CP Lions finish fourth, winning hearts and minds

They harried their opponents, chased each loose ball and covered every blade of grass, and at the end of their bronze medal match, Singapore's cerebral palsy (CP) football coach Mohamed Zainudeen had three simple words to describe his team — "Nobody gives up".

Despite a 4-0 defeat to Causeway rivals Malaysia, which meant they finished fourth in the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, the CP Footballers' indomitable spirit on the pitch was clear to everyone, prompting cheers even from the Malaysian supporters after the match.

Three early goals in the first 20 minutes of the game put the Malaysians in firm control but our TeamSG CP Footballers 

continued to press even towards the end of the match, resulting in a series of chances. ​

He was struggling, but he's a brave boy. He still wanted to play

A long range effort from Khairul Anwar beat the Malaysian goalkeeper but not the defender on the line, while skipper Muhammad Mubarak saw his curling shot rebound off the bar in the late stages of the game.

Singapore's never-say-die spirit was epitomised by Mubarak, who was playing with an injured knee sustained earlier in the tournament.

"He was struggling, but he's a brave boy," said coach Zainudeen. "He still wanted to play."

The team's top scorer in the tournament with three goals, Mubarak expressed his disappointment at the result but urged the team to continue to keep fighting. 

Singapore goalkeeper Peter Kam makes a smart stop

They had finished with bronze in the last edition of the Games held in Singapore, beating Malaysia 2-1.

"I was hungry, I just wanted the ball so much and wanted to find the net. I just wanted to win for my team.

"I'm disappointed for this last game but at the same time I believe this team has given everything they have," he said. "They worked hard all these years, and I believe we will stick together.

"We will look forward to APG 2019, we just have to soldier on and will come back stronger" 

Story and photos used with the permission of Team Singapore. 

For more coverage of the 29th ASEAN Para Games, go to https://www.myactivesg.com/team-singapore/read.