I feel the pinch (too) when I saw this online article – young futbol talents, hampered at the start of his futbol-ing career by national service duty back in Singapore. Not only me, I believe many futbol hopefuls reading these would understand how much impact the national service had caused especially when you were at the peak of your futbol career.
Just when you were done with a few thousand pieces of jigsaw puzzle using the past 10 days, someone came and messed it all up. You would be having this dilemma, questioning yourself if you should redo the few thousand pieces of jigsaw puzzle or should you just stop and carry on with other things? Some might argue with me on this example but let’s face it, put the agenda of doing the jigsaw puzzle aside, not all but many, or most of us would not re-do it the second time. I want to put this example back to the unfortunate reality which Singapore futbol is facing. Please do not get me wrong, I am a Singaporean and I went through the mandatory 2 years of national service and in fact, in another 2 years’ time, I will be officially ROD (save your time of searching the meaning of this ROD, it simply means finally I am off from the government’s book for good!!).
My national service called-up came when I was at my futbol peak. I traded my futbol jersey for the army green unwillingly, in despair to be exact. Unwillingly accepted the fact that one of my feet was on the professional futbol pitch and now I am stepping out totally and indefinitely. 2 years passed, I am not anywhere near the standard where I used to and eventually gave up that futbol dream which I was holding on passionately for years. I can still remember making the same wish, to be a professional futbol player, every year prior to blowing the birthday candles in front of all my friends and family.
I do not want to give readers here an impression that I am blaming national service for my misfortune - national service is a futbol-dream dasher. I just feel that something can be done to give this lot of young futbol talents an opportunity to shine and to continue improve without any distraction or unnecessary pressure. All of us know that the crucial age for futbol development is between 18-25 years old and unfortunately many local talented players are enlisted during these age. Honestly, how many can make it to Home Utd or SAF? Or I should say, how many slot the clubs have to accommodate thousands and thousands of gifted youngsters?
I enjoy reading the comments on facebook on this topic. Is it true that South Korea has this arrangement where a man can be enlisted to army at any time before 30 years old? Talk about this, I ever did hear that some Korean artists such as famous Rain, only went into the army when he’s near 30 years old! If this is true, then I think that special “allowance” will be very helpful for our futbol players here! National service is mandatory and crucial but we hope that certain flexibility can be practiced to compromise the national service vs futbol-issue. Even our legendary striker, Fandi Ahmad, hesitated if he should allow both of his talented young boys who caught the eyes of Chelsea’s and AC Milan’s scouts, to take up Singapore citizenships. Don’t get it? Means he’s aware that national service will put a halt to his children’s European futbol career development!
If anyone who’s reading these, and have the capability of influencing the top government officials, like children, cousins, nephews, nieces of Singapore’s Ministers’, Prime Minister’s or Mr. President’s, do me a small favor… show this write-up to them, on behalf of Junpiter Futbol, thank you very much!