The Young Lions are being punished for their dismal Southeast Asian Games outing as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Acting President Bernard Tan has told CNA in an interview that the Young Lions will not be involved in any international tournaments until a technical review of the failure at the SEA Games is completed and until a time the Young Lions are competitive enough to compete.
He also announced that a technical review committee is being led by former national coach Jita Singh.
Jita, who is almost 75-years-old is being assisted by FAS Vice-President Razali Saad and FAS Council Members Lim Tong Hai and Harman Ali.
Both Razali and Lim are Sport Singapore staff.
It is not known how the FAS decided to have these four lead the review of the disastrous SEA Games campaign.
The move to stop the Young Lions from taking part at international tournaments appears to punish the players for their failure at the SEA Games, where they finished at the bottom of Group B, and right at the bottom among the 10 participating teams.
The Young Lions led by Philippe Aw also lost 7-0 to Malaysia, and could only earn a draw against Laos, aside from two 3-1 losses to Thailand and Vietnam.
But what happens if it takes years for the Young Lions to become competitive?
Does that mean that players will be denied opportunities to play even in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) tournaments?
The next set of major tournaments for the Young Lions would include the AFC U23 qualifiers scheduled for September, and the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou from September to October.
While it is understandable that the FAS does not nominate the Young Lions for the Asian Games in which it has to receive approval from Singapore National Olympic selectors, it makes no sense for the players to be denied a chance to play in AFC competitions.
Even minnows San Marino take part in European and World Cup qualifiers despite being on the receiving end of hammerings most of the time.
Tan said that he was “pained about it” and that he wanted “this pain to be felt by all involved in football, especially the FAS.”
Why he is hoping for the public and the fans to feel the pain, which is primarily caused by the FAS’ failures is beyond reason.
“I want the FAS to have also a fighting culture in which we have” and “the attitude that this is just not acceptable, and we will do everything in our power to fix it.”
The review will take place over four weeks with results released publicly two weeks after.
FANS AND OFFICIALS REACT TO THE ANNOUNCEMENTS
Singapore fans are questioning the need for the FAS to stop players from taking part in AFC competitions.
“It doesn’t make sense to do so, and why only the U23 side?
“Shouldn’t it also include all the younger age groups as well, like the U15, U16 and U17s since all age groups are in poor form,” an official from an affiliate asked.
And why punish the players when it is the salaried staff and the leadership of the FAS who should be taken to task?
There also does not appear to be a consensus among the FAS leadership team over the make-up of the review committee with questions being asked about the background of the members.
Why are there two Sport Singapore staff – Razali Saad and Lim Tong Hai and what are their coaching credentials?
Why is a FAS Vice-President and two Council members (Lim, Harman Ali) conducting the review and shouldn’t the review be conducted by an independent technical committee which would not be biased?
Is Jita Singh up to date with his knowledge of the modern game?
So many questions, and as usual, very unlikely for any forthcoming answers.
In his interview with CNA, he said that the players should not be thrown under the bus for the performances.
But by stopping them from taking part in AFC tournaments, isn’t that precisely what he and the entire leadership of the FAS are doing?
MAIN PHOTO: TMSG FILE