Lim said.
WIDENING THE BASE
"If everybody was involved in one way or another, and specifically in this case, football, I think we will have more fans to start with."
Lim hopes the academy will contribute to a larger pool of players who are serious about football, paving the way for more competitions and leagues at various levels.
"We will have a market for more coaches and technical officials, and then eventually a strong youth system for our national youth teams. And if we get that right, a strong national team," he said.
Lim is also aiming for a good education off the pitch for the football hopefuls who are just starting out.
"We are thinking about making sure that we have a good quality programme that looks after not just football skills, but also transferable life skills," he said.
"So we hope that the kids… will take away the characteristics of having discipline, understanding what it means to work in a team and to have that fighting spirit."
“We recognise that not everybody is going to be an Aleks, but we’re quite clear we’ll find another Aleks... If everybody was involved in one way or another, and specifically in this case, football, I think we will have more fans to start with.”
- Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin, on the ActiveSG Football Academy to be headed by Aleksandar Duric
Duric a hit in boots and books
ACE: Aleksandar Duric signing autographs during his book launch at Books Kinokuniya yesterday. TNP PHOTO: EDWIN FONG
He may have retired from competitive football more than a year ago, but Aleksandar Duric still looked every bit as poised in front of the camera flashes and swooning fans yesterday.
The 45-year-old was at Books Kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City to launch his autobiography Beyond Borders.
The 245-page book details his life, from his formative years in the former Yugoslavia, to competing at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a canoeist, before charting his nomadic career as a footballer, which saw him play for clubs in Australia, China and Singapore, which has become his adopted home.
"I feel like a Singaporean," Duric said. "Even though I'm not born here, I'm trying my best to promote Singapore on the sports world map."
Beyond Borders is available at major bookstores at $25 each. - AQIL HAZIQ MAHMUD