SINGAPORE — What is the aftermath of the Singapore national under-22 football team’s disastrous performance at the recent 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia? Was it that they not only failed to win a match, or that they were mauled 7-0 by arch-rivals Malaysia in their final match, but ended the campaign rock-bottom of Group B below ‘minnows’ Laos.
So what’s next for the Young Lions and coach Phillipe Aw? On May 18, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced that coach Aw has been granted a ‘leave of absence’ as the head coach of the Young Lions team after ‘intense duty’ at the SEA Games.
“Coach Philippe Aw has been granted time off from the Young Lions’ coaching duties after his intense duties as Head Coach of the Football Men’s team in the recently concluded Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia. A technical review of the SEA Games performance will subsequently take place after his return,” read the statement by FAS.
With Aw missing from the bench, assistant coaches Fadzuhasny Juraimi and Koichiro Iizuka will take over the Young Lions’ coaching duties and will lead them in the Singapore Premier League matches.
FAS will also be forming a panel to review the Young Lions performance at the SEA Games, with the findings made public, said its association’s acting president Bernard Tan in an interview with CNA. Tan also added that until the review has been completed, the Singapore national under-22 football team will not be participating in any international competition. The panel will be headed by former Singapore national head coach Jita Singh, three FAS council members Lim Tong Hai, Razali Saad and Harman Ali.
With Singapore football performance at the 2023 SEA Games the worst in decades, and the football fans expressing their honest opinions of the sad state of local football affairs; the ‘Unleash The Roar’ executive committee has decided to hold a townhall session on May 25 to engage with various stakeholders, including the fans, as it seek feedback on its project. Unleash The Roar is led by chairman Eric Chua, who is also the senior parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Local Singapore football fan group SingaBrigade have also expressed their discontent on social media. They are a group of loyal Singapore football fans, but their patience may have run out seeing how recent results on the field have turned out for the Lions.
“Singapore football is going down. As you are aware, we don’t say this lightly. But looking at how our teams are performing in recent months, we just have to say this. With the exception of the women’s teams, the men’s teams are just getting from bad to worse. Let’s start off with the senior men team. After the high of that magical night against Indonesia in 2021, they failed to make out of the group stage on 3 January 2023, when we just needed a draw against Malaysia. How we fell within a year to such depths is something we cannot understand. It is now May 2023 and we are still waiting for FAS to hold themselves accountable to the fans who made that trip across the causeway to be treated with such a lame performance,” posted SingaBrigade on Facebook.
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