UTR has eight pillars, covering areas such as scholarships, national service, as well as infrastructure. Objectives have been set for each pillar in the hope that they produce outcomes to support the project.
Speaking to CNA in 2022, current Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua described the project as one for the “long haul”.
“We are not talking about harvesting or reaping results this year, next year, or even in the next couple of years,” said Mr Chua.
“In terms of actual results that we see on the pitch, on score-lines and all that, I think we’re talking about a few years at least, but I think chiefly we want to focus on a few things.”
One of these things is creating a youth development pipeline, with more than 10 School Football Academies already been set up and partners such as the La Liga providing coaches.
“We want to make sure that we have a healthy pyramid coming up to the high performance level,” he said then.
While the plans sound good in theory and will take time to bear fruit, fans’ patience is running thin, and who can blame them? It won’t be easy convincing a generation of fans who are slowly losing faith.
While there were some bright spots in a dark tournament from the men’s team goalkeeper Aizil Yazid, as well as the women’s national team who put up a creditable fight throughout their campaign, it has been yet another sobering Games.
And most fans – the ones who follow the game closely at least – are aware that Singapore have over the last decade gone from kingpins to minnows.
A draw with Laos at the Games is no longer a shock, neither are losses to Thailand or Vietnam. At the senior level, it has been more than 10 years since the men’s football team made the finals of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.
At the Games, Singapore have shuffled through three head coaches in as many tournaments.
Many will also remember Goal 2010 – Singapore’s abandoned bid to get the national team to the 2010 World Cup. It’s no wonder there is a cloud of pessimism surrounding football.