Ex-pro footballer among 8 teacher-coaches given awards, Latest School Sports News - The New Paper
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Ex-pro footballer among 8 teacher-coaches given awards

As a physical education lecturer and women's football coach at ITE College East, Ratna Suffian believes strongly in using sport as a teaching tool.

On realising that he could not accommodate more players, he decided to set up a second team to offer more playing chances.

A former professional footballer with stints at S-League clubs Home United and Balestier Khalsa, Ratna said: "Women's football is a growing sport. We have more and more players coming up. At school level, it's been increasing, so I try to give everyone an equal chance."

He also coaches the combined ITE team who compete in tournaments like the Polytechnic-ITE Games.

"If they're not good enough at the moment, at least there's some place to develop themselves," said Ratna, 42. "It's a pathway for some of the girls.

"Some whom I've coached at ITE before, (they) get better and eventually get selected for the Under-19 or national team, so good to see some progression."

His efforts were recognised as one of eight recipients of the Outstanding Teacher-Coach Award (OTCA) given out by the Singapore Physical Education Association yesterday. It recognises the contributions teacher-coaches have made in their respective sports.

The other recipients are Chua Kian Seng (Xingnan Primary), Sanjay Radakrishna (Northbrooks Secondary), Chong Zhe Bin (Raffles Institution), Hariharan Subramaniam (Dunman Secondary), Shawn Ang (Millennia Institute), Tan Yee Weal (Hwa Chong Institution) and Don Zhang (Yuying Secondary).

Zhang was one of three teachers who helped set up Yuying's Freestylers futsal programme as part of the Ministry of Education's Gear-Up after-school scheme for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Two other teachers - Rodney Yeo (Northlight School) and Siah Kai Ming (ITE College West) - were given the Outstanding Physical Education Teacher Award.