The Young Lions project has failed.
The Young Lions FC project, which was started in 2003 to have the players eligible for the Southeast Asian Games play together and prepare better, has been an abject failure.
When it was first announced, the idea was to have the team play together in view of doing well at the SEA Games level.
Well, the fact remains that since 2003, the Young Lions have failed to make the finals at the SEA Games level even once.
What’s worse, the team has also failed to make it out of the group stages in 2003, 2005, 2011, 2015, 2017 and now 2019.
With statistical data to boot, what’s the continued justification of having the Young Lions FC continue playing in the Singapore Premier League?
Shouldn’t these resources be allocated back to the clubs so that they can develop these players?
Would players get better competition and learnings while playing with foreign players and be noticed while they play for teams represented in Asian competitions?
In addition to the failure at SEA Games level, the Young Lions have also been performing abysmally in the Singapore league.
Apart from two third placed finishes and a fifth place between the years 2003 to 2006, the team has been near the bottom or at the bottom for all other remaining years.
How has this affected the psychology of the team?
In post-match comments made after the defeat to Vietnam, coach Fandi Ahmad said that the team will have to “work harder” for the next campaign.
“We’ve got to work harder for the next campaign, which some of them (current team) will still be eligible for.
“I hope some of these boys will (go on to) make it to the (senior) national team,” he said.
Actually, what the Football Association of Singapore needs to do is to have a thorough review of its youth policies, including the Young Lions project.
There is a need to stop doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting better results.
Photo: FAS, SNOC / Weixiang Lim