The new Nike Players Lounge at Wisma Nike

Gone are the days when you had to duck under the void deck to “illegally” hone your skills to be the next big thing in football.

“The ‘No Football’ sign intimidated me at first, as our neighbours will always complain about the noise that we generate,” Nazri Nasir, the former national captain of Singapore’s soccer team told UrbanWire during the launch of the Nike Players Lounge at Nike Wisma.

Because when that happened, the outcome normally involved the friendly, neighbourhood police officer.

“I would flee and run as fast as I can with my football friends whenever I saw a police car,” chuckled the 39-year-old.


The ex-national captains of Singapore: (From left) Aide Iskandar, Nazri Nasir, Terry Pathmanathan, David Lee, Indra Shadan, Fandi Ahmad

With Nike’s latest tournament , which was announced at the launch of the Nike Players Lounge, fortunately, from 19 – 27 June, you can now play at the dark, cement gray confines of the void deck without the hassle of trying to elude the cops every once in a while.

Glenn Heng, Marketing Manager, Nike SEA & Singapore, said that Nike Cup Singapore 2010 aims to celebrate “the global diversity of football” by encouraging footballers aged 14 to 19 years old to compete in a fast paced 5-on-5 football tournament.

*SCAPE and the multi-storey carpark at Queenstown are some of the few venues of which the tournament will be held. The backdrop of the tournament will definitely make the matches played there a tantalizing affair and enhance the overall football experience.

The competition will be divided into 4 zones, with each zone seeing 130 teams battle it out for table scores. The top 50 (25 from senior and 25 from junior divisions) in each zone will then compete against one another on 4 July for the coveted prize of an all-expense-paid football training experience in Brazil.

One of the luminaries of Singapore football and beloved national icon, Fandi Ahmad assured UrbanWire that the future of the local scene is indeed promising. He added that the tournament will challenge our young budding talents.

“The kids have better equipment, facilities, and technology to help them to progress as footballers. They can now learn from Youtube and emulate the skills from their idols,” said the former FC Groningen striker.

Of course the legendary striker also improved his skills at a basketball court and was slightly envious of the technology that young footballers are exposed too.

Nazri Nasir shares his sentiments.

“When I was young, I could only learn skills when I watched the matches at the National Stadium. Now they have Youtube,” he mused.

Muhammad Hairi who is the captain of Tampines Secondary School, is relishing the chance to play in this tournament, as it is reminiscent of his younger days.

The 14-year-old used to play barefooted under the void deck with his friends as he sacrificed his pair of slippers to turn them to a makeshift goalpost.


The captains of the top 30 secondary schools in Singapore

With the goalposts of Nike Cup Singapore 2010 being slippers, we can expect the beautiful game to be played straight from the footballer’s heart and the winners of the match will be decided on honor rules as there will be no referees officiating the game.

Besides, registration is free of charge and the process is simple. All you have to do is visit Nike’s website and register as the captain of your team of 5 plus 1 reserve. The recruitment for teams commenced on 21 May.

Perhaps, this might spell the needed revitalisation of good ’ol football.

Photos courtesy of Nike Singapore