SINGAPORE — There could be a rich vein of football talents that have yet been tapped by Singapore football authorities – and the first of such talents could be Perry Ng.
The 27-year-old is a British citizen, and plays right-back for Cardiff City in the English Championship – one division below the English Premier League. He was named the Welsh club’s Player of the Season for 2022/23.
And his late paternal grandfather, James, was a Singaporean citizen who left to settle in Liverpool. That makes Ng eligible under FIFA rules to represent the Singapore national football team as a heritage athlete.
Heritage athletes are those with ancestral connections to a country, and countries like the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand have used them to recruit sporting talents to represent their national squads in sports such as basketball, football and rugby.
Ng – who still maintains ties with his extended family in Singapore – told The Straits Times that he is keen to play for the Lions.
However, he cannot do so for now, as he is not yet eligible for a Singapore passport – Singapore’s citizenship rules state that qualifying for a passport by descent is applicable only to individuals with at least one parent who is born in Singapore.
To further complicate matters, as Singapore does not allow its citizens to hold dual citizenships, Ng will have to give up his British passport – although recent rule changes in the UK could mean that Ng can still be eligible to play for Cardiff without complicating work-permit matters.
Ng is nonetheless in talks with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), as they seek a resolution to this situation.
No heritage athlete being given the nod for Singapore yet
Singapore sports has yet to see a heritage athlete being given the nod to represent the city-state. It has previously recruited and naturalised athletes under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme for sports such as badminton, football and table tennis. These athletes are not born here, nor do they have any parental or ancestral links.
Besides Ng, there could be other footballers eligible to represent Singapore as heritage athletes.
Sunderland midfielder Luke O’Nien, 28, qualifies via his late Singaporean grandfather Lim Cheng Siong, the younger brother of the late Cabinet minister Lim Kim San. Meanwhile, Austria Wien II winger Daniel Au Yeong, 20, who has represented Austria at youth level, is also eligible through his father, former Singapore captain Au-yeong Pak Kuan.
Should Singapore start considering these footballers to represent the country and lift the sport to greater heights? Watch the latest “Footballing Weekly” podcast show on Yahoo Southeast Asia, as co-hosts Neil Humphreys and Chia Han Keong discuss the topic with guest Daryl Spykerman.
For more football news, visit our Football page on Yahoo!
published 2007-12-16 08:26:29