The three players who cheated the Lions, Singapore and the fans

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times.

*********

Is it any wonder that the Lions lost?

(The Straits Times, 10 March 2010)

By Wang Meng Meng

ON THE day of what was arguably one of the most important matches in Singapore’s football history, two players overslept and were late boarding the team bus.

 Also, at half-time, with Singapore trailing 0-1 to Jordan in the Asian Cup qualifying decider, a couple of players were smoking in the dressing room.

After a 1-2 defeat that bundled them out of the competition – the Lions needed only a draw against Jordan to secure passage to the finals of the tournament for the first time – some of the players’ attitude has been called into question. Their shocking behaviour was confirmed to The Straits Times by coach Raddy Avramovic, who will submit a report to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

Avramovic yesterday also lashed out at the poor attitude of some players during training sessions, saying they had complained about attending team meetings to watch video analysis of the opponents and participate in tactical discussions. These players also refused to take training seriously.

The defeat last Thursday (Singapore time) ended the country’s hopes of qualifying directly for the tournament for the first time. Singapore were in the finals just once when they were hosts in 1984 and were given direct entry to the tournament.

The 60-year-old Serbian tactician, who has been in charge of the Lions since 2003, declined to name and shame the culprits but said ‘these players know who they are’.

Said Avramovic: ‘Certain players have become too big for their boots. They come with an attitude that their place in the national team is reserved for them. During the match, some players gave just 50 per cent effort.’

FAS general secretary Winston Lee said: ‘We take a serious view of discipline in the national team.

‘Raddy will be submitting his report soon. And if any player is found guilty of breaching the team’s code of conduct, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.’

Trouble began the day the Lions landed in Amman for five days of preparation for the match.

Said Avramovic: ‘Some players complained that the training sessions were too tough. They forgot that it was hard work that got them into the national team in the first place.’

It was not only the coach who was fuming, some fellow players slammed the poor attitude too. A senior national player, who did not want to be named, expressed disgust at his teammates’ smoking habit and bad behaviour.

He said: ‘It is up to the players to do what they like in their personal time, what frustrates me is how some never put in much effort on the field.’

Avramovic has pledged to take firm action against the slackers, saying: ‘The two players who overslept will be dealt with internally and fined.

‘They are not kids. Some are married with children. The backroom staff have tried educating them on the dangers of smoking and we cannot police them all the time.’

With no international fixtures until December’s Suzuki Cup, Asean’s regional championship, Avramovic is planning to take the squad on a European tour in August. Games against the national sides of Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania are on the cards.

The coach sees the tour as a good opportunity to ring in the changes, saying: ‘My principle is: Any player who disturbs the team spirit will not make this trip.

‘I cannot tolerate any player trying to destroy the team atmosphere.’

***********

My thoughts:

After I read the report I was speechless.And then I was saddened and bitterly disappointed.

But now I am angry. Furious.

My manners prevent me from spewing a torrent of abuse at the three footballers who acted like prima donnas in Jordan, who did not give their all to Singapore’s Asian Cup cause and who incurred the wrath of Raddy Avramovic.

The national coach is not naming any names now but I think we will have a good idea as to who the culprits are when Raddy unveils his squad for a training trip to Europe.

Look out for axed players below the age of 30 because it will be mighty suspicious that they are being dropped at a time when they are supposed to be at the prime of their careers.

I hear from my sources that a couple of them are based in Indonesia. I am trying to find out who they all are.

To the three cheaters:

YOU ARE ALL A BLOODY DISGRACE TO THE COUNTRY AND TO THE DIE-HARD FANS

WHO HAVE SUPPORTED THE LIONS THROUGH THICK AND THIN.

I can handle it if the Lions are outplayed by opponents because of the gulf in standards but I cannot stand it when it is because there are players in the team who opted not to give of their all.

SHAME ON YOU, AND MAY YOUR PLAYING CAREERS COME TO A PREMATURE END.

And to Raddy: you have my support. Please wield the axe mercilessly and chop these idiots from the team.

I can live with a weakened Lions team in the Suzuki Cup, and I can live with the idea of us not winning the tournament. Strong teams can always be rebuilt, given time and patience. 

But I cannnot live with the idea of cheats in the team.

So please, Raddy, swing the axe and swing it brutally. Make them feel pain. 

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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11 thoughts on “The three players who cheated the Lions, Singapore and the fans

  1. Me says:

    this is infuriating! axe them!

  2. Gideon Sim says:

    hi ssf,

    yup, its me again. thanks for posting this up! especially since I haven’t had a chance to read the papers today.

    actually, no. there should never have been something like this reported in the newspapers. because it simply should not have happened.

    i share your anger, definitely. however i think i’m more hurt than anything else. unfortunately i was never good enough to play football at any level except the schoolyard recess-time league. but when things like this happen, i cannot help but feel that our fans really “feel” more for the national team than the players actually in the team. in a sense, we “belong” more to the team than they do.

    i’m sad, terribly disappointed. i’m disgusted that i’m proven right in my previous comments about the shambles that the national team is in and the lack of any sort of passion for the team. i think that the entire structure of the footballing system in Singapore that allows our players to take things for granted needs to be overhauled. why are such attitudes towards training, pre-match preparation etc tolerated at all? i think the FAS definitely needs to be a lot more harsh, even ruthless, in clamping down such behavior. more importantly, since behavior is a reflection of attitude, the attitude needs to be changed.

    unfortunately my limited vocabulary does not allow me to fully express how cheated and how betrayed I feel by their behavior. where are the Lions fans in Singapore? as much as I think it is unlikely to happen in safe, risk-averse Singapore, we need to band together and show that we will not allow this to happen, that we will not allow our national team to be taken lightly. the national team is not just another institution, the FAS not just another “stat board.” lets get serious about our football. I still cringe at the memory of getting whacked 4-0 by Malaysia a few years back. it took many years for the pain to go away. some of the players who played in that match are still in the national team today. maybe they’ve forgotten what its like to be jeered off the field in your own country, but if attitudes continue like this, the fans turning against the Lions once again could well be on the cards.

    I apologize for any incoherence in my post. Thinking more from the heart than from the brain.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Hi Gideon

      Good to hear from you again, and yes, I agree with your views and sentiments.
      No incoherence at all, in fact, whatever is written from the heart will always be crystal clear.

      However, I don’t think overhauling the football system in Singapore is an answer. Raddy is stuck with his present lot because it takes time for talent to nurture and there’s no guarantee that the next generation will always be more talented than the previous bunch.

      But sacking the cheats, and exposing them via the media, is probably the best way to drive home the message that playing for the national team is a privilege and an honour, not a God-given right.

      Perhaps a bunch of die-hard fans should indeed stand outside the FAS office with banners to protest against the cheats.

      Regards
      SSF

  3. nigga please says:

    the singapore team sucks. not smoking or waking up early will not save them an ass whooping from the better asian teams.

  4. Gideon Sim says:

    I guess the question that needs to be asked also is why now? Why is this only coming out now? Why is Raddy on submitting his report “soon”? And if the problems began “the day the Lions landed in Amman,” why were they not nipped in the bud? Should the players responsible not have been sent home? Where was team manager Eugene Loo, was it not partly his responsibility to deal with such matters as well? Ultimately it raises more questions than it answers.

    And I just saw this article on the FAS website, which perhaps raises the most questions of the lot http://www.fas.org.sg/default.asp?V_DOC_ID=3494. Appears to be a retraction of everything that was reported, either that or a feeble attempt at a cover-up. Would somebody please tell me what is going on behind the closed doors of the national team? This is disgraceful.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Thanks for pointing this out, Gideon
      Since The Straits Times was the first to report this, then I guess the onus is on them to follow up on this.

      Let’s see how this pans out. For now, it sounds like someone’s gotten cold feet.

  5. KXM says:

    siao sia cant believe it. if they r bench warmers still nt that bad.

  6. PK says:

    Dear SSF and everyone,

    Reading this, and actually knowing 1st hand who these guys are really sinals to me that we as Singaporeans don’t have a sporting culture deep enough, or really the cow sense to realize what it means to be a sportsman, and a national one at that.

    Donning your national jumper should be something you treasure, and strive to play your hearts out. I’ll be blunt – Football players in Singapore are spoilt silly. They get kit and cash to play for their country in a nation where Football is one of the very few team sports here that has so much backing both financially and spiritually as the ‘national game’. Look at Hockey, Rugby and netball for example. These 3 are said to have a little more support than the smaller sports like handball or such, but still – these are all non paid sportsmen playing for the pride of the country. They take time off work, put lives on hold, re arrange marriage and even births if possible so that they can represent their country – and leave it all on the field with little financial support (some bosses even disscourage national representation) or public recognition.

    They play for the pride and passion of what their sport means to them. Call them ‘old school’, but have you ever heard of a national hockey player taking a smoke during half time of a national game? There are smokers in every team, but seriously – if you are that hard core a smoker you should not be fit enough to make the national squad in the first place! I know of pack of day smokers who play recreational rugby for their local clubs, but I have never seen them take a break to smoke during half time – when the game is over that is another story.

    Sorry for the rant, but for me the thing here is a long time coming. We as Singaporeans have spoilt Singapore football into becoming what it is now. Yes we expect the best of them, but are the players themselves convinced that the are the best? We spoilt them with the funding (‘national service’), the attention when we know they are nothing more than a bunch of selfish morons who think playing football is their gift to the world.

    Professional footballers – in name only. How many actually eat and train like pros? If you are a full time player, then its your job right? So you are allowed to go for a smoke in the midst of a job appraisal? I think not – but that is what it ammounts to – at their apprasial, the lions slipped, and really, its a mental thing.

    I know a few national footballers, and really they are making a mockery out of those who came before them. They get paid a salaried wage from their clubs, allowances from the FAS and some have side sponsorships from corporates.What do some of them do all day after training? Watch movies and hang out at prata joints. Take a look at some of the lesser (note lesser) american pro sportsmen – not the Kobes or the Tigers, but those in the USA’s Major League Soccer who have DAY jobs and have to jet around the country and burn their weekends just to play. True, they have beckham and possibly henry in that league, but a large majority are not full time. Yet, they lift weights in the morning, work in the day and head to training at night.

    Maybe I am wrong, but its about time FAS, the Lions and Singapore sport took a old school look at what it means to be paid to play.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Hi PK

      Long time no hear. Welcome back.

      Good rant. I understand what you mean about being old school.

      I have to disagree with you on one point though. You said “Yes we expect the best of them but are the players themselves convinced that they are the best?”

      Yes, I do think they think of themselves as the best. They must think of the world of themselves, surely, and they must have long concluded that they are irreplaceabe. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have had the bare-faced gall to behave so badly in the first place, wouldn’t you agree?

      Regards
      SSF

      • PK says:

        Agree totally SSF, I actually meant that are they performing on the pitch like the best?

        My disgust and fumes got the better of my fingers!

        to have ‘kampung spirit’ is one thing, but to behave like you are still in the kampung is another!

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