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The recent statements by both Eric Chua and Philippe Aw on the current state of local football is a sign which I sincerely hope we are on the right path.

Right after Singapore U22's recent Merlion Cup campaign that saw them finish last in the quadrangular, the multi-tasking Coach Aw, who is concurrently the Young Lions head coach in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) and assistant technical director of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), admitted the arduous task ahead as he and his boys are preparing for the upcoming SEA Games.

“It is no secret we have been struggling in age-group competitions for some time now as other countries have improved. The SEA Games will not be a simple assignment and we have to be realistic and manage expectations.” said Aw, as quoted by The Straits Times (ST), after the Cubs' 2-1 defeat to their Cambodian counterparts at the Jalan Besar Stadium.


In the meantime, in an extensive interview with the broadsheet, Chua, who is chairman of the Unleash The Roar! (UTR!) Executive Committee, rebutted the criticism on the perceived lack of progress of the blueprint since its inception in 2021.

Eric Chua is the Unleash The Roar! supremo
Eric Chua - UTR! supremo

“... not looking to make instant noodles but double-boiled tonic soup” was part of the statement made by the 44-year-old Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth who stressed patience is the key to ensuring success to the ambitious project to lift Singapore football out of the doldrums after the failures of both "Goal 2010" and the "Strategic Plan".

Words by both Messrs Chua and Aw certainly differ from the tone of those decision-makers in the past when facing similar doubts which I noted in this platform's annual review back in 2014.

"However, I give a hat off to those who have fought back every time after scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any explanation to counter the critics by assuring things are still according to the plan despite the facts are laying out there." was what I described back then when assurances would be given by the relevant decision-makers whenever doubts on local football surfaced.

At the beginning of the same review, I wrote "..., it's OK to admit the shortcomings and face the truth. It is not as if anyone would ditch you or leave you in the lurch when you seek for help NOW.

Rather, people would be appreciative of the courage shown for that admission and willing to give a helping hand, instead of having a mindset that is blinded by those self-comforting thoughts."


This is why I was elated to note what Coach Aw said the following after his charges' defeat to Hong Kong in their Merlion Cup opener on 24th March.

"... What is happening today is the cause of 10 years ago." lamented the former Home United coach on the current dearth of quality strikers in local football, as reported by ST.

After all, it takes a lot of courage and admiration to admit the shortcomings.

Philippe Aw holding three key roles in Singapore Football
Philippe Aw is a busy man 

When in the past, lauding the achievements of the now-defunct National Football Academy (NFA), as mentioned in one of the earlier blog posts, was something common to rebuff skeptics, no matter how bad things were.

It is not to say I wholeheartedly alighted myself with the above-mentioned duo after having read what they said of late.

However, as for now, having witnessed the failures of its predecessors, I would not want to conclude if UTR! is the way to go as it is still premature to do.


But one thing is for sure, another key to success besides being PATIENCE is how to see the proper execution of UTR! to ensure its sustainability.

Lessons from Goal 2010 must always be heeded
Must always heed the lessons learned 

Because whenever I go through both "Goal 2010" and "Strategic Plan", it is not hard to tell both were having the same intention to lift the local game out of the doldrums, but both failed on the execution part, that is all it takes to make things ticked.

If not, UTR! would just be another term that goes down in history as another form of mockery like Goal 2010.


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