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Sazali Abdul Aziz
Sunday, Jul 13, 2014

Sports

S-League: Lee rebukes Stange for comments on Home United

The New Paper | Sazali Abdul Aziz | Sunday, Jul 13, 2014

Home United coach Lee Lim Saeng at a training session on 14 February 2014.

Don't talk about something unless you know the situation behind it.

That was the stern rebuke Lee Lim Saeng, coach of Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League giants Home United, had for national coach Bernd Stange in a Facebook post he wrote yesterday.

Just before the Lions left for a training camp in Austria on Tuesday, Stange spoke to media at the airport and reportedly complained about the lack of young players in the S.League.

He was quoted by FourFourTwo in an article published online as saying: "Last week I watched Home United, one of our leading teams, and the average age was 31 in this cup match.

"Five foreigners, with an average team age of 31, how can I find players?

"We have to do something. The average age of our top teams must be younger."

In the article, Stange had also explained the omissions of Home United players Yasir Hanapi and Juma'at Jantan from the travelling party.

The German said Yasir's form dipped after a shift from attacking midfield to right-back, while fullback Juma'at had not had much playing time for the Protectors recently.

The comments rubbed Lee the wrong way, and the former South Korean international defender said he was moved to respond as Stange "said about our players".

On Stange's suggestion that there should be more younger players in the S.League, Lee wrote: "Everybody knows about young players having potential but how about senior players?

"When senior players have still proved (sic) their ability on the pitch, how about their commitment, contribution and efforts?

"And when their performances are better than young players, they can't be national players?"

Lee also brushed aside Stange's explanation for not picking Yasir and Juma'at.

The Home coach pointed out that he has deployed Yasir in various positions this season, from defence to attack, because he is "an intelligent player".

As for Juma'at's lack of game-time, Lee said the fullback had struggled with a hamstring injury for a month, but is now "playing with the team".

Lee continued: "The coach (Stange) knows about his situation?

"Everyone can say his own views but when you are a coach, you must consider it before saying!!!"

In response to TNP's queries, Stange, said: "The main point that I wanted to put across when I was speaking to the media on Monday, was that young players are crucial to the future of Singapore football and as such, the average age of the S.League clubs should ideally be lower.

"I understand coach Lee has his opinion on the subject and I fully respect his opinion as a coach."


This article was first published on July 11, 2014.
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