Defiant Tardy confident Singapore youngsters on track for success

Barring a minor miracle, Singapore will bow out of the SEA Games in the group stage for the second straight time, but coach Richard Tardy believes the country’s stocks of young talent are well placed for future success.

Addressing the media after his team took three points for the first time in their stuttering 2017 SEA Games campaign with a 2-0 win over Laos at Selayang Stadium, Tardy reiterated his viewpoint that his players are still very young and need more experience to challenge for honours.

Imagine what this team can do in another two years with 50 per cent of the team intact

- Richard Tardy

He said, “There was big pressure because we lost the first two games and people were talking bad about the results.

“But don’t forget that our team is very young, the youngest team in this tournament, and most of them will play in the next SEA Games.

“They will learn from the experience and be better players in two years.”

Tardy pointed to the progress of team captain Irfan Fandi, who played in the last SEA Games and is now representing the senior national team, as a reason for his optimism.

The under-22 coach is confident the building blocks are in place.

Ikhsan has taken a step forward in Malaysia

“Imagine what this team can do in another two years with 50 per cent of the team intact,” he said.

“In the first game (against Myanmar), we played with eight players under the age of 20 and in the second game (against Malaysia) with seven players under the age of 20 and today with five or six players under 20.”

Ikhsan Fandi, Singapore’s standout player in the tournament so far, is only 18

“So while we are playing for the present in this competition, we are also playing for the future, preparing for the future and sometimes future success comes with some losses in the present,” Tardy concluded.

The Young Lions are sitting third in Group A and face Brunei in their final group match on Wednesday.

They need to win that game and hope Malaysia lose their final two matches against Myanmar and Laos to have any hope of reaching the semi-finals. 

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo