SINGAPORE: Football is one of the most beautiful games and a source of national pride for many sports enthusiasts in Singapore. But lately, it has been overshadowed by something far less beautiful off the field.

Former national footballer Kadir Yahaya’s recent Facebook post serves as a stark reminder of the detrimental impact these ongoing conflicts might have on the local footballing image and put hurdles on the sport’s progress. Kadir urged all parties to rise above the blame game and refocus on their roles and responsibilities before the beautiful game crumbles.

He also highlights several pressing issues that need immediate attention to stabilise Singapore’s football. The appointment of a national coach by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), an Under-23 coach, and providing updates on the upcoming season of the Singapore Premier League (SPL).

“As we usher the New Year with great optimism, I am sad to read about Singapore football saddled with saga, drama, leaks, lie detector test, suspensions and criminal charges.

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Whatever the outcome FAS vs Harman, it will be detrimental to Singapore football as a whole. There bound to be blaming game and dirt unfold during the match.

Unfortunately it will only tarnished the good and hard work of Singapore football and SPL Club Chairmen,” posted Kadir on his Facebook page.

Kadir, currently on a two-year contract as the head of youth football at 2011 Thai League 1 champions BG Pathum since 2022, referred to an existing FAS council member, Harman Ali, who is provisionally suspended for a potential breach.

This is in relation to an allegedly leaked document that came to light after a four-man panel convened to review the Singapore national men’s Under-22 football team’s dismal performance at the SEA Games in May last year.

Harman was part of the panel, which included former national Singapore team head coach Jita Singh and two other FAS council members: SEA Games assistant chef de mission Lim Tong Hai and former national captain Razali Saad.

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Responding to Straits Times on Dec 29, a FAS spokesperson confirmed that a council member has been provisionally suspended pending an inquiry by the FAS ethics committee on a potential breach and that the suspension is due to the pending inquiry and the council member’s duties have been reassigned accordingly.’

Photo credit: Football Association of Singapore

Kadir’s concerns extend beyond just tarnishing the sport’s image in the present; they also stifle its growth and hamper the development of future generations of Singapore’s footballers. In short, he worries about the long-term ramifications which might be further implicated by the current issues.

“Minister Edwin (Tong) and SPS Eric (Chua), I fully understand no interference or meddling with FAS but these internal infighting bickering will have ripple effect on UTR (Unleash The Roar) long term goal and it will hugely impact chef Eric tonic soup recipe.

How frustrating while I am trying to secure and explore Partnerships, MOU or Sponsorships for Singapore football development but these drama and saga really embarrassing and overshadow everything,” expressed Kadir who won the Malaysia Cup and Malaysia League with Singapore in 1994.

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As the current FAS council entered the final leg of their current term, Kadir’s message resonated loud and clear. He reminds the FAS president, exco and council members of their primary role: to serve in the best interest of Singapore’s football.

Kadir’s tone when calling for stability and unity may sound harsh and blunt to some. But the former LionsXII and Singapore Under-23 assistant coach does have a deep-seated love for the well-being of the sport and a genuine desire to see it prosper.

His proven track record as a player and a coach, especially at the youth level, demonstrates his lifelong dedication towards football, and his concerns deserve to be heard.