FAS slams Singapore's SEA Games capitulation

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has released a damning assessment of the country’s SEA Games performance and slammed the conduct of team officials following a comprehensive review.

The Young Lions entered this year’s competition optimistic of a first SEA Games gold medal, but instead crashed out in the group stage after defeats to Myanmar and Indonesia.

Coach Aide Iskander resigned immediately after the tournament, with the FAS then embarking upon a mission to determine the key factors behind the poor showing.

It released the findings late on Wednesday, declaring the under-fire organisation had offered “extremely strong support” to the team, instead stating the performance “was largely down to application”.

“The Football Association of Singapore's Executive Committee (ExCo) met on Tuesday evening to review the National Under-23 team's South-East Asian (SEA) Games 2015 campaign,” the statement read.

“In addition to the post-competition reports submitted by the technical team and key backroom staff, the FAS also sought inputs from many others involved to arrive at a comprehensive and balanced perspective of the many factors that affected the performance of the team.

“The FAS noted that the under-23 team had received extremely strong support – both from within the FAS and from external parties – for the past two-and-a-half years.

“While more resources will always be preferred, the FAS believes that what was offered was sufficient. The level of support was not a key issue. Rather, it was largely down to the application.”

The statement also listed a series of changes that will be made for future tournaments, including reviewing tactics, management decisions and training schedules.

It also pledged to review communication issues between management, technical staff and support staff.

There had been whispers on Wednesday that national team coach Bernd Stange, who became embroiled in a war of words with Iskander in the wake of the under-23 team’s meek exit, was set to lose his job.

The German has seemingly survived the review, although he did come in for some strong criticism over his public spat with Iskander. Stange may not be out of hot water yet, however, as the statement added that negative public comments violated the FAS’ code of conduct.

“The FAS acknowledges that the Singapore public, as it should, expected more from its team during the SEA Games,” the statement read. “Ultimately, it is the duty of the FAS to lift all those involved, learn from the events and ensure that our national team returns stronger to make Singaporeans proud in future editions of the SEA Games.

“This will remain our focus. Lastly, while the FAS understands that emotions have run high, the FAS is hugely disappointed that key staff have taken to the press to engage in a public spat.

 “This not only violates the spirit of teamwork and respect that the FAS seeks to actively promote within its organisation, but also explicitly violates the FAS Code of Conduct and Terms of Employment Contract.”

Photo credit: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo