Dear A.S.S. Editor

This sentence says it all – Singapore’s Under-22 football team beat minnows Brunei 1-0 through an own goal in their last match at the SEA Games football competition last night. They can only beat Brunei, who are considered as nobodies in the region’s football scene, and they needed an own goal by a Brunei player to get that win.

And to put things into perspective, the Brunei senior team sends their football team to play in our very own S-League. So, if we cannot even beat Brunei convincingly, then what hopes are there for the Singapore football team? Singapore’s exit from the SEA Games competition from the group stage reflects another poor year for the age-group sides. Between 2014 and 2016, Singapore’s age-group sides managed only 10 wins in 62 attempts, a number that points to a steady decline in the pipeline that feeds the already struggling senior national side.

So what has happened? Have the other countries in the region not only caught up, but left Singapore far behind in the football development? Or are Singapore football players taking things too easy, as they believed once they have managed to don national colours, they have made it, and thus, the hard work stops? Or is it Zainudin Nordin and his team, for placing too much emphasis on rejoining the Malaysia Cup and starting the Asean Super League?

If we can only beat Brunei by an own goal, the team that Fandi and Sundram-led Singapore used to score for fun against, then something is seriously wrong somewhere. Singapore football is not only down in the dumps, we might be down so far, it may take years to be on a level footing with ASEAN ‘powerhouses’ like Brunei and Philippines again.

Mike Chan

A.S.S. Contributor

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