After 13 days of football in Singapore, the inaugural Youth Olympic Football Tournament drew to a close, with Chile and Bolivia crowned the first-time winners in the respective girls’ and boys’ competitions. While the event captured the world’s attention, it was the hard work of the players - both on and off the pitch - that made the competition a success. Join* FIFA.com* as we look back at ten of the tournament’s most memorable moments.
1. Fastest goal
Hosts Singapore could not have gotten off to a better start as Ammirul Mazlan, with his first touch of the ball, opened the scoring inside a minute of the first whistle of their opening game. His opener paved the way to a 3-1 win over Zimbabwe and was the tournament’s fastest goal.
2. Top scorer
Bolivia striker Rodrigo Mejido ran riot against Haiti, scoring four times and providing three assists as the South Americans produced the tournament’s biggest win, a 9-0 drubbing. Mejido went on to strike twice more to top the scoring chart with six goals. “I am proud to help my side win the gold medal,” he told FIFA.com. “It means we can always realise our dream as long as we work hard and continue to improve.”
3. Haiti comeback
Despite that disastrous defeat to the Bolivians, a resilient Haiti earned a great deal of respect by coming from behind to defeat Vanuatu 2-1 before dispatching hosts Singapore 2-0 to reach the final. “Winning the Olympic silver provides us with extra motivation to continue our rebuilding,” said Haiti captain Daniel Gedeon. “We will keep this momentum to grow even more.”
Arriving in Singapore nursing a slight injury, Luis Banegas proved the tournament's most effective player off the bench. After being sent on when his side were reduced to ten men in the final against Haiti, the live-wire striker twice hit the target to steer Bolivia to a 5-0 win. “My idol is Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Barcelona,” he told FIFA.com. “I want to move to a good European club like Barcelona just like him.”
5. Twin threat
Vanuatu had the Coulon twins to thank as they rounded off their campaign with a 2-0 win against Zimbabwe. Raoul pulled the strings at the back while his brother Michel had a hand in their two goals at the other end of the pitch.
6. Kadir’s tears
With his boys celebrating after stepping off the podium with their bronze medals, Singapore coach Kadir Yahaya shed tears when he spoke to FIFA.com, “the players overcame big pressure to win the game and at least we did something for our country.”
7. Weeping stars
Turkey midfielder Hilal Baskol was found weeping violently after her team conceded a late goal deep in stoppage time in a 3-2 loss to Chile. Also shedding tears was the girls’ tournament’s joint top scorer Judit Ndong, who was left lamenting a penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in the final.
8. Set-piece specialists
Baskol proved herself the set-piece specialist of the girls’ tournament, with all three of her goals coming from free-kicks. Chile’s Romina Orellana also showcased her skill from dead ball situations in the final against Equatorial Guinea, blasting a free-kick home before converting the match and tournament winning spot-kick.
9. Brave Lightfoot
Having suffered a serious cut on his head in the third-place match against Montenegro, Singapore captain Jeffrey Lightfoot, who was also one of the torch-bearers at the Opening Ceremony, received some minor treatment at hospital before heading back to the pitch for the award ceremony. “I must come back here because this is a chance of a life time,” he told FIFA.com. “From here we should continue to develop and become a real power.”
10. Living up to promise
The only coach that had openly stated an ambition for gold prior to the tournament, Bolivia’s Douglas Cuenca lived up to his promise by winning the title with four straight wins. “Winning the final means more than just the gold medal for us,” he told FIFA.com. “For the players, the success may open a door to a bright future and our people should be proud of the team’s success in this tournament.”