Interviews

Liverpool legends and the Lion City Cup

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You’ve only been here for a few weeks, but what are your first impressions?

We see over 300 players a week and I’ve been working with all age groups. There are some really decent players out there. First and foremost the kids are good kids. They want to learn and that’s important to set themselves standards and targets and they also want to enjoy what they do.

So looking at the Lion City Cup, this year Liverpool and Tottenham are bringing their academy teams to Singapore. What sort of opportunity do you think that is for some young Singaporean footballers?

It’s a win-win situation for all the players involved. First and foremost it gives the guys in Singapore an opportunity to pit themselves against players from abroad and understand what the standard is like. You find elite countries in England and Europe set the standard of where Singapore want to get to or what they can strive to achieve. On the flipside it’s also an unbelievable experience for clubs like Liverpool to expose themselves to a different type of football, a different culture. So it’s a perfect opportunity for all players to learn and gives them something different to think about. If you can give players as many opportunities as you can to play in different environments, they can most definitely learn and develop as players.

Some of the bigger names in Singaporean football have taken part in the Lion City Cup and started off in these kind of tournaments. It can be a great breeding ground…

Definitely, especially at that 15, 16 years of age, competitive football is a great tool to develop players. Here we don’t focus purely on winning, what we want the players to do is have a competitive attitude. Tournaments like the Lion City Cup give you opportunities to test yourself, especially against really good opposition. It’s a massive learning curve for all involved.

Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin at this year's Lion City Cup draw