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A Legendary Day for our Young Athletes


Football legends posing with our young footballers from the Singapore Sports School (Photo: SSC/ Bibek Gurung)

Meeting a football legend in the flesh is a once in a lifetime opportunity. On 4 March, the students of the Singapore Sports School got to meet three.

Brazilian football icon Pele, France’s Eric Cantona and the United States’ Cobi Jones were in Singapore as part of Asia-wide outreach programme to promote the revival of the New York Cosmos. They stopped by the Singapore Sports School on their second day to have a question and answer session with the star-struck students and to officially open the re-turfed football pitch.

The stars had more than few words of advice for the young sports men and women who were listening in rapt attention. A point that they emphasised was hard work. ”In my first team, my coach did not select me for the first eleven,” shared Cantona. “It was one of the most important moments in my life because I began to train hard every day for my entire life.”  
“For student athletes, the student part is also important,” offered Jones. “To be successful, not just in football but also in life you have to work hard in everything you do.”

Pele also stressed the importance of working hard in school. “For sport, one moment you’ll have to stop and after that you have to prepare for life. School is what prepares you for life.”
After the session, the stars went to cut the ribbon at the football pitch to declare it officially open, after which they mingled with the students and signed autographs.

Mohd Hanafi, a Secondary 4 student was visibly excited to be in the presence of his idols. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us,” he said. “The question and answer session was quite exciting, because we got to know what these stars are like.”

“The key word that they emphasised was very important, and the key word was training,” said Singapore Sports School under-13 coach, Kadir Yahya. “All three of them said they got where they were through hard work. So I hope it makes the boys realise that talent is only ten percent and that hard work is 90 percent.”