Stange demands higher level of professionalism from Singapore football

Singapore Selection head coach Bernd Stange believes Singaporean players have to work harder to win over sceptical local fans after they were handed a 0-5 lesson by Serie A champions Juventus at the National Stadium on Saturday.

“As long as the players are not good and skilful enough, why should I spend money for football? That is the wrong way to look at it.” he said at the post-match press conference.

The German said the half-filled 55,000-capacity venue showed that more work needed to be done to bring Singapore football forward on and off the pitch.

“Juventus had capacity crowds in Indonesia and Australia, so I am not proud of having 30,000 today as I believe it should be fully crowded,” he said.

“This is the first time in my career that I have coached against top-quality opposition in such high-class venues that is not played to capacity.

“We don’t want to just have fantastic stadium and an eventual fine pitch, we need full professionalism.

“Our current players are semi-professionals or even amateurs as they have work, school and national service commitments.”

Stange further pointed how superior facilities, training technique and mentality had seen Andrea Pirlo and company stamp their dominance over the hosts and highlighted the need for local football to up its level.

“If the players are not available and the facilities are poor, then it is very difficult to compare to Juventus,” he said.

“We can currently play in Southeast Asia but we need to work harder to match the level of Juventus.

“For them to score such goals like Juventus did with a volley off a corner, that’s training and they worked on it twice a day.

“We gave away presents in the first-half with a free kick and penalty, and were founding in speed and power while they upped theirs in the second half.”

Stange highlighted two lessons the local football scene could take from this defeat.

“The first lesson is full professional training for our players and we need more practice,” he said.

“The second lesson is to continue our way of playing possession-based football, with the move starting from the goalkeeper. Such a football lesson from Juventus can only help us further.”