Tag Archives: Precious Emuejeraye

Lions crash out of Suzuki Cup, but frankly, it could be the best thing to happen to Singapore football

The Lions crashed out of the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup after losing 0-1 to Vietnam tonight, the first time they have done so since 2002.

Frankly, this outcome was probably the best thing to happen.

I don’t think I could have gone on watching the Lions in this tournament without feeling more and more unhappy and dissatisfied with the state of the national team.

Let’s not beat around the bush: Singapore football has returned to the dark ages. From two consecutive Cup wins to a semi-final exit in 2008, and now this, a group stage exit. If this is not the most apt symbol for going backwards, then I don’t know what is.

We’ve returned to the late 90s and early years of the new millennium when the likes of Nasri Nasir, Rafi Ali and Zulkarnaen Zainal ruled the roost but couldn’t take the Lions forward anymore.

But what really hurt this time was watching some of our national players in action. Noh Alam Shah, Ridhuan Muhammad, Baihakki Khaizan and Precious Emuejeraye ere the worst culprits.

While Precious has always been a poor defender, one cannot help wondering what has happened to the first three in recent times.

They’ve played so poorly this time that one just cannot help wondering whether they were intentionally doing so in order to save themselves from injury and return to their Indonesian Super League clubs fully fit.

Or have they become so big-headed as a result of their being treated like stars in the ISL that they’ve come to think of themselves as the Untouchables, players who will always be picked to play regardless of form?

When the Lions suffer in defence because of injury to Daniel Bennett, lack bite in midfield because of the absence of Shi Jiayi and John Wilkinson, and have to rely on Aleksandar Duric and Agu Cashmir to deliver the goals, the state of local football can only be truly classified as really bad.

Really, let’s be frank here: how well would we have really done in the last two years without these naturalised citizens taking to the field as our Lions?

In other words, these naturalised citizens have been the strips of  duct tape that have been holding up the torn and tattered shell that is the national team all this while.

Which brings me to my next point – it is also probably time for national coach Raddy Avramovic to go.

I think he deserves a medal for what he has done for Singapore football, but I think he has also come to the end of the road as the man tasked with taking Singapore football to the next level.

We will need a new man at the helm, someone who comes in with a clean slate, with no biases, no attachments to players that were groomed during his tenure, and who can call a spade a spade.

We need someone with the guts to cull the laggards. Most importantly, we need to give this new man time to cast a fresh eye on the talent of the land and give him our blessings to take risks with new emerging talents and groom his new generation of Lions.

Does he have to be a foreigner? Maybe not.

I see some promising local coaches in the national set-up who can do the job if they are allowed to do their job, and pick their own players without interference from their bosses.

Bottom line: it hurts to see the Lions going out. But this could also be a blessing in disguise.

Let’s just hope the Football Association of Singapore has the f***king guts to do what is necessary.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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The Philippines’ 2-0 win over Vietnam spells doom for Singapore’s progress in the Suzuki Cup

The reports:

Here are the reports for Singapore’s crucial last-minute win over Myanmar and the Philippines’ shock 2-0 victory over Vietnam.

Both are taken from the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 official website.

My thoughts:

Looks like I got all my predictions in my previous post all wrong.

Unfortunately, while I am happy that Singapore won to keep their hopes in the AFF Suzuki Cup alive, I think the Lions will come to the end of the road in their third and final group match against hosts Vietnam.

Yes, the Philippines did shockingly beat Vietnam 2-0 to throw Group B wide open, but the result now means that Vietnam MUST beat Singapore on Wednesday to advance.

And I really don’t fancy our chances — not after looking at how Vietnam torn Myanmar apart 7-1, and how they played overall despite conceding two dubious-looking goals against the Philippines, and contrasting those performances to Singapore’s displays against the Philippines and Myanmar.

My Dinh Stadium will be packed to the  gills with 40,000 fanactical Vietnam fans on Wednesday – and I cannot fathom the Vietnam team letting their fans down a second time on home soil.

Singapore’s second-half performance against Myanmar offers a glimmer of hope but it means that Raddy Avramovic must really be bold and field the same side that took to the field after the break.

In other words, he  has to axe Noh Alam Shah and Ridhuan Muhammad, both of whom were really poor in the first half.

I don’t understand why Alam Shah is playing so badly. Yesterday, he seemed more interested in spoiling for a fight than playing. This is the fourth game in a row that he’s been poor.

(An aside: I think it is a sad statement about the state of the Lions that we had to be rescued from defeat by Myamnar by two naturalised players, one of whom is a 40-year-old, and the other who was on the bench, whereas two of our top players, who are supposedly stars in the Indonesian Super League, were just so disappointingly anonymous when it came to the crunch).

And let’s keep our fingers crossed that Daniel Bennett recovers from his knee injury in time for Wednesday’s game because the lumbering Precious Emuejeraye is only going to be left exposed time and again by the fleet-footed Vietnamese.

But at the end of the day, I still can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel for the Lions. Once again,  I hope to be proven wrong.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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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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