Date : 1 June 2007
To promote friendship and fraternity, the Hwa Chong Institution, together with Greenridge Secondary School, Telok Kurau Secondary School, West Spring Secondary School and Zhenghua Secondary School, have organized a soccer tournament for their students.
They will play together in a series of matches under a round-robin format, culminating in the finals, when the Harmony Cup will be presented to the champions by Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs and President of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS). Each team is a mix of students from the Hwa Chong Institution and one other school. The schedule for the matches is as follows:
The idea of the competition was mooted at the start of the year at an informal meeting with some of the school principals and teachers. The games are a fun way to increase interaction among students of different backgrounds. The idea received a very warm welcome from the students of the five schools.
The preparations began early with Hwa Chong Institution’s four consortiums - Aphelion, ProEd, iSpark and Ortus - each partnering one school to form four formidable teams of young soccer stalwarts. With the support of their friends, parents and teachers, the young footballers, all drawn from the Secondary 2 cohort of their respective schools, are determined to showcase their talent and prowess as Singapore’s next generation of soccer stars.
Besides the footballers themselves, the organizers are encouraging other students to play key supporting roles as games officials, cheer-leaders, transport coordinators, sports reporters and photographers to carry the message of the Harmony Cup even further. All in all, about 100 students are directly involved in the competition.
The finals of the competition will be held on Friday, 13 July 2007 at 4.30pm at the Hwa Chong Institution at what will be the school’s colourful and exciting kickoff for this year’s Racial Harmony Day celebrations.
Harmony Cup - Day One 1st Match (6 July 2007)
The Harmony Cup kick-started today with a burst of overwhelming enthusiasm. Participating footballers from Hwachong, West Spring, Green Ridge, Telok Kurau, and Zhenghua gathered punctually at West Spring Secondary School to witness the beginning of this inaugural tournament.
The teams, comprised of students from the various consortia within hwachong each partnering students from the other four schools, excitedly collected their shared jerseys which denoted clearly the collaboration between schools.
The inaugural match of the Harmony Cup was between West Spring Aphelion (WSA) and Greenridge iSpark (GRI).
The team members were already closely bonded through training sessions conducted prior to the matches, and their camaraderie shone through right from the off. Every ball played was a seamless team effort which included every player on the field. The substitutes along the sidelines contributed equally, with their unending support and cheering.
The beginning of the match might have been rather dull and uninspiring, with both goalkeepers relatively undisturbed, but the deadlock was soon broken by GRI. This finally opened the floodgates to an incessant barrage that culminated in a 4 – 0 deficit which WSA found insurmountable. Nonetheless, the triumphant side celebrated together in victory, whereas for the opposing team, the burden of loss was divided equally upon every player’s shoulders, and the spirit of pure fun and enjoyment prevailed.
Ultimately, it was obvious how everyone had enjoyed themselves, as aptly phrased by WSA, “We weren’t thinking so much about all these higher concepts; that will come later.” His team mate chipped in, “For today, it was all fun and play!”
Harmony Cup - Day One 2nd Match (6 July 2007)
The second match was between Telok Kurau ProEd (TKP) and Zhenghua Ortus (ZHO).
The enthralled student spectators witnessed Telok Kurau ProEd triumph 5-1 over Zhenghua Ortus. The victors distinguished themselves almost straight away, punishing a momentary lapse in the ZHO defence. The defenders allowed a TKP striker to beat their offside trap to receive a well-placed through pass. Much to the elation of his team mates, the striker drifted past the hapless goalkeeper to net the ball for an early advantage.
Drawing first blood definitely bolstered TKP’s confidence, and they soon settled into a punishing rhythm against which ZHO found themselves constantly on the back foot. Similar to the first goal, TKP hungrily seized another chance granted by a wayward pass from the ZHO defence. Their striker latched onto the ball, taking a fleeting glance at the goal before unleashing his shot which ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal.
However, ZHO displayed an indomitable spirit despite the unflattering scoreline, demonstrating sheer grit to stay in the game. Their admirable efforts were finally rewarded when a shot from the edge of the box found its mark.
Jolted by this comeback, TKP picked up the pace once again, scoring two more goals in quick succession. They played a dangerous brand of football, never for a moment failing to entertain the awed spectators, and keeping up the pressure on ZHO. Not long before the final whistle sounded, TKP increased the scoreline one last time, with a well-timed volley finding the back of the net.
No matter the outcome of today’s matches, there remains much in store for all team. Today’s blend of grit and flair promises much more to come, and we will all just have to wait, and watch.
Harmony Cup - Day Three 1st Match (11 July 2007)
The first game was between West Spring Aphelion (WSA) and Zhenghua Ortus (ZHO).
The two teams entered the match as the bottom two in the table, but this did nothing to dampen their spirits. In terms of skill, they were evenly matched, and neither was willing to concede a point to the other. The ball never went deep into either half, darting back and forth around midfield. WSA earned a chance to snatch the first goal, but it was squandered by a mistake on their striker’s part.
However, this was made up for not too long after, with the WSA striker muscling his way past the ZHO defence, putting himself through with a straight route to the goal. The goalkeeper rushed forward with an intimidating challenge, but a simple flick was all it took to put the ball past him and into the net. The simplicity of the manoeuvre made it all the more infuriating to ZHO. They determinedly set their sights on the WSA goal at the far end of the field.
Forcing the WSA defence under a heavy barrage of shots, GRO seemed to have gained the upper hand despite the earlier setback. Their wingers worked wonders down the flanks, troubling the defenders to no end. It took more than that, however, to conjure a goal. A ZHO player feinted to the right, before dashing off to the left, dazzling the defence with his footwork and trickery, before setting his team mate up with a clear shot at goal. The player did not fail to hit the mark, and achieved it with much flair besides. The ball looped agonisingly over the goalkeeper’s reach, before burying itself in the far corner of the goal.
After half-time, both teams desperately sought the decisive breakthrough that might win the match for them. Caught in a deadlock, neither was willing to concede the advantage and the game pressed on. WSA failed to capitalise on various chances, their efforts either hitting the woodwork or narrowly grazing by. Nonetheless, they heaped the pressure on ZHO, and were rewarded towards the end of the match when they snatched a second goal. The team celebrated joyously, while the downcast players of ZHO despaired at their careless defending.
The invaluable victory rewarded WSA with three points, putting them ahead of ZHO on the league standings. Despite this, they will still be facing one another in the match to settle third and fourth placing. It will be a chance for ZHO to salvage their pride, and WSA will be seeking to maintain their victorious streak. In any case, it will certainly be a match for the rest of us to enjoy.
Harmony Cup Finals (13 July 2007)
Click here for more details and pictures from the finals on 13 July 2007