Go with a smile!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Drama in place of football quality

I don’t think that the Suzuki cup is that well followed in Singapore in spite of the fact that we won it 3 times – and the first 2 times we won it were considered flukes. I've said it before that this is the one football tournament in the world where the fervent support for the sport just isn't matched by the quality of the play. You can contrast this to the African cup of nations where there are plenty of fine footballers, any African team can thrash one of our SE Asia teams, but nobody ever turns up at the matches. Fortunately, though, it always seems to be packed with incidents, which seems to make up for it.

Just look at all the stuff in this slide show.

One incident that I’m surprised they didn’t mention was the semi-final against Myanmar in 2004/5, the leg that took place in Kallang. There were 3 Burmese players who got sent off during that match, and Singapore, I think, ended that match with a three player advantage. But thinking back, maybe some of them had problems back home due to the Indian Ocean tsunami 1 week earlier. So maybe they could have collectively lost it.

I was in the Kallang Stadium during another of the incidents depicted: when Singapore was awarded a penalty against Thailand and the Thais protested by walking off the pitch.

I was in the Kallang Stadium when that match against Vietnam was going on, and it was a pretty ugly sight, even though at that time I wasn’t aware of any incidents going on – later on I realised that it could have been pretty ugly. It’s one of the incidents depicted in this slide show.

As it turned out, that match didn’t go well for Singapore. Singapore had more chances in that match, but Vietnam managed to break, and they scored. After Vietnam scored, I got depressed because I thought that Singapore would have to score 2 in order to get through. Only later did I find out that because there was no away goals rule then, 1 goal would have been enough.

The reason I remembered that match, which was 4 years ago, was that I thought that it was very dangerous that Singapore had finished an away match 0-0. They did so last night, just like 4 years ago. It is certainly very disadvantageous to Singapore – if Philippines scored first, then Singapore had to win in order to get to the finals – and I wanted Singapore to get to the finals. This time, there really is an away goals rule. So to not keep a clean sheet in Singapore would be to ask for trouble. The good news is that if it came to extra time – which is only possible after another goalless draw – extra time would be played on Singapore soil.

It doesn’t matter to me what happens after that – they’d be expected to lose against Thailand. But if Malaysia did us a favour by beating the Thais, then it’d be easier to beat the Malaysians.

I suppose you could always count on the ASEAN championships to be interesting. 2 years ago, there was this great controversy about Malaysian football fans pointing their lasers at the Indonesians during the final.

There wasn’t anything extremely exciting about the 2012 edition so far, unless you want to count the first ever ASEAN championships match in Manila. But that match was scoreless so I’m guessing it was a boring match. Then there’s the fact that the Philippines are no longer a side that you can just fuck around with anymore. Then there was also the infamous picture posted on Facebook which exhorted Singaporeans to just bloody go attend the match, otherwise the “home” terraces would be full of Pinoys. That’s a little bit sad if that’s a reflection of the state of Singapore football.

I suppose any match played in Singapore would bound to be interesting. Singapore has so many foreign workers from other countries that it’s almost like a home match to the away team. Vs Vietnam, vs Malaysia, vs Philippines, vs Indonesia. Well, good luck to Singapore for Jalan Besar on Wednesday. Then you can go lose the final, I don’t really care.


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