Sunday, November 15, 2009

Goal 2010: I'm sure slow to realising how dead it is

News that New Zealand has gone batshit crazy because they have qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 27 years made me look up how Singapore was doing with our very own Goal 2010. You know, that target set by Goh Chok Tong, who was inspired by then World Cup champions France, fielding a team full of players who, in his own words, "dont look like Frenchmen". He must have went, "Eureka! Flood the Singapore team with foreigners and we will qualify for sure!" Can't say it is not a brilliant strategy. He already wanted to flood Singapore with foreigners then, and he wants some tangible results to shut the mouths of critics.

Besides, foreign players then like Abas Saad had a good reputation, at least with the fans. Despite getting into legal troubles, he is still here after all these years. This is something I wont expect from the likes of Li Jiawei, who is yearning to run even while the money is still flowing.

Apparently Singapore even fielded an ineligible foreigner from PRC. At least he did not run off like the other foreigners. Not that it mattered, since we lost the matches that went on to be forfeited and Singapore failed in the qualification bid a long time ago.

Before someone jump in and use the usual excuse "Singapore has a small population", do realise that Singapore's population has hit 5 million, while New Zealand is just around 4.3 million. At this point, the sycophants will point out that Singaporeans lack the football culture, which is sort of true. While football is without doubt the number one sport in terms of followers, we are a nation of passive football spectators. TV spectators for that matter, as tragic ticket sales at S-League matches does not get as much parliamentary debate as the TV rights to the English football league.

Instead of wasting money on foreigners, can we just put the money to help Singaporeans play football? Like, for example, absorbing the costs to open up football pitches of schools and polytechnics to the public? If Singaporeans have no space to play football, where are the football players going to come from?

And instead of funding S-league teams with barely any identity, S-league should be completely torn down and re-aligned along secondary schools, or clusters of secondary schools. Old secondary school rivalries will keep the interest alive. Just a few weeks back at a company function, I realised that of the very few Singaporeans working in my company, almost everybody were from brand name secondary schools. SJI, RI, ACS. And the old rivalries of these middle aged folks are very much alive. I am sure they would pay good money to see the best alumni players of these secondary schools pit against each other.


  1. LOL I had totally forgotten about Goal 2010. It encapsulates so much about our leaders' attitudes.

  2. Ha! That is funny. Once upon a time in the not too distant past Singapore was beating NZ easily. I remember I went to watch a match at Bishan stadium which ended Singapore 3 NZ 0 some time ago. We have gone backwards a lot since.

  3. Well, I think using the secondary school rivalries to boost S.League viewership is a pretty innovative thing :) Though I think the number of people from those schools who have continued to play football long enough to compete decently are but a handful...

  4. Hi Icedwater,

    The biggest challenge for the local football scene is not a lack of players, but a lack of passion.

    What we need are irrational fans who would pack the stadium and gladly part with 100 bucks to watch a match, fans who would buy the jerseys to wear them the next day when their club wins, and many more eyeballs who would watch the telecast at home to attract advertisers. Once the serious money starts flowing, everything else is easy.