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The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) held the second Women’s Football Conference at Jalan Besar Stadium last Sunday (12 March) to celebrate the annual Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Football Day and International Women’s Day. The recent edition of the conference was split into two different events running concurrently – two workshops and a football fiesta across multiple age groups.


Over 40 participants, which saw a mix of Lionesses, coaches, players from both Women’s Premier League (WPL) and Women’s National League (WNL) clubs, attended the workshops held at the Seminar Room. The first session of the workshop, titled “Strategic and Financial Planning,” was hosted by Mr. James Walton, Sports Business Group Leader and Clients & Markets Leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia. Mr. Walton brought forth his wealth of experience in sports business and shared how to create a sustainable future for women’s and girls’ football. Topics discussed included building brand identities and learning marketing strategies.

Next up, FIFA Technical expert Karl Dodd shared about “Unlocking the Female Athlete’s Potential” in the second and last workshop of the day. The former Australian professional footballer discussed training considerations coaches and fitness trainers should take note to help individualize and optimize training sessions for female footballers.

Menstrual Cycles and Female Athletes

This topic particularly resonated with Lioness Umairah Hamdan. “I found the topic Mr. Dodd shared on the impact of menstrual cycles on female athletes truly relevant. Menstrual cycles affect our energy levels, which results in lower performance. As such, having training sessions catered to our cycles help ensure that we can still give our best during practice,” Hamdan said.

Head Coach of Balestier Khalsa’s Women’s Team Ratna Suffian also emphasized the importance of discussing menstrual cycles during training sessions. “With open communication between players and coaches, we can develop and plan our training sessions even better, according to the players’ energy and capabilities,” Suffian said.

Mr. Dodd stressed the importance of catering to the female athlete to better support their growth and performance in football. “For years, the scientific understanding of the female athlete has been overlooked. There is a need to invest more in the study and development of female athletes. Female footballers have specific needs that differ from their male counterparts, and wholly copying generalised training sessions (i.e. men’s) will only do more harm than good – not only to their performance but also their overall well-being and health,” Dodd said.

Football Fiesta

Over at the field, more than 100 participants took part in friendly football matches across different categories – U12, U17, and Women’s Open. The event also saw new WPL teams – Tampines Rovers, Geylang International, and Police Sports Association – making their first appearances at the pitch.

The day ended with a prize presentation for the winners, and both Mr. Walton and Mr. Dodd were presented with a personalized Singapore team jersey as a token of appreciation.

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