National U22 players interviewed by the review committee tasked to investigate Singapore’s disastrous showing at the recent Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia have shared how the team prepared for both the Merlion Cup in March, and the SEA Games thereafter.
The details are part of the submissions seen by TMSG as part of the review called by Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Interim President Bernard Tan.
The review committee is helmed by former national coach Jita Singh, and current members of the FAS leadership team – Razali Saad, Lim Tong Hai and Harman Ali.
The review committee was announced on 20 May after Singapore’s shambolic show in Phnom Penh, and was supposed to make public its findings six weeks after.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID WHEN INTERVIEWED
According to one of the reports, the players interviewed felt that there was a lack of preparation for the Merlion Cup tournament in March, held to help Singapore prepare for the SEA Games.
Singapore lost both matches to Hong Kong and Cambodia at the tournament which was held at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The players allegedly also felt that there was not much emphasis placed on the said competition and that there was no sense of urgency going into the competition.
In addition, one of the players interviewed also suggested that the training during the preparations for the Merlion Cup was not an intense as what was faced at his club.
This player was not named in the report which was submitted.
In TMSG’s previous story, it was already reported how Singapore’s national U22 team was not housed in a hotel for the Merlion Cup, unlike all the visiting teams.
As a result, the players turned up at different times during match days and were not in unison, which was totally unbecoming for a major competition.
According to the report seen by TMSG, it was stated that the team lacked team bonding, which was vital for preparations for a major competition.
THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE SEA GAMES
The team did not have much time together leading up to the SEA Games.
Having only checked in to a local hotel three days before leaving for Phnom Penh, the team did not have much opportunity to gel together ahead of the SEA Games, and only played one friendly match against Singapore Premier League side Geylang International.
At the SEA Games, Singapore returned with three losses and a draw, including a 7-0 loss against Malaysia.
NO CLEAR STRATEGIC PLAN
It was also shared that there was no clear strategic plan for Singapore’s Young Lions leading into the SEA Games.
The reports also called for accountability from various members of the leadership of the national football body.
In response to queries from Straits Times, the FAS Interim President Bernard Tan said, “The public should wait for the FAS release, and to use the same release we make on the report.”
“The observations in the reports are subject to fact-checking and corroboration, and this is still in the process of being done.
“The conclusions drawn from this (initial) report may not be accurate.”
The FAS is expected to make details of its review public on 7 July.
Members of the Executive Council and the Council are slated for briefing sessions a day prior.
MAIN PHOTO: FAS