Elected President of the Singaporean Football Association on 1 April, Zainudin Nordin was in Zurich on his first official visit to FIFA headquarters on Monday. Mr Nordin, who is also Mayor of Central Singapore District and a member of the Singaporean Parliament, discussed the development of Asian football with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter before giving an interview to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Mr Nordin, what is the purpose of your visit to FIFA?
Zainudin Nordin: I'm passing through Europe and, as I was elected on 1 April, I came to introduce myself to FIFA. I also wanted to thank President Blatter for the help FIFA has given in developing the game in Singapore over the years. We talked about football in Singapore and then discussed the game in Asia and the AFC at more length.
What are your objectives as the President of the Singaporean FA?
We have been working towards the development of football in Singapore for many years and or aim now is to take it up to the next level. Our development work has started to pay off. We reached the third qualifying round for the 2010 FIFA World Cup for the very first time. We'd never got past the first round before. We beat some good teams on the way and we are delighted with the progress we made.
What are your next objectives?
We believe in making gradual progress. Ten years ago our aim was to improve our status in southeast Asia. We've done that by winning the ASEAN Cup (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) three times and now we are among the top 20 Asian teams. Our next goal is to shine in Asia and become one of the continent's top 10 sides.
What about other areas of the game?
It isn't just the full national team that's improving. Our U-16 side qualified for the Asian Youth Cup, the U-23s won the bronze medal at the ASEAN Games, and our club Armed Forces is taking part in the AFC Champions League. Our development programmes will soon be paying off.
Next year you will also be hosting the first Youth Olympic Games.
And we are so pleased about it. Football will have an important part to play in the Games. We're also playing in the Asian Youth Games this year and we are getting a huge amount of registration applications from football teams.