Four years after its announcement, the Football Association of Singapore's vision of having a National Training Centre (NTC) may soon be bearing fruit.
National agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) called for an expression of interest from parties in providing multi-disciplinary consultancy services on the Government Electronic Business website earlier this month.
The window for applicants to indicate their interest in the NTC project ended on Oct 20.
According to the documents that were sent out by SportSG to the interested parties and obtained by The Sunday Times, the cost of construction is estimated at $25.7 million.
The duration of the project has been set at about 30 months - six for design development and the remaining 24 for construction. This suggests a December 2017 roll-out of the NTC or earlier.
The appointed party will provide consultancy services including architectural and mechanical and electrical engineering to quantity surveying.
In 2010, the FAS launched a five-year strategic plan, with the construction of a state-of-the-art NTC as a target.
A SportSG spokesman said the NTCwill provide the national players, as well as members of the public, with the proper facilities to train.
The centre will also boost the overall learning opportunities for football teams, referees and coaches.
"We are exploring possible locations," added the spokesman.
The final decision will also depend on what the appointed team proposes.
The Sunday Times understands that two possible locations are the current Jurong Stadium and Bukit Gombak Stadium.
While Farrer Park is a place that some members of the football fraternity hope will get the nod because of its historical significance, the location is most probably earmarked for residential purposes.
Regardless of the location, the prospect of having an NTC soon has been applauded by the players and coaches.
Rafi Ali, who is the head coach of S-League outfit Tampines Rovers, noted: "The centre will offer our national team a proper place to call home and bond, which helps in the understanding that will show when they are out on the pitch.
"Also, we get to build a culture among the national set-up when the age-group players learn more about representing the country when they come into contact with the senior team," he said.
Added national defender Afiq Yunos who plays for the LionsXII: "We train at various locations all over Singapore now, depending on venue availability and the purpose of training."
This can be taxing on players when they need to travel so much, he noted.
"Having a centralised training base, like what the top teams and nations have, will cut down on that burden and allow players to focus solely on preparing well for games."
This article was first published on Oct 26, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.