• Thu. Oct 5th, 2023

Bad decision by FAS to stop Young Lions from playing in international competitions, ahead of review committee findings.

May 21, 2023

The Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) decision to stop the Young Lions from playing in international competitions as announced on 20 May by the Acting President Bernard Tan is a misguided one.


Two senior coaches who spoke to TMSG on the condition of anonymity said that the decision makes a mockery of the establishment of the review committee which is supposed to look into the reasons why the Young Lions performed so abysmally at the recent Southeast Asian Games. 

The decision to punish the Young Lions is also pre-emptive, given that the reasons for their abject failure could have well been caused by administrative and technical issues. 

“Punishing the Young Lions before the review committee releases its findings is unfair to the Young Lions,” said one senior Singaporean coach, with more than 20 years of experience under his belt. 

“This is a typical case of putting the cart before the horse.”

The upcoming tournaments for the Young Lions include the qualification to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Asian Cup which is scheduled for September and the Asian Games in Hangzhou thereafter.

The coach also questioned if the AFC would allow a withdrawal from a competition and suggested that such a withdrawal could also lead to sanctions, or may impact Singapore’s seeding at future youth competitions.

“Even the likes of San Marino continue to take part in World Cup and European Championships qualifiers despite getting hit at every time,” said the coach.


“Not submitting a nomination to the Asian Games is a fair decision but pulling the team out from all international tournaments is ridiculous and will impact their future opportunities, which is a shame and a very bad decision to make.”

It is not known is the decision was approved by the entire FAS Exco and Council, as it appears that not every member of the FAS leadership is in agreement with the decision.

Yet another coach also added that the FAS leadership needs to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are the problem.

“Were Philippe Aw and his staff were competent enough to handle the SEA Games assignment in Cambodia,” asked the coach. 

“Who recommended them for their jobs?

“Who approved their appointments and based on what metrics and data were they hired for their jobs? 

“An independent review panel consisting of football technicians among others could help answer these questions.”

In the end, it is the decision makers who need to take responsibility for the state of Singapore football.


The simple answer to the question of whether the review panel should be independent of the FAS is yes.

On 20 May, the FAS announced that 75-year-old Jita Singh, a relic of Singapore’s football history would lead the technical review committee, along with FAS Vice-President Razali Saad, and council members Lim Tong Hai and Harman Ali.

Both Razali and Lim are also staff of Sport Singapore. 

“It is paramount that an independent panel with competent persons, which should include football technicians would make the panel not only appear credible but also provide technical insights into individual group and team performances in each of their matches at the SEA Games,” said the coach.

The choice of Jita, who has not been active in technical work has also invited the ridicule of netizens, including a Straits Times journalist.


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