Fandi Ahmad and his Young Lions were paid a surprise visit from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (Spurs) legend Teddy Sheringham and Global Development Coaches Anton Blackwood and Shaun Harris yesterday evening, courtesy of AIA Singapore, and in collaboration with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
On training day at their home ground of Jalan Besar Stadium, Teddy imparted his signature scoring and game-reading techniques to the Young Lions who are looking to step up their game in the AIA Singapore Premier League.
“When it comes to initiatives that unite communities, it’s hard to find a platform as powerful as sports, especially football. This is precisely why AIA has continuously invested in bolstering the progress of football in order to inspire individuals and families with a passion for sports to live healthier, longer, better lives. As part of marking our 100 years in Asia this 2019, we’re deeply committed to doing more to journey with our customers into the next 100 and beyond, through our Global Principal Partnership with Tottenham Hotspur, title sponsorship of the Singapore Premier League, and our first-in-history presenting sponsorship of the annual International Champions Cup (ICC),” said Ms. Ho Lee Yen, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer of AIA Singapore.
FAS General Secretary Mr. Yazeen Buhari commented, “This is the first of what we hope will be many more opportunities for members of our local football fraternity to learn from the experiences of top coaches in the world. It is a heartening start to our newly established partnership with AIA Singapore who share our vision of leading innovative development of competitive and recreational football in Singapore. This has been an eye-opening experience for all participants involved and we look forward to more collaborations in the future to improve the vibrancy of local football.”
Commenting on his visit to train with the Young Lions, Teddy enthused, “I’m grateful for the opportunity provided by AIA to inspire more young talents in football to hone their skills and achieve their dreams. It brings back memories of how football meant the world to me as a kid myself. There were a lot less opportunities for the youth to be trained and talent-scouted back in my days. We have so much to gain from cultivating sportsmanship and an appreciation for living active and healthy lifestyles, even more so when we start young, so I’m incredibly humbled to be a part of this meaningful series of initiatives with AIA to give more talents in Singapore and around Asia a field and stadium to shine.”
As part of AIA’s initiatives to support youth development, up to 50 FAS and AIA Singapore Premier League club coaches had the chance to enrol in a coach exchange session led by Tottenham Hotspur Global Development Coaches Anton Blackwood and Shaun Harris earlier this week.
The clubs exchanged best practices on raising the profile of football in Singapore, with emphasis on nurturing young talents. Spurs’ Global Football Development coaching programmes have groomed a wide and diverse range of talent all across the region – from kids to elite players – as part of the football club’s partnership with AIA.
The programmes apply renowned player-centric coaching methods focused on continuous development regardless of age, which are lauded for unearthing the next generation of top English footballers like Harry Kane and Harry Winks.
FAS Technical Director Mr. Joseph Palatsides said: “This initiative by AIA and FAS to bring the Tottenham coaches over to Singapore and engage with our local coaches represents a good start to the partnership. Both sides were able to exchange views and ideas on their respective philosophies and how they go about their training sessions. You never stop learning, so it is always beneficial for our coaches to experience new and different tactics and strategies especially from a team like Tottenham Hotspur, and we welcome more of such initiatives to help Singapore football get bigger and better.”
Teddy and the Spurs Global Development Coaches were also in Singapore for the two-day AIA Football Kids Camp to host a series of professional football clinics for children ages 6 to 12, supported by FAS coaches.
Top performers of the camp were presented with the Most Valuable Player and Teddy Sheringham Awards. Participation fees for the Kids Camp went towards AIA Centennial Fund to support fundraising initiatives for Children’s Wishing Well (CWW) – AIA Singapore’s adopted charity.
37 kids were also selected to become mascots for the upcoming 2019 ICC Singapore Presented by AIA matches, where they will be paired up with football stars from the four clubs – Manchester United, Inter, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur – to walk down the pitch next month.
In December, 22 of the 4 selected kids will go for a more in-depth training programme led by Spurs’ Global Football Development, sponsored by AIA, at Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort in Phuket, Thailand.
This series of initiatives is part of AIA’s 100-year Centennial celebrations across Asia this year, which aims to inspire more Singaporeans with a passion for sports and football to live healthier, longer, better lives.