• Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Will the Young Lions be left out of the upcoming Asian Games? Most probably yes.

May 17, 2023

If the Young Lions cannot even perform at the Southeast Asian Games level, then should they risk embarrassing the national at a much higher level at the Asian Games? 


That is the question which Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) selectors will have to ask themselves when they decide on who will get to represent Singapore at the upcoming Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou in September. 

At the post-event meet the media session for Singapore media at the end of the SEA Games in Phnom Penh, the Secretary General of the SNOC Chris Chan said that the Young Lions participation at major Games will not be automatic. 

“There’s always dialogue, there’s always discussion among the selectors. 

“In every selection committee, the discussion is very different – different people have different views. 

“So, it is not automatic,” he said.

For the SEA Games, most sports have to meet qualification criteria, of having the potential to at least win a bronze medal. 

It is a well known fact that Singapore is far behind the top three or even four in the region, notably Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. 

Singapore has not qualified for the semi-finals of the SEA Games men’s football tournament since 2013.

The Young Lions were not selected for the 2018 Asian Games, and were last at the quadrennial event in 2014, where they finished third in a group of four teams which included Palestine, Tajikistan and Oman.


The head of the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) Su Chun Wei has asked that the media and the public at large to give the FAS some space and when the time is ready, “we can hear from them”.

“I just encourage all of us to give FAS (Football Association of Singapore) space at this moment, give our team the space to reflect and to learn, so that when the time is ready for FAS to come out, I think we can hear from them,” said he said.

The FAS received almost $100 million in funding through Sport Singapore over the last five financial cycles.

This amount does not include the amount of money spent on ActiveSG football academies, and any programmes currently being administered through Unleash The Roar!, a project co-adminstered by FAS and Sport Singapore.

At the 2023 SEA Games, Singapore’s Young Lions ended up at the bottom of Group B, with no wins to their name.


The Young Lions also lost 7-0 in the final dead rubber tie against Malaysia, the worst defeat Singapore has faced at the SEA Games since the event became an U23 affair in 2001.

“I think it is obvious for me to just say that the performance of the Young Lions in this campaign is not ideal and is far below stellar. 

“FAS has acknowledged it and said that they will do an internal review,” said Su.

“I think we must give FAS this window and space to review and take stock. 

“And so before that is done, I would not want to comment on plans.”