By Koh Yizhe/Red Sports
Jalan Besar Stadium, Saturday, June 8, 2013 – Dr Tony Tan, the President of the Republic of Singapore, was announced as the patron of the SportCares Foundation at the 2013 Canon Lion City Cup.
President Tan accepted a cheque for $1 million from various corporate sponsors on behalf of SportsCares on the opening night of the Lion City Cup. The president also met the members of Saturday Night Lights, a SportCares football program.
“I think the President’s involvement gives benefactors of SportCares the confidence that the programs offered by SportCares are professionally designed and run,” said Lim Teck Yin, chief executive officer of the Singapore Sports Council.
“It shows that the system of governance for the donated funds and the sustaining of programs are professionally handled. Corporate donors recognize the value that the SportCares program brings. They want to associate their companies with SportCares because it sends a powerful message about adding value to society through sports.”
“Having corporate donors is very important as SportCares is about the community coming together. We could have taken the funds from our budget for SportCares, but that would be missing the point. It’s about people coming forward to help other people. For these companies to have come forward, it sends a strong message that the private and public sector are coming together to help others,” added CEO Lim.
The evening also saw Saturday Night Lights send two teams out at half time of the match between the Singapore NFA Under-16s and Arsenal Under-15s to allow the youths to showcase their 10 weeks of training.
Playing under the names of Team Pride and Team Respect, the 22 boys enjoyed the exposure on the Jalan Besar pitch and ran their hearts out during the short time that they had. Although the 15-minute match ended goalless, they turned in a disciplined performance and their coaches were certainly proud of them.
“Today was really a true testament to the success of this program,” said Prabaakaran, one of the coaches.
“If you have seen the boys from day one, you would have definitely noticed a difference in the boys. They can play as a team and I think the program has definitely done its job. The biggest challenge was keeping their heads cool and keeping their focus on the big stage, but from what you can see, they manage to do it. They are on route to taking up more responsibilities and becoming better people,” remarked the 28-year-old coach.
Sheikh Fadhil, one of the boys who had his 15 minutes of fame, was proud to have gotten the chance to play at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
“It was very exciting as it was my first time I played in front of such a big crowd,” said Fadhil, whose dream is to play for the Young Lions of the S.League.
“I was so nervous throughout the match! I want to thank all my coaches who gave me the support and confidence I needed to play on such a big stage. The highlight of the whole experience was playing as a team on the field. Even though we only have training once a week, we still did our best together,” explained the 22-year-old.
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