In 2018, Singapore beat heavy favourites Thailand 4-1 to win the first Women’s Asia-Oceania Floorball Cup. In the same year, they were named Team of the Year (Team Sport) at the Singapore Sports Awards 2018. In this issue, we had the opportunity to talk to some members of the Singapore Women’s Floorball National Team to understand how the game is played and what led to the team’s success. At the same time, we will also find out more about their sporting journey on a personal level.
Floorball is one of the fastest growing sports across the world, making waves in the local sports scene since 1994. Currently, there are over 15,000 floorball players in Singapore with approximately 200 schools and 100 local clubs actively involved. It’s an intense sport that requires a high level of agility, precision as well as teamwork. The indoor team sport is professionally played by a goalkeeper, two defenders, a centre and two attackers on each side with an objective to score more goals than the opposing team within a set of amount of time. A competitive floorball game is officially played over three periods lasting 20 minutes each. In 1999, Singapore sent its first national women’s team to compete in the Women’s World Floorball Championship in Sweden, and has since been participating competitively in the international arena.
The ability to recognise individual capabilities to develop competency and professionalism is essential to foster an environment of trust and mutual respect. Let us take a peek into the 20-members team squad and see what goes behind the scenes as they continue in their quest to move floorball up the rungs.
Debbie Poh (Number 39) is the defender in the team. She tries to close down space leaving fewer options for the attackers, intercepts passes and nicks a ball if it is unprotected. In her sporting journey spanning 15 years, she has played many positions including forward, centre and defense therefore making her the most experienced player on the team. Her passion for floorball also extended into her career. She coaches floorball in local primary and secondary schools. Even though this means spending less time with her family, she enjoys doing what she does best – floorball.
Lina Chu (Number 24), is the team’s forward as well an Associate at Nexia TS. Her main role is keeping the ball and opening up possibilities to shoot on goal. “I’ve played floorball in a club for many years until one day my dad challenged me to play the sport at a more competitive level so when the opportunity arose, I tried out for the national team and made it!” said Lina. She has played floorball for a total of 9 years, and was recently named as the ‘Most Valuable Player’ at the World Floorball Championship Qualifier in February 2019.
Sharmane Ng (Number 9), also plays the forward position. As an attacker, she tries to open up space for more options to play, plays safe passes, runs into a position where she can receive the ball, and scores a goal. She first interacted with the sport when she was in Temasek Junior College. She eventually joined her school’s floorball team with her coach’s advice. Despite being the newest member of the national team, Sharmane is popularly known as “the boss” for her eloquence among her teammates.
Being on the Singapore Women’s Floorball National Team is no easy feat. It takes hard work, passion and endurance. The team trains three to five times a week at Our Tampines Hub. Training starts at, “7pm and ends at 12am after supper,” says Debbie. Despite this, it does not deter other players who work, for instance Lina, has to report to work the next day at 8.30am. She has to make up for gym training on her on weekends. A typical week for the national floorball team is thus very pack. What keeps them going when floorball gets tough? Passion.
Qualities that stand out the most in the national team are – camaraderie and teamwork. Debbie says that, “each player is trained to be versatile and therefore the players are able to team up with anyone to achieve the same objective. For example, during training, the coach may assign people to play in a line, however during the actual competition, they may not necessarily play in the same line, in another words, with the same people.”
The women’s team trusts and counts on their coach to lead them to success. During competition, their coach will stand on the sidelines to observe how the game is being played and the moves that the opponents are taking. The players have to actively listen to their coach so that they can “react dynamically and change their gameplay,” says Sharmane. For example, when the opponent is playing a dice-5 position, and their opponents are cutting their passes, their coach will tell them to change the positions that they should be playing or to step up more.
Taking into consideration that teamwork is so important, we asked them how they overcome conflicts in the team. Sharmane emphasizes on “respect” and explained further that, “instead of shouting at the other person, [they] go to the person and resolve the issue directly.”
Norhayati Abdul Rahman (Yati), 33 years old, is the trainer for the national team. As the trainer, she not only has to ensure that the players attend trainings, but also to understand the physiological and physical well-being of each player.
“It is important that they have full function of movements; their arms should be able to make full circles and their muscles should not be tight,” shared Yati. For players who are recovering from injuries, she designs a separate program to help them rehabilitate and train safely.
Last but not least, we have Ben Ow, 29 years old, the Team’s manager. As a team manager, Ben’s role is to ensure that the players have everything they need for their trainings and competitions. His job includes ensuring that the courts are booked for training as well as preparing isotonic drinks and making sure sports tapes are available to every player. Ben shares that, “being a good team manager means being good with small details.” When the team goes for competition overseas, he has to ensure that the women’s jerseys are printed and shipped over [on time]. “This means getting the correct sizes and jersey numbers for everyone”, says Ben.
Perseverance is a catalyst for achieving success as the journey is not easy to navigate if without sheer hard work, drive and passion. Reaping the benefits, the national team has secured a spot at the Dec 7-15 Women’s World Floorball Championship in Neuchatel, Switzerland, after its landslide victory of 10:4 against New Zealand at the qualifying games.
The exemplary qualities of close-knit camaraderie and the deep bonds its players had forged with one another to achieve success is commendable. At a corporate level, Nexia TS instils similar core values in its organisation such as Excellence, Integrity and Concern & Respect for Others – important values that play significant roles in shaping its organisational culture to build a unique working environment of respect and trust. The firm is proud to play a part in the team’s journey to success and wishes them all the best in their next endeavour to fly the Singapore’s flag high.
Nexia TS is a steadfast sponsor of the Women’s National Floorball Team since 2017.