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Unified Football Tournament special needs

Local legends give Para football a lift

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Mix together some of Singaporean football's best known players with Team Singapore Cerebral Palsy footballers and secondary school and polytechnic students, and you get a unique and beautiful football tournament.

The Unified Football Tournament was organised by the Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee (SAPGOC) to promote Cerebral Palsy Football (CP Football) ahead of the year-ending 8th ASEAN Para Games.

Each team consisted of local legends, such as Fandi Ahmad and Lim Tong Hai, Team Singapore Cerebral Palsy footballers and youth players. A mix of which ensured that all the teams were equally matched, with the games won only by the finest of margins. 

Unified Football Tournament

Fandi Ahmad laughs after missing a goal scoring opportunity. Photo: Sport Singapore

Teams worked well together and showed a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship.

"This event is for people (to get) to know us and for us to interact more with the public,” said Team Singapore Cerebral Palsy footballer Suhaimi Bin Sudar.

When asked about playing with the football legends Suhaimi said: “We look at them as inspirations because they were our local heroes in the 90’s and 80’s.

“We want to just play well, enjoy the game and just give 100 percent of our hearts for Singapore when we play this December," he continued.

One of the local legends participating was ex-Singapore national team and S-League player S. Subramani.

"This is an opportunity for us (former national footballers) to get together and chit chat and have fun together,” said the former Home United captain and “the key thing here is participation rather than a focus on winning.”

Over two days of generally good-tempered but at times intense competition, the Dover Arrows (SportCares) team led by ex-national player Nazri Nasir came out tops in the Unified Football Tournament. 

unified football

The Dover Arrows (SportCares) team led by ex-national player Nazri Nasir (standing, third from left) came out tops in the Unified Football Tournament. Photo: Sport Singapore

Watching the final was Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who had this to say after the tournament: "Over the next few weeks leading up the Para Games you will see a lot of activities for the Para-athletes to go out into the community." 

Unified Football Tournament

Mr Lawrence Wong (centre), Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, celebrates scoring a goal with Nazri Nasir (right) and Fandi Ahmad. Photo: Sport Singapore

"You will see roadshows for Singaporeans to tryout Para-sports, we will have events like this to explain what Para-sports is about." he continued. After the final, Mr Wong joined the legends team for short exhibition game against the Cerebral Palsy Football team. His team edged out their Team Singapore counterparts with the minister contributing a few nifty goals.

"It was a fun and enriching experience for my family and me. We didn't know much about disabled sports or the athletes. However, after today, we began to appreciate our athletes and the sports. We are already planning to catch a few sports in December," said Mandy Loo, mother of two boys in her forties.

Actor and host Paul Foster (below, front row, far left) challenged us with a call to action. 

Unified Football Tournament

Paul Foster, local legends, Mr Lawrence Wong and members of the Team Singapore CP Football team pledging their support for ASEAN Para Games. Photo: Sport Singapore

"Simply take a picture anytime anywhere with your right hand across your right shoulder and if you hashtag #backupAPG2015 and tag APG_2015, NTUC will donate ten dollars and community chest will match another ten dollars.” said the affable young man.

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