When they donned Singapore’s national colours, they competed against players from different nationalities, ethnicities, races and religions. On 15 February 2014, ex-national players S Subramani, Joseph Pragasam and Tamil Maran came together to lend support to YSA’s efforts to promote racial harmony, understanding and integration during its annual 4-a-side football tournament.

The three former stars joined Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC Zaqy Mohamad in an exhibition match involving young Singaporeans, new citizens and expatriates to kick off the 10th edition of the event. Mr Zaqy and the former national players also met and mingled with the tournament’s players and supporters.

The one-day event witnessed the participation of a record 62 teams from different ethnic groups, backgrounds and age groups, including the self-help groups, new citizens and expatriates. In total, 120 matches were played during the tournament. At the same time, YSA organised juggling, heading and target shooting competitions to bring players from the different teams together in friendly competition. A tea reception was also arranged to provide the opportunity for the players to interact and mingle with one another.

The tournament’s multi-racial thrust saw not only teams from different ethnic groups but also a multi-ethnic component within each team. This was line with its aim of closer interaction and networking among youth of different backgrounds, to promote greater cultural and racial understanding and respect in Singapore and, at the same time, encourage a healthy and dynamic lifestyle. The tournament also provided a platform to the Sikh participants to play an active and responsible role in nation-building by propagating the values synonymous with the Singapore ethos.

Mr Zaqy stated that, “Such initiatives are important and relevant in strengthening the Singapore social fabric. Whilst the government can and will do its part to promote greater appreciation and understanding, such ground-up initiatives are equally important in ensuring that Singaporeans of all walks and backgrounds are able to work, live and play together. I commend Young Sikh Association (Singapore) for organising this tournament regularly for the last 10 years.”

One the former national players, Subramani, stated that, “Sports is a great social leveller – there are no racial, language and social barriers. Everyone gets together to just have good fun. Players get to know one another and there is great camaraderie through football. Over time, the players become a big footballing family. Not to mention, it also promotes a healthy lifestyle among the players.”

One of the participants, Muhammad Jehan Shah, winner of the ‘Heading’ competition, said that, “It was a great tournament. There was a lot happening throughout the day. We had matches at various categories – open, veterans, ladies, youth and juniors; competitions on the sidelines, tea reception and an exhibition match. It was a great place to meet old friends and make new acquaintances.”

At the end of the tournament, MIB took the honours in the ‘Open’ category; La Plata Dynamites won the ‘Veteran’ category; Sporting Republica took home the ‘Ladies’ title; NPS A won the ‘Youth’ final ; and First Touch were the winners of the ‘Youth’ category.

The event was supported by the Harmony Fund (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), National Integration Fund, Football Association of Singapore, Singapore Indian Development Association, Narpani Pearavai and Weston Corporation.

Provinus Solutions Wedding Collections