Tag Archives: Lionel Lewis

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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Singapore v Iran – Then and Now *Shudder*

Twenty nine years ago, Singapore took on Iran twice in the Asia Group Three pre-Olympic Games qualifying competition.

Singapore and Iran aside, the other countries in the tournament were India, North Korea, Sri Lanka and China.

All the teams had to face one another in a round-robin format.

Subsequently, the top two teams at the end of the round-robin matches will face off in a final, with the winner clinching the sole qualifying ticket to the Olympics.

Singapore lost 0-3 to Iran in its round-robin match. However, the Lions captured the nation’s imagination when it defeated giants North Korea 3-1 and China 1-0.

Singapore also defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 and India 1-0 to finish second in the group and earn a final play-off against Iran.

On the other hand, Iran got its campaign off to a slow start when it drew 0-0 with North Korea and 2-2 with China.

But it defeated India 2-0, Singapore 3-0 and then smacked Sri Lanka 11-0 to finish top of the table.

In the final, Singapore,s despite a 60,000-strong crowd, proved to be no match for the Iranians who romped home 4-0.

Coached by Jita Singh, the Singapore squad then included the following players:

Goalkeeper: Edmund Wee. Defenders: Jeffrey Lazaroo, Syed Mutalib, Hasli Ibrahim, Samad Allapitchay. Midfielders: Lim Tang Boon, Hashim Hosni, Rahim Hussein. Strikers; Wong Kok Choy, Mohammed Noh, Fandi Ahmad.

Fast forward to 14 Jan 2009.

Singapore took on Iran in their opening Asian Cup Group E qualifying competition in Teheran. And subsequently lost 0-6. The result is national coach Raddy Avramovic’s second biggest trouncing since losing 0-7 to Oman in 2004.

The Singapore team was made up of:

Goalkeeper: Lionel Lewis. Defenders: Precious Emuejeraye, Daniel Bennett, Ismail Yunus, Baihakki Khaizan. Midfielders: Mustafic Fahruddin, John Wilkinson (who was subsequently replaced by Agu Cashmir), Isa Halim and Shahril Ishak. Strikers: Indra Sahdan (who was subsequently replaced by Muhammad Ridhuan) and Noh Alam Shah.

Here’s something I can’t figure out:

How was it that back in 1980, an all-local Singapore team still managed to stop Iran at four goals, whereas our modern-day Lions team, which included five naturalised citizens, just collapsed 0-6 to Iran?

What does it say about the playing standards of our Lions? Has it deteriorated that badly over the past three decades, that we end up being slaughtered by Iran, even with foreign talents on board. What does this say about the quality of our naturalised talents?

Are some of them really that good or have they been appearing to be good players because they have been performing in a sea of S-League mediocrity all this while?  

Finally, I really shudder at the thought of what the score would have been like if we had fielded a team made up of only local, natural-born Singaporeans against Iran.

I think the score would have been 9 or 10-0.

This is one of the reasons why the Foreign Talent Scheme can be so deceiving. The Football Association of Singapore has clearly used it to paper over the cracks and hide the harsh truth of the situation: that local footballing standards are really abysmal without the help of imported foreign talents.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

14 Jan 2009 – Newslfash: Singapore go down 0-6 to Iran in Asian Cup qualifying opener

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One-dimensional Singapore crash to Vietnam at Kallang, bow out of Suzuki Cup semis

Singapore  lost 0-1 to Vietnam in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup sem-final at the National Stadium tonight. The result means that Vietnam will now advance to the final after holding Singapore to a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Hanoi a few days back.

Vietnam clinched the final berth after Nguyen Quang Hai scored the winner in the 76th minute. The result means that Singapore – champions in 2004 and 206 – has now lost the chance to become the first three-time winner of the Asean Championships.

Here’s a report from Channel News Asia:

Football: Vietnam advance to AFF Suzuki Cup Final

 

SINGAPORE : Vietnam advanced to the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup after defeating Singapore 1-0 in the second leg semi-final at the National Stadium on Sunday.Vietnam and Singapore had played to a goalless draw in the first leg semi-final on Wednesday.

 

Singapore‘s heroics came to naught when Vietnam‘s Nguyen Quang Hai scored in the 76th minute.Vietnam good luck in the final.”Vietnam will play against Thailand in the final.

It was a sea of red at the National Stadium as the home crowd turned out to support their team.

The game started off fast and furious in the early stages, with Noh Alam Shah attempting two near goals within the first 10 minutes.

But tempers flared as the match got more tense with Shah and Shahril Ishak receiving yellow cards.

Quick thinking by Pham Thanh Luong saved the Vietnamese side from scoring an own goal.

But intense pressure from both sides resulted in the first half of the match ending in a goalless draw.

Radojko Avramovic, coach, Singapore Football Team, said: “Everyone was trying hard, everyone was trying on that field. From that side, I really can’t complain. I wish

Thailand had defeated Indonesia 2-1 in the second leg semi-final match on Saturday night in Bangkok. – CNA/ms

My thoughts:

1. It was an evenly-fought game but Vietnam, in my opinion, came out the deserving winner because of the attractive flowing football they dished out. The goal they scored in the 75th minute was a fitting example of the sort of stylish football they played.

On a quick counter-attack, a wonderful exchange of passes resulted in striker Le Cong Vinh eventually speeding down the left flank and shimmying his way past Ismail Yunos into the box.

He then cut a pass across the face of goal as goalkeeper Lionel Lewis desperately came out to cover the angle. And all an oncoming Nguyen needed to do after beating a lumbering Precious Emuejeraye for speed and entering the box, was to tap the ball into the empty net.

2. My man of the match though was Noh Alam Shah for playing with so much heart, fire,spirit and determination. And when the final whistle blew, I just felt so sorry for him.

And despite his irritaing time-wasting and injury-feigning tactics, Vietnam goalkeeper Duong Hong Son came a close second behind Alam Shah with his commanding display beween the posts – and for that hat-trick of saves he pulled off in the 84th minute.

He first incredibly kept out Mustafic Fahrudin’s header with a one-handed save before recovering quicky to swat the loose air-ball away before Mstafic could head it again. The oose ball fell to Muhammad Ridhuan who sent a cross in – and Duong was there again to punch it away to safety.

On the other hand, Agu Cashmir was truly crap. So was Precious whose lack of speed and slowness on the turn were once again clearly exposed by the Viets.

One just cannot help feeling that these two naturalised citizens, supposedly among the best players in our local S-League, are gradually passing their prime to the point that they are no longer the sort of players that the Lions can count on for the big games. 

One comes away with the impression that they are only able to shine against minor sides like Laos and Cambodia and don’t have the skill to play against tougher teams.

3. Before the game, The New Paper quoted Vietnam coach Henrique Castilo as saying he did not like Singapore’s long-ball tactics. Truth be told, I didn’t like them either as I watched the game tonight. Singapore’s play was so one-dimensional and clueless that it seemed as though the Lions didn’t know how else to play except by hoofing the ball into the Vietnamese final third and then hoping for the best.

It was like watching Wimbledon in action in the early 1990s.  

Castilo also said to goal.com before the game: “The truth is that I am not surprised with the way Singapore played in Hanoi. That was  the third game we have played against them and Singapore cannot play any better.”

In light of how the Lions played tonight, Castilo’s words certainly had the bitter taste of truth about them.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

18 Dec – AFF Suzuki Cup: Singapore escapes with 0-0 semi-final draw despite embarrassingly poor show

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