Has Singapore Football Gotten Worse?
Joseph Schooling’s historic Olympic gold and Paul Lim and Harith Lim’s fairytale run in the recent World Cup of Darts are just some of our national sporting performances that have made us proud to be Singaporean.
As an athlete myself, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride whenever I witness fellow Singaporeans outclassing their rivals on the international stage — We may be a tiny nation, but a part of me wants the world to know that our Lion City can punch above our weight.
Which is exactly why it pains me to see our men’s football team struggling of late.
Taiwan triumphed 2-1 against Singapore in the 2019 ACQ on Saturday (June 10)
According to the official FIFA world rankings, Singapore is languishing in 157th place amongst the 206 countries on the list — below that of our neighbouring countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Apart from international friendlies, our Lions are currently competing in the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers — and recent results aren’t exactly flattering to say the least.
(Fervent fans of the national football team might want to look away now.)
FRI = Friendly, AFC = AFF Suzuki Cup, ACQ = Asian Cup Qualifiers
The Lions have just won twice in the last 15 games, losing 9 games in the process. Their last victory came at the expense of Cambodia back in November 2016.
They are currently on a 7-game winless streak and have not won yet in this calendar year.
The extremely goal-shy Lions also scored 8 and shipped 20 goals during this dismal run, and have not found the net more than once in any game.
Struggling In ACQ
Their latest heartbreak came last Saturday (June 10) in the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers group stage game against Taiwan.
Although Singapore boasted a higher world ranking than their opponents (by 3 spots), it counted for little as the off-colour Lions succumbed to a shock 2-1 loss despite taking an early lead through Hariss Harun’s headed goal.
At it stands, Singapore remain rooted to the bottom of the table with a solitary point and negative goal difference.
They are in danger of crashing out and have to claw their way into the top 2 positions to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Don’t Cry For Singapore, Argentina
On the back of the harrowing defeat to Taiwan, our Lions have to face the star-studded Argentina team tomorrow (June 12) at the National Stadium for a friendly.
Although Lionel Messi won’t be taking to the field, the 2nd-best football team in the world have an abundance of talent.
Even the most passionate fans of the Singapore national team will have to admit that it is likely the Lions are going to be ripped apart in their own backyard.
But things weren’t always this bad for our Lions. They have an impeccable record in the AFF Suzuki Cup, winning all 4 of the AFF Suzuki Cup finals they’ve played in.
Though it has to be said that the last time Singapore has lifted this trophy was in 2012, and they crashed out in the group stages in both the 2014 and 2016 editions of this tournament.
Still, only Thailand has won more AFF Suzuki Cups than Singapore, claiming the title a record 5 times.
Young Lions Follow Suit
Sadly, things are looking equally grim for our Young Lions.
Our Under-15 National Team were given a hiding by their Indonesian Under-16 counterparts during a friendly as part of their Jakarta training tour.
Our Young Lions couldn’t find an answer to a resolute Indonesian defence and conceded a staggering 12 goals.
It is a known fact that many Singaporeans are huge fans of European football and follow the top leagues in the world such as the English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga.
After being exposed to such footballing brilliance from the most talented of footballers, we somehow scorn our national side for their comparatively amateur-ish skills.
They’re not good enough lah. They play like shit. They got no standard one.
Doesn’t this sound all too familiar to you?
And it didn’t help when former national stalwart Aleksander Duric slammed the local football scene in his autobiography he launched in 2016.
The ageless Bosnia-born striker, who retired only at 44 years of age, criticised the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for choosing “short-term measures to try and paper over the cracks” and said the local footballing scene is in “a very bad shape” — the worst he’s ever seen, reported The Straits Times.
Off-field problems have also plagued the FAS, with the organisation in hot water over the alleged misuse of $500,000.
Watch our video to find out more regarding the case:
In short, the FAS and local football scene seems to be in a big mess at the moment.
Stand Behind Our Lions
It’s true that our Lions are going through a rough patch at the moment, but they have to find it within themselves to soldier on.
What they need right now is our support, encouragement and constructive criticism. Let’s give them time to right the wrongs.
Win or lose, rain or shine, our national teams (not just football) deserve our backing.
Ex-Liverpool manager Bill Shankly’s brilliant quote sums it up perfectly:
If you can’t support us when we lose or draw, don’t support us when we win.