“Football is like a religion, if not a religion,” said Sport Singapore (SportSG) CEO Alan Goh.
Goh was speaking to the media on Tuesday (Jun. 27) to talk about his first 100 days as CEO of SportSG.
He took over Lim Teck Yin as the new CEO on Apr. 1, 2023.
“I’ll say [my first 100 days] has been extremely meaningful and enriching,” said Goh.
About a month after he became CEO, the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia was held.
Team Singapore walked away with a total of 158 medals— 51 golds, 43 silvers and 64 bronzes.
Multiple Games and national records were set, along with various personal best milestones.
Men’s football team at the 2023 SEA Games
While various Team Singapore athletes celebrated triumphs, some did not perform up to standard.
The men’s football team exited the Games with no wins, losing 0-7 to Malaysia in their last match.
Following the Games, a review panel was convened by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to look into the Young Lions’s performance.
The FAS review will be out soon
Addressing a football-related question from the media, Goh said:
“Many questions have come [out] about football, especially after our performance in the SEA Games.
The FAS is conducting a review and I think the results will come out soon. So I’ll let that play out.
But I’ll just say that being a citizen, growing up, football is almost like a religion, if not a religion.
And we all remember days where [the national football team] did very well [such as] the 94 Malaysia cup [and the] 2012 Suzuki Cup.”
People in Singapore “just feel passionate” about football, Goh added.
He said that SportSG will focus its efforts and resources on how to serve Singaporeans better.
“We want to make sure that the sports that are popular, they are catered to.”
While Goh admitted that it’s still “early days” for him as CEO of SportSG, he has noticed that his role is very “people-centric”, having to manage expectations from the public, athletes, as well as sports associations.
“Like most other domains, we don’t have all the internal resources. We also don’t have all the number of people to handle what we have to do.
So it’s about trying to figure out how we can continue to groom the next set of Team Singapore athletes who can do well.
And also on the public front, how do we keep refreshing our sport centres [and] rebuilding them? So that at least in every neighbourhood, citizens can participate and [have] access to those facilities.”
Top images courtesy of MCI (via SportSG) & FAS.