Singapore, 20 November 2018 – Four Singaporean youth footballers received the opportunity of a lifetime this November, traveling to Japan for a training stint and cultural exchange with Matsumoto Yamaga Football Club in Matsumoto, Japan from 12 to 18 November 2018. Made possible by Epson Singapore, this seven-day trip is one of Epson’s key annual milestones and is part of the company’s continuous efforts to contribute towards sports and youth development in Singapore. In this fourth training stint, the initiative focused on providing opportunities to learn additional football skills and techniques, while also immersing them into a new cultural, through the introduction of a homestay experience.
The four boys who participated in the training stint were Muhamad Irfan Bin Muhamad Ariff, Muhammad Izzan Nabil Bin Zalani, Muhammad Danish Haziq Bin Mohammad Hanafi, and Mohamed Ilhan Bin Mohamed Noor. They were selected based on their individual footballing performance and technique, their tactical understanding of the game, as well as whether they possess the qualities, attributes and discipline of a football player both on and off the field.
The boys were assessed and hand-picked via football activities they participated in this year. Two of the boys – Muhamad Irfan Bin Muhamad Ariff and Muhammad Izzan Nabil Bin Zalani – were selected as part of the #EXPECTMORE campaign by Epson Singapore, where they were named the two Most Valuable Players at Epson Youth Challenge 2018, a youth football tournament held in partnership with Geylang International Football Club (GIFC) and in support of GetActive! Singapore and Singapore Football Festival. Both Muhammad Danish Haziq Bin Mohammad Hanafi and Mohamed Ilhan Bin Mohamed Noor were shortlisted by GIFC from their U16 Centre of Excellence (COE) team for their technical prowess and discipline, and later went through an interview process with Epson before being hand-picked for this opportunity.
The training took place at the Karigane Soccer Field in Matsumoto, where the four players participated in drills and practice matches with Matsumoto Yamaga Football Club.
The boys mid-training with Matsumoto Yamaga Football Club coach and former Singapore international Noor Ali
Unlike past training stints in Japan, the boys were able to enjoy another facet of Japanese culture with an authentic Japanese homestay experience. In addition, they also took part as volunteers in a travelling soccer clinic with Matsumoto City KIRI Kindergarten. To provide a broader cultural experience, Epson also took the boys on sightseeing trips to Suwa Lake and Matsumoto Castle, one of five castles designated as 'National Treasures of Japan'.
Ms. Tan May Lin, Director – Sales, Marketing and Customer Service of Epson Sales division, Epson Singapore said “For many years, Epson has shown our continued commitment to sports and youth development in Singapore, and we are delighted to offer the boys the chance to pursue and further develop their footballing passion. This year, we have added a new component to the trip – the introduction of a Japanese homestay experience. This homestay aims to allow the boys to make new connections and experience Japan’s way of life in a truly authentic way. We hope that the boys learned a great deal, and that they take these learnings with them as they pursue their footballing dreams.”
Muhamad Irfan Bin Muhamad Ariff with his host family during dinner as part of the cultural homestay experience
The four Singaporean boys also acted as official flag bearers for the opening of the match between Matsumoto Yamaga FC and Tokushima Vortis at Alwin Stadium on 17 November. The match day experience was Singapore-themed as part of the celebrations for “Singapore Day” and in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board. The boys took part as volunteers for this activity and assisted in distributing flyers around the stadium for the Singapore-themed food and souvenir booth.
Muhamad Irfan Bin Muhamad Ariff, one of the Epson Youth Challenge MVPs, said, “This training stint has all been worth it. As a once in a lifetime experience, and a rare opportunity to train overseas, I have gained so much from the learning and guidance here in Japan. From the homestay experience with my host family to the enriching and motivational trainings with the Matsumoto Yamaga FC players and coach, this stint has inspired me to be a better sportsman and I look forward to sharing the knowledge I have gained with my peers in Singapore.”
Ben Teng, GIFC Chairman said, “The partnership with Matsumoto Yamaga has brought about many fantastic opportunities for all parties and the training and cultural exchange is a prime example of the strength of our relationship with Epson. We continue to be grateful for opportunities such as these and we look forward to new and exciting collaborations in the future.”
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, watches and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 81,000 employees in 85 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.
About Epson Singapore
Since 1982, Epson has developed a strong presence across major markets in Southeast Asia and South Asia. Led by the regional headquarters Epson Singapore, Epson’s business in Southeast Asia spans an extensive network of 11 countries with a comprehensive infrastructure of close to 500 service outlets, 7 Epson solution centres and 7 manufacturing facilities.