Keep them in the game

Keep them in the game


Football Association of Singapore (FAS) technical director Michel Sablon wants to encourage women footballers in Singapore to stay in the game for the long run.

"We should not lose the girls who want to play football," said the Belgian.

"There are the NFA (National Football Academy) teams for the girls which are being developed now.

"There are several tournaments planned for the different age groups.

"It's a process of a few years to improve the quality of the girls, and that's the same pathway that the boys have.

"We have four (girls') national teams now and we will further develop them in 2016."

Sablon was speaking on the sidelines of the annual Women's Football Day organised by the FAS at the Home of Athletics in Kallang yesterday.

More than 500 participants attended the event, which included five-a-side, seven-a-side and family 3s teams tournaments. In addition, an Under-12 two-a-side panna challenge made its debut this year.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu kicked off an exhibition match featuring the National Women's A Team, FAS Council, and the senior management of Sport Singapore and Active Singapore.

On top of that, a number of women's football role models, such as ex-players who are now mothers, career women, coaches and administrators, were honoured at the event, which was held in conjunction with International Women's Day.

"It's our responsibility to develop them (women footballers) properly, to give them proper training," Sablon added. "We have to focus on the fact that they need good coaches, and that's our responsibility.

"We are organising this year seven or eight courses and workshops for young coaches - C or B coaches - just to prepare coaches for not only the youth boys but also girls."

Sablon feels that the women footballers can flourish on the international stage one day but, first, they have to improve their foundation skills.

"We have to work on the basics and build up, then you can define more specifically the targets (for them)," he said.

"Our target is that they play better football and they are technically and physically better developed.

"Once you have this, then the teams will improve and you can think about targets like qualification or going for the top of the tournament.

"But first, you have to enhance the quality of the game. With very good coaches and assistants whom we're training, they can do much better."

In a statement, FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong said: "Women's football has been and will continue to be given substantial attention by world football governing body, Fifa.

"The gracing of the FAS' Women's Football Day for two consecutive years by Minister Grace Fu lends substantial weight to the importance of women playing the game.

"This year's turnout has increased to an excellent 550, a reflection of football's popularity among females.

"FAS is particularly encouraged and we will continue to examine ways to nurture and strengthen its growth."

The event also marked the start of the 2016 women's football season in Singapore, which kicks off on Saturday with two matches.

H-TWO-O Women's Dream Team will face Warriors FC at Jalan Besar Stadium, while Middle Rangers FC will take on Tampines Rovers FC at Queenstown Stadium.

We have to work on the basics and build up, then you can define more specifically the targets (for them). - Michel Sablon (above) on helping the women's game

Technical director Sablon says FAS is committed to develop women's football in Singapore

This article was first published on Feb 29, 2016.
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