The Switzerland- Singapore Football Festival took place on April 22, with the intention of promoting passion for sports and fostering cultural exchange between the youth in Singapore. In other words, it was a really cool festival jointly organised by the Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore and Sport Singapore (SportSG), which was represented by Aleksandar Duric, Principal of ActiveSG Football Academy.
2017 marks Switzerland’s 50 years of diplomatic relations with the country, and according to Swiss Ambassador Thomas Kupfer, there are many ideas and values that both countries can learn from each other. Yeah, you’ve got to admit… it is the land of the finest watches, chocolates, trains that leave on time (and the list goes on).
“We have held this event for seven years now, and it was previously called the Swiss Cup. This is the first time we are doing it with Sport Singapore,” he explained.
Mr Kupfer added that the Swiss national team was a good example of successful integration between various nationalities, and he draws on the multiculturalism as parallel to the Lion City.
“Schweizer Nati” (the national team) today is comprised of third and second generation-born Swiss players who come from countries such as former Yugoslavia, Turkey, Ivory Coast and other nations. War and poverty in their country of origin meant that many were accepted into Switzerland as refugees or immigrants.
“I am a fan of FC Zurich, as I was born there (in Zurich), but I am also proud of our national team, as we are ranked seventh in the FIFA standings now,” Mr Kupfer said.
It was inspiring to see how the festival expanded beyond football, and used as a tool to foster friendships between different nationalities. One concept was getting the children to write thematic postcards to one another, talking about their passion for football.
Postcard options included everything symbolically Swiss from Roger Federer, to the Swiss national team (above) and of course, the iconic Alps.
A total of 20 teams made up of u12 girls and u12 boys participated in the tournament at The Float@Marina Bay, which comprised of a “round robin” format, followed by knockout stages.
Medals and lucky draw prizes were given out to the children, and after watching some of these futbolitinas crying out in exasperation at their missed penalty chances, it was nice to know they all took away something (besides Swatch watches) – the beauty of friendship in football!
Speaking of which, don’t forget to follow our next few posts which includes our visit to the FIFA Museum in Zurich and FC Basel!