A little over one hundred soccer enthusiasts gathered in Singapore Saturday April 22, as the Danish Seamen’s Church held their yearly Five-a-Side tournament.
The tournament is a new-ish tradition, but people have taken to it quite quickly and 16 teams of seven people – five players and two subs – were ready to do battle for the title of five-a-side champions.
The crowd and players was a mix of roughly 50 percent locals and 50 percent Danes – with slightly more Danes present as some of the players had brought their families to cheer from the sidelines. But the main ‘goal’ of the tournament was to have a nice day, and that was comfortably accomplished.
“The weather was nice to us, people were in good spirits and we had a relaxed day mostly with fair play,” Danish priest and soccer player Hans Vestergaard explains.
“Well…come to think of it…the referee only had to raise his voice once when one player committed a particularly nasty foul.”
To help make the day more pleasant a Danish-owned Singapore restaurant Akvavit put up a small booth serving both wet and dry foods.
The teams were for most parts made up of employees from local firms employing Danes. The only thing needed to enrol a team was a single Danish player and among the participating Danish companies were Dantech, Viking and Maersk who assembled no less than three teams.
Dantech had beforehand given the tournament an extra edge by supplying four goals – not the ones scored – but the ones you have to score in. The goal post assemblies were donated to the church.
“And they are now stored waiting for next year’s tournament, but if someone has a use for them before then, they are available for loan/rent during the year,” Father Hans pointed out.
The church itself also participated with no less that two teams, due to people joining the tournament without a team and thus enrolled in the church teams. But despite the rule giving the church teams two points per goal scored, it wasn’t the church that won at the end of the day. The honours instead went to the local Danish Embassy.
After the tournament matches, the Akvavit booth was the centre of attention and a lot of players finished the day with a cold beer and a chat about next year’s strategy – for the five-a-side tournament will surely return with this level of enthusiasm.
“When we arranged it for the first time last year, we decided to make it a tradition, so we are definitely coming back next year,” says Father Hans.