Two of football’s greatest legends Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have officially launched Cafe Football Singapore and The Arena on 8 April 2017. Both football legends own Cafe Football, which was first established in the UK in 2013, jointly with Rowsley Ltd.
Café Football, a project between Peter Lim-owned property group, Rowsley, and Manchester United’s “Class of 92” alumni, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, is Singapore’s first ever football themed lifestyle getaway situated at The Arena. Apart from Café Football, Peter Lim and the footballing duo have established Hotel Football in the City of Manchester as well.
The café features one full sized 11-a-side pitch, two 7-a-side and three 5-a-side pitches which all use FIFA Quality Pro Ultrasport 60mm artificial grass that’s highly recommended by the top clubs in Europe for its performance and durability. The Arena is the first and only facility in Singapore using such quality turf.
During an interview session, when asked how the idea of Café Football came about and why they picked Singapore as their maiden offshore franchise – the first being in their former stomping ground in the City of Manchester – Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville told the gathered media that it was the idea of football fans having a shared experience that compelled to start the café to bring fans of the beautiful game together, in a place where family and friends can have a great time watching their team play live while indulging in good food.
The other reason why our little red dot was picked was because of Peter Lim and Rowsley. They felt that there should be a home base in our country so that fans can enjoy what the Brits already have.
The pair have hopes that Café Football becomes a place where patrons can dine on delicious meals, it develops into a venue where young budding talents can train, get inspired, and one day achieve the dream of being a professional Footballer.
When asked on Manchester United’s season thus far and the development of the youth players in the club, Ryan Giggs responded that it has certainly been a disappointing one.
He said that achieving a top 4 finish is going to be hard, but is hopeful that the Club can still qualify for Champions League next season by winning the Europa League. He feels that United stand a strong chance of winning it as they have won the League Cup recently and this provides a boost in performing well in cup finals.
With regards to the development of youth players, Gary Neville felt that players such as Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are few and far between. However, while producing players with exceptional ability is hard, he assured fans that the club will continue to promote their youth players.
When asked which mattered most, skill or winning mentality, Neville saying that its more than one thing that makes a good player. Having a good mentality, along with skill, is important as that helps in prioritizing what needs to be done and it also drives you to train harder and become better in the sport.
Giggs added saying that he has seen young players with great ability and skill not achieve their full potential as they would get distracted. Football is a short career and it can only be fulfilling if you are ready to make sacrifices.
To mark the official opening of Cafe Football Singapore, the legends also featured in the grand final of the CF Cup where they captained the top two teams of the tournament – winner of the Open category and winner of the Corporate category.
Both Giggs and Neville put the ball in the back of the net for their respective teams, Kalan Associates and ProFut5al. Kalan Associates walked away as the Grand Champion of the CF Cup as the match ended 9 – 6 in their favor.
The Arena also celebrated an exciting opening weekend with an Open House, welcoming neighbours and the community with an array of free activities catered to the young and old. From a bouncy castle for the little ones to mass fitness workouts, visitors of all ages indulged in some adrenaline-pumping fun as the field was transformed into an outdoor playground.
Other outdoor games for the crowd included Bubble Bump, pool ball, F1 Simulator and FIFA’17 PS4 Challenge. The indoor facilities in The Arena were also buzzing with activities as some fitness enthusiasts took the opportunity to try out the free trial classes such as Piloxing, Cardio Dance, Aerial Yoga and Muay Thai.
The Arena also featured an indoor rock wall, offering visitors the chance to engage in some rock climbing before it officially opens next month. Another highlight at the Open House, an augmented climbing wall was also available, where visitors got to challenge each other in fun, interactive games.
Cafe Football Singapore is the first franchise outside of the UK and there are plans to expand the brand even further by setting up a Hotel Football in Singapore.