firstxi(Channel 5)

Text: Shah Salimat
Photos: Channel 5

Bishan Stadium was the place to be for aspiring footballers wanting to make it big. Trials for football reality show First XI were held there on Feb 4 and 5, to a turnout more than 1,400 strong.

Hopefuls came with their friends and family in tow as they proved their mettle in dribbling, passing, shooting and performing a shuttle run bleep test. After two days of trials, only 50 players were selected to be part of the televised show, which will premiere on March 14 at 8pm on Channel 5.

Coaches Steve McMahon and R Sasikumar spoke to xinmsn of the high level of talent they have seen on the field. "I think they got a rude shock on how we're measuring their fitness, especially in the bleep test. We saw some shockers but overall, I thought we saw some very good players," said Sasikumar.

Gurmit Singh and Jean Danker will host the show. Gurmit will be bringing his mentoring experience from a previous reality show over to First XI. He explains: "If the boys have seen Singapore Idol, they would probably know that I play the brotherly role. If there's someone they want to speak to, I'm always there for them. I hope they all have good attitudes and work together as a team."

The CEO of the S.League, Mr Lim Chin, is confident that the show will boost football interest in Singapore. "It has always been there because every week, you find people playing their hearts out in football pitches and futsal courts. This is a good avenue to play at a higher level and an example of how important football is to Singapore," said Mr Lim.

Over three months, the contestants will outdo each other in challenges and matches, including a training stint at Perth. Australia. The weakest will be eliminated until 16 players remain and will play in a 'live' televised final match against a professional team yet to be announced.

Check out the photos from the trials in our photo gallery!

Log on to the First XI microsite for details on the show.