ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric (in red) oversees one of his first few training clinics with kids from a local primary school. Photo: SportSG
Local football legend Aleksandar Duric may be the principal and celebrity face of the new ActiveSG Football Academy, but these titles hardly matter to him. Instead, he will be focusing solely on his dream and mission of introducing the sport to more youths in Singapore, and nurturing their passion.
The Academy, designed to complement the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) programmes by catering to a wider range of skill and fitness levels, will provide children aged six to 12 with affordable opportunities to pick up football and develop further in the sport.
“I’ve been here long enough, and I can say that Singapore is lacking a bit on the developmental side of the football scene,” he pointed out.
“This is the first time that Sport Singapore and ActiveSG is working on such a huge project to give opportunities to all kids to come and enjoy football. The FAS focuses more on the elite side, so this is the difference between them and us.”
Keenly motivated by his belief that “more can be done to get [kids] involved”,
Duric also spoke with an almost-parental fervour about the Academy being an avenue for participants to pick up life values via sport.
“This is a football academy, so there definitely will be a focus on technical skills. I’m here with my coaching staff to help those kids to reach a certain technical level. But at the same time, we should not and cannot forget life values. It’s important to teach these things from a young age,” explained Duric.
“Football is a team sport, so it’s always good that the kids get to play with others from different backgrounds. Some of them may be quieter and need more confidence. It’s an opportunity for them to pick up new experiences and life values such as discipline, hard work, respect, and how to share a pitch with teammates and opponents.”
The former AFF Suzuki Cup winner, who is a father of three, expects that his personal experiences with his children will make it easier for him to “connect with” his charges at the Academy, as he guides them both on and off the pitch.
“As a father myself, I think that our kids today are lacking a bit in terms of important values. They’re growing up in a very comfortable environment, and we should toughen them up a bit. Sports can bring them discipline and other values that they may not be able to pick up at home,” he explained.
“I hope to be able to give them some guidance and help to shape them – physically and mentally – through sports.”
Duric will begin working with his young charges when the ActiveSG Football Academy officially launches in April, with programmes set to be steadily rolled out at five different ActiveSG stadiums – Bedok, Serangoon, Queenstown, Woodlands, and Bukit Gombak – by June, taking football to the heartlands and to the people.
As the football legend himself enthused: “The kids are our future – in any sport, not just football! To do that, we need to reach as many as we can, bring them to our football fields, and work closely with the parents. I know that everyone has different priorities and education is important. But sports can work well together with education.”
“I want to see many, many kids going through our Academy and I want them to remember us as a platform that has helped them hone their love for sports.”
To find out more about the ActiveSG Football Academy, visit this page here.
Want to learn how to play football from our local football legends? Sign up now to join us for a fun-filled day of football on the 2nd of April as we launch our ActiveSG Football Academy! Find out more about the ActiveSG Football Academy launch on 2 April here.