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Pluralization - A Means To Resolve The "NS" Issue?

I was wondering if the turmoil at Warriors Football Club did not surface, would the attention be dominated by the injury-time appearance of that Fulham FC youngster by the name of Ben Davis in the Carabao Cup or the "Goal 2034" topic?

A poll conducted to ask which was the bigger news - Ben Davis removed Singapore flag from his IG profile or the turmoil in Warriors FC (which used to be known as SAFFC)
A poll was conducted to ask which was the talking poll on Facebook

The Thai-born Davis caused quite a stir a few months ago for defaulting his National Service (NS) obligations in his pursuit of a professional football career in England.

Whereas the troubles at one of the most successful clubs in Singapore football history saw the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) take an unprecedented step to direct Warriors FC to remove Paul Poh from his role as the club's general manager and honorary secretary following several lapses of discrepancies.

While the two incidents may not be linked directly, it is not hard to realize the coincidence of having the military background in both occurrences.

For Davis' case, he defaulted his NS obligations - a fact that was announced by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and whereas Warriors FC used to be under the purview of Mindef as Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC) before relinquishing the management of the club in January 2017.

It was a common sight in the early days of the S.League - SAFFC wrapped up the League title
The glory days of the Warriors FC when they were known as SAFFC

Prior to Mindef's relinquishment of control, there were players serving their NS turned out for SAFFC like former national striker Noh Alam Shah did back in both 2000 and 2001 S.League season before returning to Sembawang Rangers to fulfill the remaining of his contractual obligations with the Stallions in July 2001.

In a recent extensive report on the "Goal 2034" topic by The Straits Times, some in the local fraternity opined it was a good system that allowed NSF (National Servicemen) footballers to gain exposure and experience by playing alongside seasoned professionals and should look into the revival of this arrangement.

Perhaps Singapore Premier League may want to take a look at examples in the Thai and Korean leagues for some ideas in this "revival" to resolve the outstanding "NS issue" that has been a major concern in a footballer's development?

Vincent Subramaniam and Kok Wai Leong - the dynamic duo of SAFFC in the early days
Vincent Subramaniam and Kok Wai Leong - the dynamic duo of SAFFC

However, there is always a cause of concern if a group of NSF footballers completed their service at the same period of time, it could affect the team's consistency in their league performance like what South Korean military club Sangju Sangmu FC is facing when a core of their players are set to complete their military service and return to their parent clubs in their ongoing K League 1 campaign.

The Thai league also sees the presence of various teams representing the local military in their football pyramid with the likes of Army United for whom Singapore custodian Hassan Sunny plays for, Thai Navy FC who signed Lions winger Gabriel Quak for their campaign last year.

Instead of having just two teams like in the past with only Police FC (before being renamed as Home United years later) and SAFFC to cater to the "needs" for these NSF footballers, studies should be carried out to determine the feasibility of having a few more clubs like teams representing RSN (Navy), RSAF (Air Force) or even a team from Civil Defence.

Fandi Ahmad finished his illustrious playing career with SAFFC and gradually took over as their head coach
Local legend Fandi Ahmad hung up his boots at SAFFC before taking over as their coach

Ivica Raguz was one of the key players in the early days of SAFFC's domination of the S.League
Ivica Raguz was one of the stylish players who ever graced the S.League

"It's reasonable to want extra options, but the respective services would have to buy in. I suspect they don't want to." said @singnoname who replied his thoughts when I first tweeted the idea using this platform's Twitter account, implying the services may not be that keen on this suggestion.

Furthermore, it seems there is no change in Mindef's policy either when they referred to the 2012 statement they issued when asked by Straits Times if there will be a possible revival of this "SAFFC" policy.

Nonetheless, given the importance of the policy to this country's sovereignty, it is inevitable that the formulating of any sporting policy will have to take into account how this blueprint is able to complement itself to the NS policy and the much anticipated "Goal 2034" project will be no different.

But how are the policymakers going to make it tick this time when past initiatives like the much-ridiculed "Goal 2010" failed? Just make sure we do a comparison of the "2010" with the soon-might-to-be-announced "2034" blueprint and highlight any concern to the policymakers.

(Note: There is a recent development that Davis is named in the provisional squad for Thailand SEA Games' football squad.) 


  1. Ben Davis could be an asset to this country by representing it Nationally and count that as National service.
    This might be a solution


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