By Mohamed Fazli Bin Talip
Dear Football Association of Singapore (FAS),
I do sincerely write this piece of my thoughts for your consideration in improving the standard of football culture in Singapore.
Firstly, let me begin with the football development of the National Team set-up. When FAS first appointed Bernd Stange after months of Raddy Avramovic's departure, the fans thought that fortunes might change for the betterment of Singapore football. Fortune indeed changed but towards the new low of FIFA ranking. Our National Team suffered loss after loss throughout the 2014 and till now. The report card for the Suzuki Cup is tremendously bad. The team did not even surpassed their target. The National Team struggled to even play a decent game to win throughout the group stage of Suzuki Cup.
Since then, the results of their friendly games were disappointing. The last friendly game against Guam really indicating that desperate changes need to be done. FAS should relook into the set-up thoroughly instead of giving excuses such as blaming the pitch, injuries and lack of key players.
Bernd Stange seems to struggle with pressure and keep having off-form players in the National Team Selection. He kept selecting players from majority from the LionsXII and Courts Young Lions. I commended him for being brave to give young players a chance to shine in the National Team but when come to the actual game, players such as Baihakki Khaizan, Gabriel Quek and even Sahil Suhaimi failed to shine and excel at international level. He failed to to inject the fury passion to the young players to perform to their best unlike his predecessor Raddy Arvamovic.
The players themselves also need to perform to their highest level whenever they were selected for the National Team. There are 2 qualities that were lacking from the current players: Passion and Pride.
As for FAS as an organisation, they have lost their passion in rebuilding the football culture in Singapore. The whole team of management even lost touch with the community. Why do I say that?
The results is clear. The attendance of the crowd during matches and S-League games played in Singapore were very disappointing. The fans are losing hope in support the players, the coaching style and now the association. FAS engagement with the community was poor. They rely on grassroots and schools as a form of engagement. Well, pardon me to say this.The fans want more activities and most importantly the purpose of why should we lend our support to the association.
If engagement with grassroots to FAS is good way, I'm afraid that there are fans who already look down on the grassroots due to political affiliations. FAS also failed to engage corporations for sponsorship on the youth development. But surprisingly, they do have lots of funding for USELESS Overseas trips for the National and Under-23 teams and yet we performed badly in tournaments and matches.
I won't be surprised if teams such as Cambodia, Timor Leste or even Bhutan can defeat us in friendly matches in the future. Other associations in ASEAN are improving but what about us?
I don't advocate the heads should roll but if the KPI (the results) don't show that we are improving, the fans are staying away from local football scene for a long time. The time is now for FAS to made the change or Singapore football will never improved.
Very Passionate Fan