Aspiring young footballers will take to the courts at the Singapore Pools-Football Association of Singapore 2019, this week.
Reflecting the growing interest in futsal at school level, the second ISFC features an expanded roster of teams across both the Under-10 and Under-14 categories as well as the inclusion of girls’ teams for the first time.
With Singapore Pools supporting the ISFC with $240,000, it is Singapore’s largest school futsal tournament organised for the Under-10 and Under-14 age-groups. Through the funding, Singapore Pools hopes that the competition will foster the early development of football talents for both boys and girls so that they might compete on international platforms in the future.
Singapore Pools Chief Executive Officer Lam Chee Weng added: “As a strong supporter in our community to encourage sporting excellence, Singapore Pools is honoured to partner FAS in this exciting challenge to impart values such as team spirit and resilience in the participants.”
There will be 40 boys’ and five girls’ teams in the U10 category, which is slated to run until 5 August. Registration for the U14 category is ongoing but 50 boys’ and 10 girls’ teams are expected to be involved from 14 August to 2 September. In comparison, there were 44 U10 teams and 40 U14 teams in last year’s tournament.
Following feedback for more game time by last year’s participants, in addition to the Championship Cup, a Plate and Bowl system has been introduced this year and ensures that each team will play a minimum of seven matches, as opposed to just three last year. This means that the top two teams in each group proceed to contest a secondary group stage in the Cup, while the third and fourth-placed teams in each group contest a secondary group stage in the Plate and Bowl respectively. Each of the three tiers has its own knockout stages.
All ISFC 2019 matches, with the exception of the finals, will be held in different schools. There will be five venues for the U10 category (Woodlands Ring Primary, Casuarina Primary, Princess Elizabeth Primary, Montfort Primary, Cedar Primary) and four for the U14 category (Meridian Secondary, Deyi Secondary, Changkat Changi Secondary, Kent Ridge Secondary). The finals of both categories will be staged at the OCBC Arena.
The staging of the ISFC, Singapore’s biggest school futsal tournament, is in line with the FAS’ objectives of developing youth players and increasing participation at the grassroots level.
Prior to the start of the U10 tournament, the FAS conducted a workshop for participating schools on 4 July. Led by Asian Football Confederation Level 2 Futsal Coach Farhan Farook, the workshop helped teachers to familiarise themselves with the sport through a series of training drills.
Mr S Varatha Rajan, FAS General Manager, Youth Development commented: “We are heartened to see the increased interest in the ISFC, following on from a successful inaugural edition last year. As it is played indoors on hard courts, futsal can prove to be a more accessible form of football in a land-scarce country like ours. Furthermore, futsal is a good way to introduce young aspiring players to football as it develops the basic technical skills and abilities required in and easily translated to field football. We hope this year’s ISFC will spur other schools to participate in next year’s edition which will help build a pool of football talent that will benefit Singapore in the future.”