They were written off, derided by their own fans but the class of 98 rose above to triumph in the Tiger Cup. Where are they now? FourFourTwo takes a look.
No one gave Singapore a chance, but an all local-born squad managed to exceed all expectations that year to pick up a maiden ASEAN title.
A sweet 2-0 victory against neighbours Malaysia set them on their way as they proceeded to draw 0-0 with Vietnam and thump Laos 4-1 to finish top of their group.
Back in those days, the knockout stages were played on a one-leg basis. Singapore edged Indonesia 2-1 in the semi-finals, but were rated as underdogs against hosts Vietnam for the finale.
Nonetheless the Lions managed to silence the home crowd with a 1-0 win and lift the trophy for the first time.
So, where are those Singaporean heroes now?
Then just 24 years old, Rezal impressed between the sticks throughout the tournament – including pulling off a series of saves to deny Vietnam in the final.
The 1.83m tall goalkeeper went on to enjoy a successful club career, winning a number of trophies with SAFFC (now Warriors FC) and Tampines Rovers before joining Woodlands Wellington in 2009.
He subsequently re-joined the Warriors the following year as a player-goalkeeper coach and deputised for Shahril Jantan for a few games in the 2012 season as a 38-year-old, before officially retiring.
Rezal joined Hougang United in 2013 as a goalkeeper coach but left after just a season.
Widely recognised as one of Singapore’s goalkeeping greats alongside David Lee, he is now coaching schools like Carol Primary, Fengshan Primary and Tanjong Katong Secondary, head of goalkeeping at JSSL Arsenal as well as working as a part-time driving instructor.