Sarpreet Singh makes Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich

On July 1st, 2019, Wellington Phoenix starlet Sarpreet Singh made the big European transfer he would’ve only ever dreamed of.

German giants Bayern Munich came calling and on Saturday, Singh made his official top tier debut for ‘Die Roten’ in their 6-1 win over Werder Bremen.

Singh was a late substitute for Philippe Coutinho, who scored a hattrick. Coutinho is most well-known for his tenure at Liverpool, where he made over 150 appearances.

Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern from arguably the biggest club in the world, Barcelona.

The mere fact that Singh, who played in a loss to NPL Victorian side Bentleigh Greens whilst at the Phoenix, replaced Coutinho is absolutely astonishing.

From the semi-professional grounds of Kingston Heath Soccer Complex to the 75,000 capacity Allianz Arena in Munich, Singh has come a very long way in record time.

And he still has plenty of time on his hands. At just 20 years of age, Singh has already accomplished so much, but still has plenty of potential to realise.

Following the abrupt sacking of Niko Kovac, Bayern have scored 25 goals from eight games, with a win/loss record of 6-2 in all competitions.

Hans-Dieter Flick, the interim head coach of Bayern, has allowed many of the club’s youth players opportunities in the first team following good runs of form in the third tier with the club’s reserves team.

Kovac, during his time as coach, took Singh along with the senior side in their pre-season tour.

Despite this amazing opportunity, Singh was expected to see out the season in the reserves.

But nine scoring involvements from 13 appearances has impressed Flick, giving him the nod for a senior debut.

Despite only being on the field for a mere ten minutes, Singh was lively and was able to win a corner. It’s not much, but it’s certainly enough of a platform for him to launch off.

Singh also created a little bit of history by stepping out onto Allianz Arena. He became the first Kiwi player to play in the Bundesliga since New Zealand footballing legend Wynton Rufer.

Funnily enough, Rufer spent the majority of his playing career at Werder Bremen, the same club Singh made his debut against at the weekend.

Sarpreet’s Bundesliga debut is another sign that the A-League, for all its criticism of bringing in too many marquees and older players, is doing a marvellous job at developing youngsters and nurturing them for the roads that lie ahead.

Over the years, we’ve seen many players struggle to forge successful careers outside of Australia and New Zealand, with many being forced to return to try and recapture their best form.

There have always been players that have been very solid players in lower European tiers, such as Carl Valeri who played in Serie B and C during his time in Italy.

But not many have been able to take Europe by the scruff of the neck and establish themselves as high-quality players who can make it alongside the ‘big boys’. Brighton pair Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan are two of the best we’ve seen in the last 5-10 years.

Robbie Kruse is another example of this. He was a superstar of the A-League prior to making the move to Fortuna Dusseldorf in Germany in 2011. He would proceed to jump from club to club whilst in Germany, struggling to establish himself as a regular.

21 appearances between 2013 and 2017 during his time at Bayer Leverkusen sums up Kruse’s fortunes whilst in Europe.

His best stint came at VFL Bochum, who are a second-tier side. Between 2017 and 2019, he made 42 appearances and was a constant member of their first team.

He then moved back to Australia to join the Melbourne Victory at the start of the current A-League campaign.

Perth Glory star Chris Ikonomidis is in a similar boat. Despite being seven years Kruse’s junior, Ikonomidis seems to be following in the Victory star’s footsteps ever so slightly.

He made the move to Italian giants Lazio as a teenager, which on paper, would be a dream move for any aspiring junior.

He was subsequently loaned out three times before moving permanently from Rome back to Australia, where he joined the Perth Glory.

Ikonomidis has plenty of time on his side and hopefully, we haven’t seen the best of him just yet and he can one day, return to the big leagues and make his mark.

The same can be said for Sarpreet Singh. He has a lot of work to do to become a first team regular in the coming years at Bayern. But his Bundesliga debut can hopefully be the catalyst for his development into becoming that player.

Avatar
Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

The NSW Government’s Level the Playing Field Program gives women’s football a necessary boost

Harnessing the popularity of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the NSW Government’s Level the Playing Field Program is investing $30 million into supporting 26 new women’s sports projects.

Since the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the amount of women participating in club football has increased by 17%.

This huge influx is a massive opportunity for Football NSW to support the growth in the women’s game with ambitious schemes.

The NSW Government website says the program investment will revive sports facilities by providing new or upgrading existing sports facilities, amenities, and sporting fields.

Funding will also support the provision of new and upgraded lighting that will enable more women and girls to train and compete in sport in a safe and inclusive environment.

The investments are said to be at least $200,000 and at most two million meaning these grants are only presented to large infrastructure or facility development.

All construction is planned to be started by September 2024 and completed by September 2026.

If they can’t match it, however, they can apply for financial hardship and outline why this is necessary for their case.

If they are non-government organisations, a financial contribution isn’t required – it is looked upon favourably if a partial contribution is presented.

Football received one of the largest portions of the grant with (34%) or nine million dollars’ worth being distributed to the footballing community.

Football NSW Clubs and Associations received a total of $5.3 million, representing 19% of the total program.

Below is a table showcasing some of the prospected developments.

Club Venue Project Amount
All Saints Hunters Hills FC Gladesville Reserve New Amenity Building $1,905,678
Illawarra Stingrays FC Lakelands Oval Field, Amenity and Lighting Upgrade $2,000,000
Southern Tablelands FA Cookbundoon Sporting Complex Lighting Upgrade $872,744

Football NSW’s HQ Valentine Park has also been successful in receiving $600,000 in funding for upgrades to two fields and the futsal stadium.

Football Australia had a crucial role in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and helped cultivate this increase in popularity for women’s sports and primarily football.

This program will build upon this upward trajectory, increasing the structure and capabilities of the women’s game at association levels.

These investments will not only attract women to the sport but are functional enough that can maintain the players and involvement.

From this base, there is a growing avenue for more investment and engagement in the women’s game from grassroots all the way up the pyramid.

This large investment is integral to the upholding of the 50/50 participation equality mission by the FA for 2026-2027.

Minister for Sport Steve Kamper summed up well how the program aims to support women’s sport.

“By transforming and expanding sports facilities across NSW we are enabling more women and girls to participate in sport,” he said via media release.

“But most importantly, we are providing safer, more comfortable and more inclusive facilities, breaking down the barriers that have traditionally prevented many women from participating in sport.”

It’s encouraging signs of the commitment to women’s football, not to mention the wider elevation of women’s sport as a whole.

These grants prove that the women’s game is not stopping anytime soon and is a constantly growing part of football and sport in Australia.

It is a massive step in the right direction and not an opportunity for a fan or shareholder to be missed.

For further information on the Level the Playing Field Program, visit: www.sport.nsw.gov.au/grants/level-the-playing-field-program

Football Queensland and Roar Football in the Community program to capitalise on growth

Football Queensland (FQ) have announced a partnership with A-League staple Brisbane Roar as the member federation continues to build towards their 2026 strategic growth plan.

The two organisations have combined to launch a community incentive, titled ‘Football Queensland and Roar Football in the Community’.

As a result of the collaboration, it is an Australian first – as no club across the country has experienced a feat  which is being exhibited in Queensland between the Roar and governing body.

This gound-breaking alliance has effectively reinforced the established relationship between the state and one of the country’s most renowned football clubs, drawing emphasis upon the strategy of building upon the ongoing development and support of football within Queensland.

Football Queensland and Roar Football in the Community will deliver a vast variety of grassroots football clinics, sessions, events and community engagement programs to young aspiring boy and girl participants.

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his assertiveness in FQ hitting the 2026 strategy plan, with the newly found partnership a step in the right direction.

“Combining our strong ties to the grassroots football community with Brisbane Roar’s connection to football fans across the state ensures we can implement best practice delivery methods to unite the game in Queensland,” he said via media release.

Brisbane Roar FC Chairman & CEO Kaz Patafta discussed his admiration towards the expansion of the Club’s reach in the new state wide opportunity.

“We’re delighted to expand Brisbane Roar FC’s reach throughout the Queensland football community as we continue working collaboratively with Football Queensland to pave the way for innovative and strategic opportunities for the game,” he added via press release.

This community program intends on introducing young boys and girls to the sport of football, in attempts to increase participation numbers.

It is a strict objective in which FQ are adamant in achieving, all in accordance to their 2024-2026 Development Strategy.

Additionally, the programs created are crafted for children across the state of Queensland, with a database featured on the community program website, allowing parents to navigate the closest programs within their respective area of the state.

Schools are also invited to become involved – find out more about Football in the Community here: https://footballqueensland.com.au/football-in-the-community/

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend