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No U-turn, Lions must take brave new road

The Straits Times | Wang Meng Meng | Sunday, Aug 18, 2013

Singapore skipper, Shahril Ishak looks up clasping his hands together, in prayer, at the 67th minute as Singapore was trailing by 2-0 against Oman.

SINGAPORE - Scanning the pitch in front of him, Hariss Harun saw an opportunity to pass in the 55th minute but, in a heartbeat, the Oman footballers fell back into position and blocked all his options.

The midfielder had no choice but to sweep the ball backwards.

The crowd at Jalan Besar Stadium hissed collectively, dismayed that another move had broken down as Singapore lost 0-2 in an Asian Cup qualifier on Wednesday. They were not impressed.

After the game, new Lions coach Bernd Stange insisted that the national team will persist with this new, high-tempo, quick-passing style.

Appointed in May, he said he needs at least six months before his work can bear fruit.

But it could take longer, possibly even beyond the German's two-year contract with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

A former national player lamented: "Stange has good ideas and this is the way ahead. It is time for Singapore football to evolve but it is not easy for the players to grasp (the changes) in such a short period of time.

"Against Oman, you could see most of the players were not fighting hard enough to show that they deserve a place in the national team."

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