Singapore’s men’s cricket team picked up their second Southeast Asian Games gold medal and then took the opportunity to highlight a major problem the sport has been having in Singapore – the lack of playing and training spaces in Singapore.
The team’s captain Rezza Gaznavi and team-mate Amjad Mahboob shared their frustrations with The Straits Times after clinching the gold medal, their second at the SEA Games since grabbing the Twenty20 gold at the 2017 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
One out of 10, was how the team rated their preparations for the Cambodia SEA Games.
Captain Rezza (who was not part of the eight-team squad) told The Straits Times, “It was not easy at all.
“These guys won gold against all odds,” he told The Straits Times.
Amjad Mahboob, a Pakistani-born Singaporean, added that he hoped the win can help highlight the sport’s issues.
“We have a big problem.
“Currently we train twice to thrice a week on a poor pitch at a shared facility.”
Traveling by bus to Johor for training and training at a poorly maintained Indian Association grounds, were among the grouses shared by the cricketers.
The way I can describe where we train is to imagine Michael Jackson being asked to moonwalk on a rubber stage,” quipped Rezza.
“He won’t be able to glide.”
Singapore Cricket Association president Mahmood Gaznavi also added that the national team did not have a training ground for seven months since August 2022 and had access to training facilities from about a month to the SEA Games.
The story of Singapore’s cricketers needing a home was also highlighted in a Tabla story back in 2021.
In January 2016, the SCA had to look for a new home after their lease at the Kallang grounds was not renewed.
The grounds were then used for Sport Singapore’s ActiveSG football academies.
“Our competitors have caught up and surpassed Singapore,” said Gaznavi.
“Our world ranking has declined, and we expect challenging years ahead as we have limited facilities.
“This gold came with minimal preparation and intense challenges.”
Gaznavi added that the sport of cricket in Singapore needs a “dedicated cricket facility badly” and it will have to come soon so the sport can also “accommodate foreign teams and offer top-quality cricket for spectators.”
“We really hope and pray things change, otherwise it is a sinking ship,” said Rezza.
PHOTOS: SPORT SINGAPORE