SINGAPORE: Just as the Singapore men’s soccer team was eliminated at this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, a video clip is circulating online in which marathon runner Soh Rui Yong says the national team needs Chinese players.
The clip, posted on Yahoo Southeast Asia’s TikTok account on April 24, was shared on r/SingaporeRaw Tuesday (May 9).
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In it, the outspoken runner points out on a sports podcast that the Chinese, “the dominant race in Singapore,” are not well represented on the soccer team.
“One of the players I follow in football is Gabriel Quak. I can’t name another Chinese footballer who has caused a stir in the football scene.
“And also Gabriel Quak is now at the age where I think he’s either doing real estate deals or planning his exit from football.
“It was always exciting to see Gabriel play. Exciting left winger.“
Soh’s main concern, he explained, is that the “talent pool is limited to an ethnic minority”.
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that (it) can’t lead to success, but you’re just severely limiting your talent pool,” he added.
Local Reddit users had many opinions on Mr Soh’s version.
“I think ethnic Chinese in Singapore are just more interested in watching/betting on soccer than playing it.
“And it’s not like we stop the Chinese from playing soccer and encourage our Malaysians and Indians to swim, right?” one wrote.
“Chinese people are not encouraged enough to play sports unless they can afford it, sports parents or really outstanding ones.
How many Chinese parents go crazy if their child misses training, but if they miss classes… the wrath of God,” replied another.
However, one pointed out, “No, I think the Chinese in Singapore also love to play football. They just don’t see it as a career.
To this, another replied: “I’m sure many are. We’re just not good enough to want to go pro.
One pointed out: “No, turning pro means earning a miserable salary. That’s why young people, who are often Chinese, quit. They have been training hard for CCA football, and then when they see the way ahead, they can’t make it. They can earn more using their poly diploma; and some of them qualified for university.
Another commented: “We don’t have that cultural connection to football like the footballing countries. I think we were good enough in the 80-90s? When there aren’t so many rules or regulations. Friends gather on the empty bridge and play football.
The full podcast can be viewed below:
Singapore men’s soccer team out of group stage, SEA Games medal quest continues