It is a real hit of luck for any football team disputing an international tour, being in the same group with the host team.
That’s what happened recently with Lions on Southeast Asian Football (SEA) draw in Kuala Lumpur.
Lions were assigned to Group A along with Myanmar, Laos, Brunei and the home team, Malaysia. If they get to survive this round, they’ll have to face the most fearsome teams in whole Asia.
A good performance in this tournament would be a great relief for the team chaired by Lim Kia Tong, who currently ranks 169th in the world ranking, its worst ever.
This will be the test of fire that will define whether the under-23 players of the national team deserve a place among the world’s great football players, or will be doomed to play the rest of their lives in a small local team.
WHEN NUMBERS SAY THE OTHER
Former Singapore captain Nazri Nasir said Group A is pretty fair and everyone has the same chances to qualify for the next round. Everything will depend on the individual and group performance of each team.
Other important figures, such as Terry Pathmanathan, Razali Saad, Jita Singh, Vincent Subramaniam and Seak Poh Leong, have similar opinions in which they claim that Singapore’s team has a high probability to qualify for the quarter-finals.
However, Tampines Rovers Rafi Ali, doesn’t see things as easy, because he thinks Malaysia and Myanmar will make things quite difficult for Lions.
Tournament’s Group C is clearly the Death Group. It is clear that both teams qualifying from there will have more possibilities than others to win the tournament. It would be lucky for the Lions, not to cross any of these teams in their path, if they dream on being champions.
However, such figures as Lau Kok Keng, John Fernandez, Lim Chin and Augustine Orlando, are hopeful that Singapore’s good luck will continue until the end of the tournament.
A MATTER OF LUCK
Several stars and soccer businessmen consider that luck has always been in favor of Lions. Lawyer Alfred Dodwell was more direct on his statements, suggesting to Lions, if they didn’t survive Group A, to do something else.
They all share the same view: Malaysia and Myanmar can make things pretty difficult.
HEAT OF COMPETITION
The worst thing Lions could do right now is thinking they’re superior to their rivals. These days, no team in Asia is weak enough to be underestimated; the international football scene is another.
However, sports experts don’t see a better future for Singapore than a third place in Group A. In their opinions, everyone agrees on the same thing: Singapore players’ stage fright is their worst enemy.