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Raising the standard of Singapore football through Unleash the Roar!

Response to parliamentary question on how the government will undertake efforts to raise the standard of the national football team.

1. Our national men’s football team delivered an impressive performance at the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, making it to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. Their determination and fighting spirit delighted and inspired many Singaporeans.

2. Our Lions’ strong performance is a cause for excitement and celebration. To ensure the future success of Singapore football, we need to build a strong and sustainable pipeline of football players and further raise our standards of play.

3. One key effort in this regard is Unleash the Roar!, or UTR! for short. This project was launched by the Football Association of Singapore and Sport Singapore in March 2021 to (a) uplift Singapore football, both at the amateur and professional levels, and (b) rally Singaporeans and fans of Singapore football behind a common goal.

4. A key strategy of UTR! is to strengthen the youth development eco-system for football. First, School Football Academies (or SFAs) will be established in schools to provide high performance training for talented secondary school students. In 2022, we are setting up ten academies, including at the Singapore Sports School, St Patrick’s School and Jurongville Secondary School, with plans for more in the future.

5. Second, a National Football Curriculum will be introduced to guide the development of training plans. There is also a comprehensive plan to train and mentor coaches to raise their professional competencies, so that they can implement the curriculum effectively. In addition, the UTR! office has formed strategic partnerships with the German professional football club Borussia Dortmund and the Spanish football league La Liga, to accelerate the development of our local football talent, and strengthen our local football ecosystem. 

6. These initiatives will lay strong foundations for us to further raise the standards of football in Singapore, and raise generations of young football talent.

7. The success of our football programme also requires the support of Singaporeans and those who want to pursue their aspirations in football. 

8. I was in the stands at the Suzuki Cup alongside many fellow Singaporeans, watching our Lions. We wore our hearts on our sleeves. We rued missed scoring chances, but also cheered our team on, celebrating every good pass, every good tackle and every goal. Although we had to be socially distanced, the atmosphere was electric. Singaporeans rallied together to support our team. That is the magic of sport – to evoke strong emotions and bring people together.

9. It is also clear that Singaporeans are not just looking for their teams to win. We want to see them give their all in the sporting arena, doing their best and striving for Singapore. This is what makes us proud. This is what unites us, and it is what good performances by our Lions can achieve.

10. I want to thank the many fellow supporters who attended the matches at the National Stadium or followed them from home. I am sure our Lions were inspired and uplifted by the support you showed them. I hope that this encourages more young talent who are passionate about football to pursue their aspirations, and inspire Singaporeans to join us to Unleash the Roar!

Last updated on 12 January 2022