VJC football boys attain championship after 7 years
VJC supporters, clad in their signature yellow Fired-Up shirts packed into Jalan Besar Stadium on 14 May 2018, eagerly awaiting the kick-off of the Singapore Schools National ‘A’ Division Boys’ football final. The supporters were bustling with a tangible excitement; all were well aware that this would be VJC’s last year to clinch the championship from their long- time rival MJC before they underwent the JC merger.
It took months of hard work for them to reach this point. Blood, sweat and tears were shed as they trained up to 4 times a week – just to reach this point. Saying that this match was important would be an understatement. Faced with competitors from MJC, our football boys walked onto the pitch, ready for #Redemption2018.
The players formed two neat lines on the field. The juxtaposition of the blue and yellow jerseys stood out against the vast green playing field. As cliche as it sounds, history was about to be made today.
The match started amidst roars of passionate cheers as both schools made sure the players could feel their support. For VJC, the crowd was led by the Student’s Council to serve up an impressive repertoire of cheers- ranging from “Fie Fy Fo Fum” to spontaneous shouts of “Yo VJC!” The stadium swelled with exuberance as sportsmanship and school pride burst forth from each and every supporter.
Needless to say, it was a tough fight. At full time, the score was still 0-0, and it seemed like neither could break the deadlock. It was not hard to see why MJC had held the championship for the last 7 years. Never one to give up a fight, the football boys rallied their strength and pushed on. Surprisingly, as the match went on, the passion and desire to win did not dwindle but grew instead. Both on the field and in the stands, VJC was living up to its legendary school spirit. One did not need to be from VJC to see the importance of this event, it was apparent in the hoarse voices strained from cheering. The momentous occasion could also be glimpsed from the stern look of focus etched onto each player’s face as every sprint, kick and header took on a new level of ferocity.
With a free kick during the injury time, VJC’s centre back, Marcus Tang, volleyed the ball past MJC’s goalkeeper, scoring the winning goal for VJC. The indisputable highlight of the match, this goal cemented VJC’s spot at the pinnacle of the intercollegiate football arena, a resounding affirmation of our boys’ hard work as well as our touted sporting excellence.
However, in a shocking twist of events, MJC sent the ball hurtling into the goal. In what seemed like a school of piranha diving in for the kill, the goal was swarmed with a disorientating mix of blue and yellow. Adding on to the surprise, as MJ players were celebrating, the goal was nullified. It was a dramatic moment when the scoreboard flickered, changing the score from 1-1 to 1-0. While spectators were confounded by the sudden alteration, Joshua Ho from 18S33 later explained it was due to MJ players pushing the goalie by accident in the heat of action that led to the goal being disqualified. Needless to say, this ensured that VJC would break through MJC’s formidable winning streak of 7 years.
“We Came, We Cheered, We Conquered.” Victorians truly embodied this message, as they leapt to their feet, cheering for the football boys who had brought home victory. “VJ Boleh” broke out among the spectators, pulling the whole school into a show of support for our football boys. At that moment in time, every Victorian felt connected one way or another. A sense of pride was surging through our bodies as we swayed in unison to the thrum of the cheer. Tears were shed amongst both teams for vastly different reasons, yet one thing in common was the passion for football that manifested in those droplets running down their faces.
In a display of sportsmanship that moved us all, our football boys approached the footballers from MJC that lay distraught on the field. Offering words of consolation while extending a helping hand, the football boys once again proved to be the pride of VJC through their unparalleled sportsmanship. It was a heartwarming sight to see two competitors who were going at each other’s throats moments before locked arm in arm, bonding over an unspoken understanding.
It would not be fair to ignore the wonderful fight MJC put against us. Thank you MJC, for your spirited efforts that made this match truly stand out as the epitome of sport.
While the game was a spectacle for the audience, you could tell how stressed the boys’ coach Mr Tan Yew Hwee was throughout the game. When we asked him how he felt after the game, he was just “relieved”. But when the goal went in, Mr Tan admitted that he “came close” to tears, but “after that I had to watch out for the rest of the game” (classic Mr Tan, even though there was only a minute or two left to extra time). Despite the victory, Mr Tan stressed, “I hope the next few years the boys will still continue to win but not at all cost, and with the right attitude.”
The cutest part of the game was probably the group of “VJC Fanclub” members which consisted of alumni and proud parents of the football team. We managed to interview Mr Loke Swee Leong, ex-boy and parent of Jeremy Loke (Left-back, #20) who gave us fascinating insights into how the parents prepared for the big game, which was a “dream come true”.
“The parents are very supportive. Some parents have been following each and every game. But the build-up was over the weekend. We started to prepare the T-shirts (“VJC Fanclub”) and even considered bringing our own drums until we found out that the students were bringing it.”
As for how he feels as a parent on how the team has to juggle football and their studies, Mr Loke said “the boys are old enough and mature enough to manage so we’ll just leave it to them as parents. They will manage, because the school is also monitoring them” Chuckling, he added “I trust the school more than I trust myself”.
Looking back at the game, it is clear that the fight was a hard one, but a worthwhile one. VJ football boys have indeed kept the Victorian flag unfurled, and we, as a school, can’t wait to support them in the future.
Sean Wang, 18S33
Ma Xueqing, 18A11
Nikhita Nair, 18S34
Chan Siew Min, 17S63