Football: SingaCup returns in hybrid format with in-person and virtual matches

SINGAPORE – The SingaCup, an international youth football competition, returns in a hybrid format featuring in-person matches, online Fifa matches and meet-and-greet sessions with renowned players and coaches from European clubs, organisers announced on Friday (Dec 10).

The 4v4 matches will be held from Dec 18 to 19 and the categories – Under-14, U-16 and Open (girls only) – are open to boys and girls living in Singapore.

The SingaCup is an annual tournament started in 2011 that typically features teams from Australia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Football camps for teenagers aged 13 to 17 will also be organised, including an all-inclusive camp for youth with special needs organised in collaboration with SingaChamps, which provides sport and arts training for youths with autism.

All camps will be conducted by certified coaches and professional football players. Matches and camps will adhere to the prevailing safe management measures to ensure the safety of all participants and the community.

Online meet-and-greet and Q&A sessions with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Cho So-hyun, Olympique Lyonnais defender Ellie Carpenter and West Ham Women’s Under-21 coach Stephen Opoka will also be arranged and streamed on the SingaCup’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Cho, 33, who is also captain of the South Korean national women’s team, said: “I am really excited to be a part of this year’s SingaCup and am grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my experiences and thoughts with Singapore’s football community; especially with the women and girls who are passionate about the sport.

“It’s always nice to chat with female footballers from other countries and exchange stories about our favourite sport and I look forward to meeting all of you.”

This year’s SingaCup will also include an online Fifa component, which was introduced during last year’s virtual eSingaCup. The competition will feature two categories – an individual 1v1 category and a 11v11 team category. The individual category has a prize purse of $1,120 while teams will compete for a purse of $2,000.

The Fifa matches will also be streamed live on SingaCup’s Facebook and YouTube pages from Dec 15 and fans can also look forward to battles between entertainers including Fandi Ahmad’s youngest son Iryan Fandi, singer Haneri (Daphne Khoo) and Geylang International goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.

Tournament director Selvakumar Panneerselvam was thrilled that matches can now take place in person.

He added: “Last year’s eSingaCup was truly an enjoyable experience seeing our community rally together to have fun amidst these unprecedented times, and we believe this year’s edition will provide fans with a great, holistic hybrid experience.”

Ong Ling Lee, director of sports and wellness at the Singapore Tourism Board, said: “Despite the continued challenges of this pandemic, we are glad that SingaCup is back with an innovative hybrid format – with opportunities for youths to participate in physical matches safely.

“We hope the event will keep Singapore top of mind among the international football community and inspire them to experience Singapore in person soon.”

Participants may register for the 4v4 physical matches and 1v1 Fifa competition at the SingaCup website. Slots for the 11v11 Fifa event have been fully subscribed.

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