Singapore head coach Fandi Ahmad (centre), with team manager Eric Ong (right) and team captain Taufiq Muqminin during the press conference. (Photo by JAMES KON/Borneo Bulletin)

FAS must stop behaving like it is above other sports

by Al Tham

The arrogance of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is reflected in its comments after failing to make it to the Asian Games 2018. Singapore Under-23 team had failed to gain a nomination from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) to participate in the upcoming Asian Games as the results put forward by the FAS do not meet SNOC’s criteria.

A spokesperson from SNOC said, “For athletes to receive a nomination, they have to meet the “selection criteria of a sixth-place finish at the Asian level”.

As reported by Channel News Asia, FAS’ head of national teams management, Eric Ong said the national football team should go to the Asian Games because in his view – “the Asian Games is important in the lead-up to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and the 2020 Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship, which serves as the qualifier for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo”.

What a lame, weak and cocky statement!

If the SNOC has guidelines for all athletes wanting to go to the Asian Games, you just have to meet the criterion. Here you have the football team failing to achieve the results to justify why SNOC should send them to Asian Games using taxpayers money, and all FAS can do is to say – “oh we must go because this Asian Games is important if we want to do well in SEA Games 2019.”

It is like Japan saying – “oh we must play in the World Cup because this is important preparation for the Asian Cup”.

Shouldn’t the importance of the competitions be reversed? Shouldn’t it be a case of using SEA Games 2017 to prepare for Asian Games 2018?

But FAS seems to think football is on a pedestal above other sports and therefore it just simply gave an illogical reply to state its stand on that it must go to Asian Games.

Where is the respect for other athletes such as our swimmers, including Joseph Schooling, who fulfill the criterion?

From its reply, FAS clearly believe it is entitled to free fishes all the time. Why never learn to fish for yourself?

Rules are rules and SNOC must not bend the rules for anyone. How many medals had football won at SEA Games or Asian Games – vs swimming or table tennis?

Be fair to all sports especially those who worked hard such as Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) President Lee Kok Choy.

At a time when Schooling needed support at the early stage of his career, Singapore did nothing and left it to his parents who gave everything they can for their dear son. Credit too to the low profile Mr Lee who is known to have been behind Schooling all the time.

It will be a sporting disgrace if now SNOC accepts FAS’ illogical reply and send them to Asian Games after they have failed to meet the criterion.

Support those who really deserve it and not those who believe they are entitled to it.