• Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Is there any hope left for the Young Lions at the SEA Games after the loss to Thailand?

May 1, 2023 ,

Even the most hardcore of Singapore football fans would probably surmise that the 32nd Southeast Asian Games is a write-off for Singapore’s Young Lions, its U22 team.


In its opening match, Philippe Aw’s men boys succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Thailand.

The scoreline could have been a lot worse, if not for the antics of goalkeeper Aizil Yazid, who prevented a couple from finding the back of the net. 

And with Vietnam and Malaysia still to come, an early exit once again seems to be on the cards.

Predictably so, unfortunately. 

Against Thailand, Aw chose an ultra defensive tactic, with the hope of trying to hit on the counter. 

And when the did have possession, trying to string a couple of passes together to get an attack going, seemed almost laborious.

In comparison, the Thais kept moving the ball around and were constantly seen to possessing smiles on their faces, like as though it was a rather easy 90 minutes for them.

Aw said in his post-match comments carried in the Straits Times that the team had “trouble coping with players in the pockets.”

“The Thai players have played at an even higher level recently (in the U-23 Doha Cup in March) where they played quality teams like Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” he added. 

Aw added that “we must strive to compete at that kind of level because when they come back down to the SEA Games, you can see their quality.

“The understanding between players, the rotation (off the ball), and the give and go that Thailand have is something that we need time to improve on.

“Football is a team sport and the understanding needs time to be built and it requires playing high-level matches.

He added that “it is something we need to think about when we return home” which is a rather shocking comment to make. 

Did Aw not realise that playing against top notch teams would make a difference for the team? 

And is he also suggesting that the team is not getting the kind of experience while playing in the Singapore Premier League?

There are many answers to be answered yet again, as the Young Lions stare at an early exit, and face the prospect of missing out of the semi-finals of the biennial Games yet again. 

For the Football Association of Singapore, surely it is now back to the drawing board again.