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I smile when my opponents play rough

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16-year-old Suhandika of ITE College West in action for the Henderson Free Kicks team. (Photo by Joseph Lee/Red Sports)

“I have learned how to smile even if my opponents play rough against me.”

The 16-year-old Suhandika from ITE College West had just captained his under-16 team, the Henderson Free Kicks, to a second-place finish in the 2013 Central Singapore Community Shield, previously known as the Mayor’s Cup.

“The Free Kicks programme has taught me a lot. I (now) know how to pass, control, and shield the ball. Besides football skills, I also learnt discipline, respect and to play as a team. I like to go for training every single week,” said Suhandika, who has been training with the team for two years.

The programme, initiated by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC), provides free football training for kids aged 8 to 16 every week and have been doing so for the past three and a half years. The players train every Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Henderson Secondary School.

The SportCares Foundation supports the Henderson Free Kicks programme by providing the team of 40 boys with jerseys and boots for training. The foundation was set up by the Singapore Sports Council to drive social good through sport and is one of the recommendations of Vision 2030.

“The Henderson Free Kicks programme started in October 2010 and the aim was to get the boys off the street to teach them discipline and responsibility through the sport of football. We may not train them to become professional football players, but we want to develop their
sense of self-worth,” said Raymond Chua, 40, the team manager who has been volunteering for the past three years.

Asnova Mohd Noor, a volunteer, feels that the programme is beneficial and sends all three of her sons, aged 15, 11 and 10, for it.

“My three boys have been with the programme for the last two years and it is something they look forward to each week,” said Ms Asnova.

“They love football very much so I wanted to send them for structured trainings. They play football everyday and really like the training (sessions). They even set an alarm every Sunday! The coaches always help the children and I can see the difference in the boys.”

The above is an excerpt from Red Sports, to read the full article, click here.
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