The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has pulled off a master stroke by acquiring the services of Mr Michel Sablon as its technical director ("FAS appoints Belgian as technical director"; April 3).
In addition to developing youth players and coaches at both the elite and grassroots levels, Mr Sablon will also spearhead our bid to host the 2019 Fifa Under-17 World Cup.
One of his main objectives here is to create a new youth development plan to enhance the quality of football.
He wants to have as many children playing football as possible, and get youngsters to have fun doing it.
He emphasises small-sided games, such as two against two and three against three, for players as young as six to practise skills and develop game intelligence.
Such games allow players to have more touches, more shots, a number of one-on-one situations and, most importantly, ample opportunity to express themselves when they have the ball at their feet.
According to Mr Sablon, the golden years are when the player is 10 to 13 years old.
This is when they go from five against five to eight against eight, and then to 11 against 11.
This is an excellent, easy-to-follow plan that, if implemented in a consistent and wholehearted way, will improve player development immeasurably.
Youth development is a long-term project, and takes time to yield results.
I am confident Singapore football will be a force to be reckoned with in Asia if we give Mr Sablon our full support, time and encouragement to work his magic.
This article was first published on June 10, 2015.
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