Tag Archives: Lee bee Seng

Tributes flow in for deceased YOG football coach David Sivalingam

Here is a compilation of tributes to the late David Sivalingam from members of the Singapore football fraternity.

They were taken from The Straits Times and The New Paper. Once again, my deepest sympathies and condolences to his family for their loss.

I hope they are able to find a little comfort in the wonderful memories that people have of him.

The tributes:

“Coach Siva is the other man I would look up to apart from my dad. I am extremely saddened by his death. I could really communicate with him and he treated all the AYG boys like his own sons. After every training, he would call our homes to make sure every player was back safe and sound. When we lost 1-4 to Thailand in the AYG, I was distraught. But coach Siva put his arm around me on the bus and told me that winning and losing is all part of this beautiful game called football. I will really miss his guidance.”

– National U-14 squad member and defender Dhukhilan Jeevamani

“Coach Siva is extremely passionate about football. Last Saturday morning, we had a COE (Centre of Excellence) league game against SAFFC (Singapore Armed Forces FC). We needed a win to go third in the table and we won 7-1. It was our biggest win of the season and we could tell how much it meant to our coach at the end of the game. He was so happy with our performance. But he also kept reminding us never to neglect our studies. He would allow us to miss training if we had exams.”

– National U-14 squad member and striker Syazwan Zin

“Siva was a coach who really knew how to blend in with the players. Even though we had went our separate ways after our Sembawang days, I remained close to him. He was such a funny character, who was always teasing the players and we felt that we could approach him to talk about anything. He had my total respect as a mentor and as a friend.”

–  National striker Noh Alam Shah who, as a rookie player at Sembawang Rangers, spent his formative years groomed by Sivalingam

“He creates such a happy mood whenever he is around and that is something we will miss in the FAS office.”

– National U-21 coach V. Sundramoorthy

“This is a sad loss for Singapore football. Sivalingam has been producing results for the youth teams. He won the Under-18 league with the National Football Academy side last year and this year, he did very well with the AYG team.”

– Lions goalkeeping coach Lee Bee Seng

He was with me for about six years in various coaching capacities. At one time, he was our first-team coach but he truly excelled in coaching the youths.”

– Teo Hock Seng, chairman, Tampines Rovers

“This is so sudden. I am so shocked. The team is very close to him. He is like a father. He has done so much for us. We are all very sad that we have lost our dear coach. He was always motivating us to perform beyond ourselves. He not only taught us how to play good football but also how to be good and responsible citizens. Whenever we did something wrong, he would never raise his voice at us. He would always take us aside and try to find out why we did what we did. He is a great person and we will miss him dearly.”

– National U-14 squad member and skipper Jeffrey Lightfoot.

Finally, here are some words from David himself which were taken from an interview in March 2009. It reveals his coaching philosophy and methods for dealing with youth footballers:

“These boys are like my children. When their parents entrust them to me, I have to look after them as they are all very young. I discipline them and make sure they don’t mix with the wrong company. When they get injured during training, I bring them to the hospital and stay with them even until 3am, make sure they’re fine. After training, I call to make sure that they have reached home safely. When students feel that we genuinely care for them, they will give of their best to the game.

– National U-14 coach David Sivalingam, RIP 1958 – 2009


David Sivalingam’s funeral is on 4 November (Wednesday). The cortege leaves at 3pm for a 3.30pm service at the Church of the Holy Trinity  in Tampines. Subsequently, it will travel to Mandai Crematorium Hall 3. The cremation is at 5pm.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Go for it, Jasper (but alas, you’re no Kim Song)

The Story:


TODAY ran a report recently on the rise of impressive young goalkeeper Jasper Chan, who plays for the Young Lions, and who is tipped to give current Singapore No 1 Lionel Lewis a fight for the yellow jersey. Read the partial report here


My thoughts:


Interesting to see how the majority of Singapore’s greatest goalkeepers in the past 40 years have been Chinese. Between the 70s and the 90s, the names that stood out were Lee Bee Seng, Lim Chiew Peng, Edmund Wee and of course, David Lee.



Bee Seng, who is now the national goalkeeping coach, was once named “Asia’s Gordon Banks” after a string of brilliant performances between the sticks for Singapore at the 1975 Merdeka Tournament in Kuala Lumpur.


Lee (as in David) and Wee went on to become Singapore’s only goalkeepers to ever play professionally overseas. Wee went off to play for South China in the Hong Kong league in 1981 and stayed there for seven years while Lee signed on as a pro with Niac Mitra in the Indonesian league in 1982.


And one can stretch the list of examples further by including current Singapore No 1  Lionel Lewis. After all, he is of Eurasian and Chinese parentage.


And now we have 19-year-old Jasper rising up the ranks.


It looks like he’s got a lot of hard work ahead of him if he ever wants to displace Lewis, but the intense rivalry for the goalkeeper’s jersey can only be good for the two players – and for the Lions, as a whole.


And it would be great to see a true-blue Singapore Chinese in action for the Lions. Because currently, the stats tell a sorry tale, one that is almost laughable if it just wasn’t so sad: 70 percent of Singapore’s population is Chinese and yet the only two Chinese chaps we have in the national squad are from CHINA.


I won’t go into the reasons why there are so few Singapore Chinese players in our national teams. They have been cited ad nauseum in the media so it’s pretty pointless dredging all of them out again.


But this, in turn, has clearly had a major impact on the progress of Singapore football in the last 20 years. After all, there is only so much talent one can find if the bulk of the players willing to make football their rice bowl comes mainly from 15 percent of Singapore’s population.


This is probably also why national coach Raddy Avramovic has had to turn to foreigners to supplement the national squad. I am sure this will increasingly affect Singaporeans’ affinity with the Lions. Let’s see how that pans out.


Even if Jasper eventually makes it to the first 11, it’s unlikely that he will inspire a whole new generation of young Singapore Chinese footballers to pursue professional football as a career.


That can only happen when Singapore finally produces a talented Chinese Singaporean striker. Reason: it is the striker, not the goalkeeper, who is always regarded as the swash-buckling hero of the team, the man who will rescue the team from the jaws of defeat and lead them onwards to glory.


Just look at how the likes of Fandi Ahmad and Indra Sahdan Daud must have inspired many young Malay kids to dream of becoming professional footballers.


And I’m sorry, FAS, but if you think that Shi Jiayi and Qiu Li are going to do the same for young Chinese Singaporean players, think again. It won’t happen – because they will always be seen as foreign players co-opted into the national squad through its Foreign talent Scheme.


In that sense, Quah Kim Song was clearly the Singapore Chinese community’s last action hero (You can’t really count Steven Tan because he was known more for being a super-sub than a man leading at the fore).


Just how inspirational was Kim Song? Just put it this way: in the 70s, kids were proudly wearing Quah Kim Song t-shirts from the market.


Back then, even my Teochew-speaking nanny, who had no formal education, was able to say to me regularly when Singapore was still in the Malaysia Cup:


Sing ka pour ke meh wu xing giu bor? Ah si wu Kim Song, dia tiok yah eh.” (Translation: “Is Singapore playing tonight? Well, as long as Kim Song is in the team, we should win.”)


I kid you not.


So while I’ll be rooting for Jasper to wrest the No 1 jersey from Lewis (even though I don’t mind Lewis holding onto it for several more years because he is a really good keeper), I am well aware that it won’t beget a tidal wave of change in the ethnic make-up of the national squad.


You need a Quah Kim Song-esque character to do that, full of style, verve, character and most importantly, goals.


Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can fill those legendary boots. For now or for many years to come.


Yours in Sports


The Singapore Sports Fan

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