As we count-down to the Rochefort World Cup 2014 this coming weekend, we take a look-back at the exploits of Team Singapore in past FISTF Subbuteo World Cup tournaments since the formation of TFAS back in 2009. In the first of 2 instalments, we focus on the FISTF Subbuteo World Cup 2012 held in Manchester, England.
Singapore’s very first representatives (since the formation of TFAS) in a FISTF World Cup was none other than Kok Wee Tan (our TFAS President himself) and John Ho (our TFAS Treasurer). As ardent fans of the English Premier League themselves, they jumped at the opportunity to not only represent Singapore in the World Cup in Manchester but also to tour 1 of the key hotbed of English football and to visit the Etihad Stadium – home of Manchester City!!
For both Kok Wee and John, this was their maiden World Cup appearance as national players of Singapore. Their participation put Singapore on the world map of Sports Table Football and tremedously helped raised the profile of Singapore table football and attracted the attention of the rest of the table football community around the world.
Kok Wee was up against Daniele Bertelli (Italy), Jesper Staal Nielsen (Denmark) and Nikos Pappas (Greece) in his group; while John was drawn together with Samuel Bartolo (Malta), Lawrence Alvarez (Gibraltar) and Kostas Stamokostas (Greece). Both of them competed in the Individual Open event.
While Kok Wee did not win or draw any of his games, he did managed to score his first World Cup goal and put up a credible performance. John went 2 steps better and scored 3 World Cup goals. Unfortunately, both of our players could not progress beyond the Group Stage against much stronger opponents. Nevertheless, both certainly left their mark on the world stage and made many sit-up and notice. In fact, over the course of the tournament weekend, both Kok Wee and John had numerous invitations for friendly games from many of the top players around the world; curious about the style and standard of play of Singaporean players. Well done Kok Wee and John for flying our Singapore flag high and proud!!
Watch John in action
In an exclusive interview after the World Cup, Kok Wee shared his thoughts on the following:
Question: How would you describe your personal experience of representing your country in the Manchester World Cup?
Kok Wee: It was definitely a proud moment of being recognised as a representative of my country in such a global event. Having other players from other countries welcoming us was indeed very heartwarming; and for all that to happen in Manchester, it was really a childhood dream coming true – for Manchester of UK is THE place that I always wanted to visit ever since I started to know football.
Question: Would you recommend other players to play in the World Cup? Why?
Kok Wee: I would definitely and strongly encourage other players to go play in the World Cup whenever they can. The experience of watching and playing with some of the world’s top players will be a very good learning process. Results aside, to be able to interact with players of other countries is also a very enriching experience; and not to mention the friendships forged in the process is simply priceless!
Question: Would Singapore Table Football benefit from having players in the World Cup? Why?
Kok Wee: Of course!! Singapore Sports Table Football will surely benefit having in the World Cup – for these players will return with really fruitful experiences and advice that can help build the other players here in Singapore. This os 1 of the best – if not the best – way in which this Sport can grow not only in Singapore but the whole of Asia region. And of course, it is yet another avenue that our little island can be featured on the world stage.
Last but not least … Congrats and kudos to both Kok Wee and John!! You have both done Singapore proud!! Well done!!
In the next instalment, we focus on the exploits of Team Singapore at the FISTF Subbuteo World Cup 2013 held in Madrid, Spain. Watch this space!!