Deepanraj Ganesan was 12 years old when he had goosebumps witnessing the excitement of the Lions XII scoring their first goal against Kelantan in a sold-out Jalan Besar Stadium during the Singaporean team’s first foray into the Malaysian League. It was the moment he fell in love with local football.
14 years later, the former RP student is no longer a spectator as he gets up close and personal with Singapore’s football stars and coaches in his podcast, The Final Whistle (TFW) that talks about life, the Beautiful Game, and everything in between.
Since The Final Whistle’s launch in February, it has taken the Singapore and Southeast Asian football scene by storm, recently being named the No. 1 Spotify sports podcast show in Singapore. The 60-minute football show gives a peek into the personality and lives of local football stars and coaches.
Mad About Football
The Final Whistle was built from Deepan’s passion for football. He wanted to create a platform for local footballers to be heard and shared.
A third-year at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Deepan started the podcast with Mohamed Khabir, his co-host, and Nazhan Achmad, their technician for TFW. The three met in a group chat on Whatsapp and within two weeks, the podcast up and running, recording in The Hive Studios in Kallang.
“Podcast was the way to go, I mean there was no one having conversations, no one giving (local) footballers a platform to be heard. And if no ones doing that you have to be the one to step up. And all this desire was born out of passion.” – Deepan on podcasting and his passion for football.Deepanraj Ganesan
Through TFW, Deepan interviews numerous local stars and coaches. His favourite guest was national legend Fandi Ahmad. For a national icon to accept his invitation to his podcast and express his hopes for the podcast, was a dream come true. Deepan also reminisces the Noh Alam Shah episode, “He’s a controversial figure and to see him speak honestly about his life and own up to his mistakes was really memorable to me.”
Starting His Podcast
Before podcasting, Deepan started humbly as a sports desk intern at The Straits Times. From there, he interviewed world-renowned football stars such as former Manchester United striker Andy Cole and Bulgarian all-time leading goal scorer Dimitar Berbatov.
Deepan, however, was not content. He said, “The thing is, only 10 to 20 percent of a 45-minute conversation makes it (into an article). I think the whole conversation is wasted because only I get the experience of the conversation.” His need to give his audience a full-fledged experience with football personalities inspired The Final Whistle.
Experience in RP
Deepan’s time at RP, where he studied Mass Communication at the School of Management and Communication from 2013-2016, played a huge role in his calling. He credited lecturers, Ms Shahida Ariff and Ms Crispina Robert, for their encouragement and support that pushed him to apply for an internship at The Straits Times,a turning point in his life.
Ms Robert, who left RP to take on a podcasting role at MediaCorp, was Deepan’s role model to start podcasting. “I realised that she was always learning,” he said. “Even though she was a recognised lecturer at RP, she still went to the US to learn about podcasting.”
As Deepan charts his own course with his podcast, it’s his turn to inspire others, the way his lecturers did to him.
“If I can do my part to use football to make people’s day through my podcast, I’m really playing a positive role in their lives. It’s what keeps me going.”
As a local football fan, he wants his podcast to give local football the awareness it deserves, as well as tap on the unifying quality of the world’s most popular sport.
“Football has this power to bring people together. And I’ve always wanted to do that – to have conversations and create content that people from all walks of life can listen to and enjoy.”