Last Sunday marked the conclusion of the FC Bayern Youth Cup Singapore 2018, where ten young players were selected by ActiveSG Football Academy coaches and Bayern legend Bixente Lizarazu to play at the world finals in Munich come May this year.
Ten young players were selected by ActiveSG Football Academy coaches and Bayern legend Bixente Lizarazu to play at the world finals in Munich. Photo: Sport Singapore
Supported by the Singapore Embassy in Berlin, the second edition of the tournament, held at Our Tampines Hub, was organised by the ActiveSG Football Academy. The competition saw 15 secondary schools competing in a two-day affair, with Queensway Secondary School winning top honours.
Besides vying for the title on behalf of their teams, the boys, aged 15 to 16 years old, were also playing for a chance to represent Singapore in the FC Bayern Youth Cup World Finals.
The selections were made after discussions between Lizarazu and the team of ActiveSG Football Academy coaches, and the final ten names were announced during the prize-giving ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
Six-time Bundesliga winner with FC Bayern, Lizarazu, was impressed with the quality of players on the pitch, particularly the selected ten. He revealed: “The selection we’ve made, the 10 players - some had really good technique, and good play.”
Bayern legend Bixente Lizarazu (right) and Lim Tong Hai, director of clubs and academies, Sport Singapore, watching the boys from the sidelines. Photo: Sport Singapore
When asked about the values the coaches were looking out for, Lim Tong Hai, director of clubs and academies in SportSG, shared: “We looked out for individual technique, [such as] ball control, creativity, and confidence. We also wanted to see players who embraced values in football like teamwork, discipline, and respect.”
In addition to attending a training camp, the selected youths will also get to meet FC Bayern first-team players and watch the season’s final home match in the Allianz Arena, before playing in the youth cup finals the following day.
“During our time, we never had this kind of opportunity to go overseas and go to a big club like Bayern to compete,” Lim said.
“It’s a very good experience. I think playing football is important, but what’s more important is to go there and have a feel of how this professional set-up is like, and at the same time, to make new friends through football,” the ex-national footballer continued.
One of the promising young talents from the squad, 16-year-old Rohin Ramachandra from Angle-Chinese School (Barker), expressed: “I’m honoured to be given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. [I look forward to] being in the training centres, meeting the players, obviously getting to watch a match in the always, ever-packed Bayern arena!”
Playing a critical role in getting his team to the finals, Izz Raziq from Pasir Ris Secondary School felt immensely thankful for the opportunity to head to Munich.
The 16-year-old exclaimed: “I’m grateful! [It’s a] dream come true [and] a good accomplishment for me this year. I hope when I come back, I can bring some of the training knowledge back to Singapore and help my friends.”
Lizarazu presenting a Bayern Munich jersey to a lucky trivia contest winner. Photo: Sport Singapore
With the FC Bayern Youth Cup looking to become an annual affair in Singapore, principal of the ActiveSG Football Academy Aleksandar Duric hopes that such opportunities will foster a stronger interest in the sport amongst youths in Singapore.
“Initiatives such as the FC Bayern Youth Cup help create excitement and provides greater attraction for youth football in Singapore. I hope our efforts will inspire more youths to take up football. This is also a good chance to learn from established counterparts and strengthen the quality of our youth football ecosystem,” he said.