The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) blamed the Covid-19 pandemic and also said that 10 of the 11 players in the starting line-up in the ASEAN Football Federation U19 Championships loss to Cambodia were playing a competitive match for the first time in two years.
The competition is currently ongoing in Jakarta, and Singapore will still have to face off against Timor Leste, Malaysia and Laos.
Apart from blaming the pandemic, the blog post on the FAS website also suggested that all 11 players in the starting eleven making their debuts which is probably the crux of the issue – the squad have not had enough playing time and competitions.
Statistically, Singapore’s U19 teams have been dismal in the AFF U19 championships.
Since a third position finish in 2003, the Singapore teams have exited at the group stage every time they participated in the competition.
And a loss to Cambodia looks set to continue the tradition of group stage exits at the annual competition.
The national U19 coach Fadzuhasny Juraimi said, “I think the boys did their best given the circumstances.
“Most of them have not played much football and you could see they lacked match fitness and sharpness.”
“Before the tournament, our objective has always been for the boys to apply our playing style and to enjoy themselves. There were glimpses of that today, but there’s room for improvement.
The boys will face off against Timor Leste next on 5 July.