SINGAPORE: Just when the Singapore men’s football team has been eliminated in this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, a video clip is circulating online where marathoner Soh Rui Yong says the national team needs Chinese players.
The clip, posted on the Yahoo Southeast Asia TikTok account on April 24, was shared on r/SingaporeRaw on Tuesday (May 9).
In it, the outspoken runner points out in a sports podcast that the Chinese, “the dominant race in Singapore,” is not well-represented in the football team.
“One of the players I follow in football is Gabriel Quak. I couldn’t name another Chinese footballer whose making waves in the football scene.
“And even Gabriel Quak has now come to the age where I think he’s doing real estate on the side or planning for his exit from football.
“It was always exciting watching Gabriel play. Exciting left-footed winger.”
Mr Soh’s main concern, he explained, is that the “talent pool is limited to a minority race.”
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that (it) cannot lead to success, but you’re just severely limiting your talent pool,” he added.
Local Reddit users had a lot of opinions on Mr Soh’s take.
“I think the ethnic Chinese in Singapore are just more interested in watching/betting on football than playing it.
“And it’s not as if we stop Chinese from playing football and encourage our Malays and Indians to swim right?” one wrote.
“Chinese are not encourage(d) enough to play sports unless can afford, parents in sports or really outstanding.
How many Chinese parents go crazy if their child missed training but if they missed tuition… God’s wrath,” answered another.
However, one pointed out: “No I think Chinese in Singapore love playing football too. They just don’t see it as a career.”
To this, another answered, “I’m sure many are. We just aren’t that good to want to turn pro.”
One pointed out, “No, turning pro means earning a miserable salary. That’s why the youth players, who are often Chinese, quit. They trained hard for football CCA, and then when they see the path ahead, they nope out. They can earn more using their poly diploma; and some of them qualified for uni.”
Another opined, “We do not have that cultural connection to football like football countries. I think we were pretty good in the 80-90s? When there isn’t so much rules or regulations. Friends just get together at the void deck and play football.”
The full podcast may be viewed below: