Foreign Talent and Local perseverance in Singapore Sports

31 Jan

Finally, S-League’s deputy chief executive officer, Frenchman Mr Johan Gouttefangeas, has resigned in the best interests of S League and Singapore football, so he claims. I would say this his resignation is in the best interest of FAS and its president and PAP politician Zainudin Nordin before they cause themselves any further embarrassment.


As disclosed by Mr Johan, FAS and S League did their checks and found nothing wrong – if this is true, then the checks conducted must have been a joke, were they using only Google?? Even Etoile FC, the former outfit that Mr Johan led, cited Mr Johan as one of the reasons they quit the S League despite being champions in 2010. When Mr Johan left, Etoile was $100,000 in debt, players’ salaries outstanding, and Etoile did not even pay the full S League security deposit!! The signs were clearly evident the the Frenchman was lying and yet FAS administrators failed to pick it up.

“It was an oversight on my part that I failed to disclose to the FAS the fact that my companies in France were liquidated and that the court in France had imposed on me the prohibition to manage any sole proprietorship, artisanal or commercial. I had subsequently apologised to FAS president Zainudin Nordin,” he added.

If that is not a half-hearted, insincere apology, I don’t know what is. And to date, we have not hear a single ‘sorry’ from S League and FAS for their screws up. Were they looking at the full house at Jalan Besar at Lion XII home game and feeling pleased with themselves and taking local support for granted??

Also revealed today was FAS failure to keep in touch with the prodigal Singapore footballing son, Fandi Ahmad. Hire Fandi not because he is a good footballer, but because he has won the S League with SAFFC and coached Pelita Jaya. In the end, FAS might eventually not hire him, but the least I expect them to do would be to keep our local football talents close. It saddens me to see the current state of Fandi. And after so many failures with foreign football national coaches, I don’t see how we can do worse with a local one.

“To tell you the truth, I was ready to continue then. But they (the FAS) never got back to me. They only did so in March, three months later, and offered excuses like they could not contact me earlier,” he said.

“How do you expect me to react. I told them I was no longer interested.”

The trace of bitterness was inescapable, when he said: “You see, maybe people value my football abilities more across the Causeway rather than in my own Singapore. That’s why I am in Johor now and not in the employment of the FAS. 

“But, I believe there are still some good people in the FAS who are willing to lend a helping hand.”

If you have problem, just import the solution!

Are Singapore Sports administrators over-infatuated with foreign sporting talent? If we do not build out local kids then we are really no difference from Manchester City or Chelsea who spend to buy trophies. After countless table tennis golds and badminton misses, where are we now? Do we feel more patriotic or are we really proud of our Olympic silver?

On the other hand, sailing and bowling have faired well at the international stage with local sporting talent and they have done well by carefully selecting top foreign coaches to nurture our local talent. There is nothing wrong with attracting foreign talent to boost our sporting competencies, but to think that by ‘importing’ a foreign sporting talent, give him/her a pink IC, win a medal and the success would automatically filter down to the next generation is really a fallacy at the Enid Blyton level. What we really need are committed sports administrators (again sailing and bowling administrators althought not perfect come to mind) and good youth level programmes. Start from the basic.

Where is the fighting spirit and the heart?

Ultimately, deep down in our hearts, Singaporeans are looking for the fighting spirit, the pride in donning national colors, the fact that you have given your best, never mind not winning a medal. A team effort, from administrators, to players, volunteers, and fans.

Look at gymnast Lim Heem Wei, 22, who became the first Singaporean to qualify for the gymnastics at the coming 2012 London Olympics. She has been representing Singapore since 2001, in a sport that does not receive much media attention or funding. She has fought a whole host of injuries, struggled with sporting and academic excellence…but she made it, never mind she would be one of the oldest in the olympic field, not likely win a medal…as a Singaporean, I cannot be more proud of her. She has carried herself well, and her country flag even better.

How I wish there are many more Lim Heem Wei in the ranks of our youth waiting to spread their wings…Heem Wei, I salute you!


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