WANTED: New chief to shake up Singapore football

FAS general secretary Winston Lee (centre) has been questioned by the Commercial Affairs Department over a Tiong Bahru $500,000 donation to the AFF that was channelled through the FAS.

IAN DE COTTA

IS THERE such a man? If there is, will he step forward?

Singapore football is sick. It has been for far too long. It has come to a point that with the elections for a new Football Association of Singapore president and council looming, there is a numbing fear nothing much will change. Meaning, it will be status quo.

Not to sully the standing of the serving president and council members, but they’ve done what they could and it’s time to bid them on their way. Stay away from the elections.

And this goodbye must be extended to advisers who have overstayed their welcome that memory forgets from when.

When a new president and his team are picked, their first job must be to overhaul the management of Singapore football from top down. They need to clean house and those associated with it. He … or perhaps, she … must not be easily swayed.

But who can this person be?

A veteran football administrator I met recently was foreboding with his answer: We lack talent. By a long shot we have one person, but it is wishful thinking.

And this is the sorry state of Singapore football. It has been run like a Soviet KGB secret service outfit for so long that only few know what is going on within its inner sanctum and are afraid to speak up.

Those who can shake things up at Jalan Besar are sick to their stomachs with the sport that they want to stay away from it as far as they can.

A few well-meaning people are putting teams together in a bid to stand for elections. They are passionate, and want Singapore football to succeed and bring fans back. But they are potentially a disaster in the making.

You can’t run Singapore football on passion alone. That’s like trying to drive a car only on petrol fumes. It grounds to a halt immediately.

Every passionate Singapore football fan has an idea on how to go about fixing the local game. Ideas are dime a dozen.

Passion must come with an acute technical knowledge of the game. What drives it. What fuels it. What funds it. What motivates players. And at the end of it all, what excites fans to want to back it.

And you must have the dare to act on them.

The sitting football management has done some good things for Singapore football. Let’s not deny this. Bringing in Michel Sablon to chart a new course to return it to health was one of them.

But overall, the current FAS lot has lost the plot. The empty stands say so.

Is there a man, or woman, who dare turn Singapore football on its head and shake it up? You need some arrogance to get this done. The game really needs it.

If you tick the boxes, stand up for the FAS presidential elections.

My journalist colleague, Suresh Nair, has given his take on the FAS elections and you can read it here: FAS, please pass the baton fair. I agree with some of his points and might pen my own thoughts at a later stage.