Thank you, Lionel, for saving us from humiliation against Jordan

Dear Lionel Lewis

On behalf of all the long-suffering fans of the Lions, I would like to express my deepest thanks, appreciation and gratitude to you for your superb performance against Jordan last night.

Thanks to your brilliant reflexes, your calmness and presence of mind, you saved us from a mauling in Amman and restricted the marauding Jordanians to a narrow 2-1 win, a scoreline which certainly flattered us and paints a false picture of the actual gulf in playing standards between Jordan and us.

Lionel Lewis, a true Lion in Singapore's hour of need

What was especially amazing was how you achieved this in spite of the windy and cold conditions, which made ball control and judgement even more difficult, and in spite of the ineptitude of Precious Emuejeraye and Baihakki Khaizan, our supposed two pillars in defence.

They were completely rubbish last night, that much was clear for all who tuned in to Channel 5’s live telecast of the crucial Asian Cup qualifying fixutre last night.

I blame them both for the two goals which you eventually conceded that sent us eventually to the bottom of our group, a place I feel we do not deserve considering some of the good work that we did during the initial part of the qualifying stage.

God knows what Precious was thinking in the third minute when he allowed Jordanian atacking midfielder Obai Al Saify to get in front of him and power a missile of a header past you.

Or perhaps he wasn’t thinking at all, which also wouldn’t surprise me.

Whatver the reason, that set the tone of the lop-sided battle between Obai and Precious last night.

Lumbering and slow on the turn, Precious just could not cope with the Jordanian’s skill and speed last night. In fact, on numerous occasions, he was left eating his dust.

It was so painful to watch, and you just wanted to point a gun at Precious and end our misery.

I can also only guess at why Precious and Baihakki chose to leave Anas Banyyasen unmarked during an inswinging corner in the 60th minute, allowing him to head the ball past you and hammer in the final nail in our coffin.

It was a goal which should never have happened, and it destroyed whatever confidence we had after Noh Alam Shah’s equaliser at the start of the second half and afterthat, we were left chasing the wind.

Enough of blaming.

I have decided that both Baihakki and Precious are completely useless at higher stages of Asian football, and even if Singapore go on to win the Suzuki Cup again this year, my opinion of them will never change.

So long as national coach Raddy Avramovic does not axe them, I will never put my money on a Singapore win and will always go to the National Stadium expecting the worst. 

Perhaps that’s the way – so that every little win we eke out wil always be a relief and a pleasant surprise.

You, Lionel, on the other hand, are an example of the type of Lion Singapore needs.

Your performance last night was world-class.

As I write this, I am constantly replaying in my mind the reflex save you made at full stretch against Obai in the 25th minute, and the two occasions (20th and 38th) you saved at his feet.

I cannot imagine what the final scoreline would have been if those strikes had gone into the net in the first place.

Finally, thank you for deciding not to head off to Indonesia to play professional football.

As far as I am concerned, the Indonesian Super League can keep the likes of Precious and Bahihakki in perpetuity. Maybe they should consider giving them citizenship because from now on,  the less we see of these two clowns in action for the Lions, the better.

Keep up the great work, Lionel.

Yours sincerely 

Singapore Sports Fan

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8 thoughts on “Thank you, Lionel, for saving us from humiliation against Jordan

  1. Lamouchi says:

    Calmness? What match were u watching? He punched every ball when its better to catch it. A ball that was going out, he went and save which gave Jordan the 2nd goal. I’m not saying he’s crap but he was not CALM. He was jittery.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Hi Lamouchi

      Thank you for your view.

      I would disagree as I think it needed a certain calmness of mind to perform like how Lionel did against the class-act Jordanians in such windy and cold conditions.
      And he certainly had the presence of mind to pull off the three saves I mentioned in my post.

      Once again, thanks for visiting

      Cheers
      SSF

  2. keito says:

    I think we should not blame the second goal on Lionel as it was obvious that there were so many white shirts waiting to head in the ball from the corner. The question to ask was where was the marking? I agree that Precious and Baihakki was definitely not up to par. Both of them seemed uncomfortable with either high balls or players running at them. I still think Lionel was still the best player despite the few mistakes he made. Simply because he didn’t give up. I don’t see the same belief in other players. There were definitely moments in Jordan’s defense when they looked jittery as well. I don’t think Jordan played that well, but it was obvious that the Jordanian players went for every ball, while some of our own boys were caught ball watching. They had the belief and desire to win. We didn’t. It’s as simple as that.

  3. Gideon Sim says:

    Hi,

    Thank you, SSF for taking the effort to post your views and appreciation for Lionel Lewis. While he has his share of flaws, horrendous kicking when under pressure, to name one, he has been a stalwart for the Lions for many years and I think history will remember him fondly in time to come. I sincerely hope he gets to see your open letter!

    It is gratifying to know that such fans like you are around. Unfortunately, while we may not be small in number, a large majority don’t speak up and make themselves heard. Instead, a sort of fatalism seems to have settled over Singapore football. I doubt you are alone in always expecting Singapore to lose. Allow me to respectfully say that I always put my money on Singapore. Yes, even against Iran. I don’t know if I should pat myself on the back, or laugh at my stupidity.

    Sadly, the state of Singapore football has descended to a level that your betting options reflect the smart man’s dollar. We are by no means a bad team, at least at Southeast Asian level. But is that enough? The pain of losing to Jordan is only exacerbated by the last minute goal Iran scored against Thailand. I was brought to tears. We were THAT close. When we equalized, I had plans in my mind to organize the biggest welcoming party at Changi Airport the Lions have ever seen.

    I doubt I will ever have a chance to do that, not with Precious in the team. The period that Raddy kept him out of the first team was perhaps the most relieved I have ever been in my many years as a Lions fan. I don’t see why he should have been reinstated. Slow on the uptake, error prone, lazy, he hardly deserves to pull on the sacred red jersey. (Am I the only one who considers it to be so?)

    I especially agree with Keito about our players not having the belief and desire. The thing that really gutted me about the match was not the loss. It was the way the Lions strolled off the field at the end of the match with nary a care in the world. I wonder how much it meant to them? Did they ever believe they had a chance? Did they even believe in themselves? It is not uncommon to see players from the losing team breaking down at the end of, say, a Champions League semi-final. Thats how much not getting through means to them. How important was qualifying to our players? Maybe I’m judging them on an entirely irrational basis, but I think how they react to the loss speaks volumes.

    I apologise for using your letter as an outlet for my many pent-up frustrations regarding our national team. Indulge me if I may say one last thing. I know Raddy just signed a new contract, and I have no doubts about his commitment to the cause, but, I cannot help but question if maybe the many years at the helm have dulled his ambition a little. He is a hero to me, and to many, because he has really brought us up. But if, and only IF, he has lost that ambition and drive, and settled into that “We’re happy being kingpins of Southeast Asia” (which we’re not even anymore) then maybe, just maybe, we need to bring in someone younger, with something to prove, with the drive and ambition. Of course, the whole footballing culture needs to be revamped as well, but thats another story for another time. Mr Avramovic, I dearly hope I’m wrong. Please give us something to cheer about.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Dear Gideon

      Thank you so much for your very passionate and heartfelt comments.
      I couldn’t help re-reading your comment a few times.

      And like you, I too suspect that some of our players lack the belief and desire. Actually, I think some of them have just become complacent because they think or know that their place in the first XI is usually a nap-shot.

      The Foreign Talent Scheme has been good in that it has injected some hunger into the squad and raised the playing standards by a bit. You look at the likes of Duric and Mustafic and in last night’s match, Qiu Li, you can’t help wishing that the Lions had more of such players.

      It would also help if we had more Lionels, Hariss Haruns and Noh Alam Shahs.

      But the rest? Sometimes I wonder what it means to them to play for the Lions? A chance to command higher wages at club levels? A chance to strut and bask in people’s admiration?

      I don’t know. What I do know is that it is time for Raddy Avramovic to wield the axe on some under-performing players, and those who have clearly past their sell-by date. Question is, are there enough talents to replace these under-achievers? Or would we be hit by a new flood of naturalised players?

      Cheers. I look forward to hearing more from you in future.

  4. Well done dude. Definitely Lionel kept us in the game, but its true too he didnt do too well in other aspects. overall still credible.

    Simply loved the way u talked about our twin terror of disaster, Bai & Emu.

    Our defence simply need an overhaul. Some other guys should really be given a chance to prove themselves. Like Shariff, Shahril Alias in the middle and Jumaat, Isa at fullbacks.

  5. tje says:

    Hi SSF
    I totally enjoyed reading your letter in appreciation of Lionel’s performance against Jordan. While I’ve always felt that Hassan Sunny was the steader of Singapore’s top two keepers, I have never at any point deemed Lionel Lewis unworthy of performing for Singapore – he is a good goalkeeper too.

    He may commit the odd howler (letting in a direct corner-kick against Uzbekistan, for example) and his first touch and kicking are generally horrendous, but his goalkeeping attributes (reflexes, catching and handling) are among the best in the region if not the continent.

    I too agree with your criticisms of Precious and Baihakki in particular. They’re two of Singapore’s tallest players (186 and 189 cm respectively I believe) yet manage to, on top of being completely unable to play on the ground, remain suspect aerially – how did Precious and Baihakki keep getting beaten to long balls by the much shorter Jordanian attack, and the attack of every damn team the Lions play against? The Foreign Talent Scheme has had its successes (Daniel Bennett and Agu Casmir, for example, have served us well) but I wonder how they managed to draft the likes of Shi “useless crosser” Jiayi, Precious “stereotypical slow centre back” Emuejeraye, and Mustafic “cannot pass the ball” Fahrudin into the national team. Are these players at all better than the Singapore-born ones?

    I would like to suggest who should take up the centre-back and right-back positions for Singapore in the near and far future.

    Short-term right-back: NOH RAHMAN, UNTIL HE RETIRES. Hell, even a 37-year-old S. Subramani would do better than Baihakki.

    Long-term right-back: Isa Halim. He can’t really play at DM because of a lack of passing range, but the fact that he’s played there before makes him automatically a better passer than Baihakki. Also, he’s quicker and a better tackler than the beanpole.

    Centre-backs: Daniel Bennett and Afiq Yunos – Afiq looks like a really impressive player. His performances at the SEA Games suggest so.

    Long-term centre-backs: I don’t see many Singapore-born centre-backs of suitable quality in the S-League right now. Perhaps we could naturalise one of the good foreign ones, like Valery Hiek or Obadin Aikhena.

  6. hellohello says:

    Please coach Raddy, tender ur resignation immediately in order to wakeup FAS who is still sleeping. Sack the entire team except the youngster Harun before sacking yourself.

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