Study scholarship, for football's sake

The Cheetahs have become the first professional club in Singapore to launch a scholarship programme for budding footballers.

A sum of $1 million has been allocated for the scholarship, which was launched at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.

The scholarship is bond-free and tenable in any of the local Institutes of Technical Education or polytechnics.

Applicants must be Singaporean citizens, who will be, or are already enrolled in any course of study in those tertiary institutions.

They must also be registered in a football club affiliated with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

Youngsters playing in the Prime League are eligible, but not those who turn out for S.League clubs.

Hougang vice-chairman Eric Koh said the programme was the brainchild of club chairman Bill Ng and is aimed at facilitating the academic development of young non-professional football talent.

"We know that there has always been a tussle between funding studies and football," Koh said.

"We want to help alleviate those costs, and help nurture young players out there.

"All we require is that they have got to play competitive football."

The Cheetahs finished seventh in last season's S.League and are second from bottom in the 10-team standings this term.

They are doing well financially, though, after posting a profit in excess of $2 million last year.

Ng attributed it to good clubhouse management, especially running a profitable jackpot enterprise.

"Over the last four to five years, Hougang have been successful in revenue generation and now, we have decided to give back," said Koh.

"We are a heartland club... and we want to give a leg up financially to those who want to play football but have financial constraints.

"Even if the person ends up not pursuing football professionally, we hope that they are still equipped with a professional diploma in the end."

This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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