As Majulah Singapura blared over the sound system at the Lion City Sailors Training Centre, the club’s first-team players, Academy trainees, MacPherson residents as well as Member of Parliament (MP) for MacPherson Single Member Constituency (SMC) Tin Pei Ling sang with gusto and proceeded to recite the National Pledge in unison, reaffirming their commitment to Singapore.
It was quite the sight at the newly-opened Training Centre on Tuesday (9 August) morning as the club opened its doors to the community, hosting MacPherson Zone E Residents’ Committee (RC) and MacPherson Community Sports Club (CSC)’s National Day Observance Ceremony (NDOC) – the first time the Sailors welcomed the community at large.
Some 300 residents walked en mass from the MacPherson Community Centre across to the Training Centre on Mattar Road, where they partook in an ActiveSG workout, tried out a couple of sports, had a little bit of fun at some game booths and had the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere at the new home of the Sailors – with the Sailors first-team players and Academy trainees going through their paces on both pitches even as the event took place.
It was a blazing hot morning, but it was clear that MacPherson residents enjoyed a meaningful morning and showed even greater warmth in their interactions with one another at a facility which was designed to support more than just elite sports.
Apart from having a world-class facility to hone the skills of budding footballers, the newly-constructed Training Centre was aimed to facilitate service to residents and bring greater vibrancy to the Mattar neighbourhood and the MacPherson community.
The Training Centre which includes a viewing area for the public, a café, as well as community-friendly spaces at Level 2 has started on good footing.
Less than two weeks after its official opening on 28 July 2022, the Training Centre has already opened its doors to family, friends and the community across two events.
Earlier on 31 July, the integrated facility opened its doors to families of players, coaches and staff from both the Sailors first team and Academy for its inaugural Family Day, offering all a first-hand look at the new home of the Sailors, as well as to soak up the fun and games on offer.
After viewing the various facets of the Training Centre such as the Academy’s locker rooms, first team changing room and recreation room, the kids and younger ones had the chance to participate in an inflatable penalty game, four 1v1 stations and a bouncy castle – and also enjoyed treats like popcorn, candy floss and ice cream in what was a carnival at Mattar.
One thing is for sure – the Sailors’ firm commitment to serving the grassroots and bringing the community together through football.
“It has always been our aim to sink roots into Mattar and embrace the community around our new home. We’ve started regular discussions with our neighbours and the grassroots organisations here on possible collaborations, and we’re grateful that they’ve made us feel very welcome,” said Sailors Chief Executive, Chew Chun-Liang.
“Through football, we can bring people together and do our bit to build a cohesive and united society in Singapore. And this will be the heart of everything we do, especially because football is one of the best vehicles to drive cohesion.”
MP for MacPherson SMC, Tin Pei Ling was similarly looking forward to more collaborative efforts between the Sailors and MacPherson grassroots organisations in the future.
She said: “Chun-Liang and his Sailors have been fantastic neighbours, from collaborating with our grassroots organisations in MacPherson for a Grant-a-Wish initiative in November 2021 even before they moved into Mattar Road, to now hosting a significant event like the NDOC.
“We’re delighted that the Sailors have embraced the MacPherson communities as much as they have, and I look forward to further deepening our relationship with the club as they settle down here.
“The Sailors’ wonderful facility opens up several options for various grassroot activities, and we’re delighted that they are so open to working with our grassroots.”