Monthly Archives: July 2009

A high for Liverpool fans as Singapore football sinks to a new low

The letter below appeared in The Straits Times today, and truth be told, I was expecting something like this to be published sooner or later.

I had refrained from commenting on the way Liverpool were cheered on by the majority of the 45,000 crowd at the Nationa Stadium and how Singapore only reportedly received ‘polite applause” from the fans simply because this is something you can’t pass judgement on.

How can you tell a die-hard fan of an English football club that he was an unpatriotic  moron for supporting his team in action, and for applauding the players he idolises whenever they scored? You can’t, because this is what being a football fan is all about.

Yet, in the same way, how can one not feel upset that Singapore fans opted to back an English football team instead of giving their undying support to their own national team? You can’t, either.

At the end of the day, I blame the Singapore Sports Council and the Football Association of Singapore for all this: for letting the match organisers run riot with their ideas and allowing them to turn the National Stadium into a version of Anfield.

Where was the foresight here? Was that dimmed by the excitement of having one of the world’s top clubs play here?

At the end of the day, aren’t the SSC the masters of the National Stadium and the FAS the governing body of football in Singapore?

Shouldn’t they have stipulated some do-es and don’ts for the organisers before renting the stadium to them and sanctioning the match?

In other words, this farcical situation could possibly have been prevented.

Maybe it’s a valuable lesson learnt for next time? (at the expense of our Lions and their fans suffering the embarrassmen of seeing the Grand Old Dame being turned into a version of an English football club’s home ground)

I also think Jamie Yeo was a real twit for having the gall to announce “THIS IS ANFIELD” over the public address system. One would have thought that she would have some sense or maturity to not do something like this. 

But then again, she apparently spent most of her life growingup in the US, and she has always struck me as a dimwit, so I can’t say I am surprised.

Here’s one more thought: would we feel more affection and pride for the Lions if there weren’t so many naturalised citizens playing in the team these days?

Well, back to the letter that was published in today’s Straits Times:

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Lions were forgotten amid the swooning

(The Straits Times, Forum Page, 28 July 2009)

YESTERDAY’S reports, ‘Kallang to KOP – Fans transform National Stadium into ‘home ground’ for Liverpool’, left me disappointed, but not over the 5-0 victory by Liverpool over the national team.

I was struck by skipper Noh Alam Shah’s lament that he felt insulted that the emcee should have called the National Stadium – the home ground where he and his teammates play their hearts out for Singapore – as the home stadium of Liverpool.

‘This is Anfield,’ crowed the emcee, and it left me feeling as disheartened as Alam Shah.

Where was the national pride when our players walked onto their own stadium? The stadium swooned to the Liverpool anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, but where was Majulah Singapura? Unplayed and forgotten.

If the fans on Sunday night had cheered on Singapore as well, would it have motivated them to play better and achieve a more respectable result?

I commend the Lions who played well and tried their best. I am proud of the national team.

The Football Association of Singapore and future organisers of such high-profile exhibitions should put in more effort to encourage our fans to support our own Lions.

And yes, please remember to play the National Anthem, and remind the emcee to get it right: this (the National Stadium) is not Anfield, this is Singapore.

Lui Teow Eng

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Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Newsflash: Stefan finishes second in Taiwan Open, sprinter Mohd Elfi clocks PB in 100m

National triple jumper Stefan Tseng is making steady progress since his recovery from a heel injury which he incurred in late May.

The 18-year-old made a strong case for his inclusion in this December’s SEA Games when he finished second in the Taiwan Open today with a best effort of 15.79m, behind 2007 SEA Games silver medalist Sukon Kittisak of Thailand who leapt 15.85m.

Stefan’s distance is his second best result of the season, after his national record-breaking leap of 16.04m at the Negri Sembilan Open in May.

It is also an improvement on the 15.56m he cleared at the Perak Open last weekend.

And although he has not met the SEA Games qualifying mark of 16.07m, Stefan remains one of only two triple jumpers in the region who have breached the 16m mark this year.

The other is Nguyen Van Hung of Vietnam who cleared 16.37m at the Vietnam Open two weeks ago.

It is understood that the Singapore Athletics Association has already decided to nominate for the SEA Games even though he has not met the qualifying mark.

So, all this should stand him in good stead when the Singapore National Olympic Council finally settles the list of athletes heading for this December’s Games.

There was more good news from the Taiwan Open, and it came in the form of  sprinter Mohd Elfi Mustapha.

The Wings Athetics Club athlete  finished fourth in the 100m in a new personal best time of 10.59sec.

His time is a huge improvement from the 10.86sec which he clocked at the 5th All Comers Meet and is so far, also the best 100m timing clocked by a Singaporean this season.

Elfi was also part of the 4x100m relay team that qualified for the final with a time of 40.54sec. The others in the quartet were Gary Yeo, Poh Seng Song and Muhd Amirudin Jamal. They were the fifth fastest side after Taiwan (40.13sec), Thailand (40.18sec), Hong Kong A (40.21sec) and Hong Kong B (40.22sec).

Singapore eventually finished fifth in a rain-drenched final in 40.69sec.

Long jumper Matthew Goh was fifth in his final with his best effort of 7.11m. But the distance was way off his national record of 7.53m which he set in June and which qualified him for the SEA Games.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

26 April 2009 – Newsflash: Singapore athletes break five national records at Negri Sembilan Open

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Newsflash: Hakeem breaks 110m hurdles record, and this time it should be the real deal

My contact at the Perak Open tells me that hurdler Abdul Hakeem Abdul Halim has finally done it – he has broken the national men’s 110m hurdles record, the oldest national mark left in Singapore athletics.

It seems Hakeem clocked 14.49sec in the heats – 0.27sec faster than Osman Merican’s 14.76sec mark which was set in 1966. Hakeem finished second in the final eventually in a slower time.

I hear that Hakeem’s time has a strong chance of being ratified as the new national record as there was a wind gauge at the meet, recording a wind speed of +1.0 m/s.

Apparently, there was no wind gauge present at the Asean University Games back in December when Hakeem first went under the national mark with a time of 14.45sec.

As a result, the Singapore Athletics Association was not able to ratify the time and confirm it as the new national record. Apparently, the SAA wrote to the organisers of the Asean University Games to ask them for the windspeed but they have not replied. Amazing.

That was also why Osman’s time was still in the record books when the SAA released the updated list of national marks at the start of this year.

My heartiest congratulations to Hakeem.

What a great job by the young man, and I hope this will help to spur him on to qualify for the SEA Games.

It is probably not going to be easy as the qualifying mark is 14.00sec but let’s hope Hakeem puts in a string of consistently improving times from now on so as to strengthen his case for being nominated for the Games even if he doesn’t qualify outright in the end.

I hear too that Stefan Tseng won the triple jump at the Perak Open with a 15.56m effort. It’s way below his national mark of 16.04m and the SEA Games qualifying mark of 16.07m but then again, it’s his first competitive meet since recovering from a heel injury.

Also, national long jumper Matthew Goh, who set a new national mark of 7.53m and qualified for the SEA Games back in June, showed consistency as he finished second in the long jump final at the Perak Open.

His six jumps included two 7.44m efforts. That’s a good sign. I hear he lost the gold by 1cm.

Back to Hakeem: well done, and here’s wishing you all the best in your quest to set new standards in the hurdles.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

17 December 2008 – Hakeem breaks Singapore’s oldest track record

23 February 2009 – Hakeem’s national 110m hurdles record not recognised by SAA

26 April 2009 – Newsflash: Singapore’s athletes break five national records at Negri Sembilan Open

6 June 2009 – Newsflash: Matthew breaks national long jump record, qualifies for SEA Games

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