Monday, December 22, 2008


Post Vietnam thoughts

Football fans demand just one thing. They expect their team to be fully committed. 100%. Anything less than that is not acceptable. Give the maximum and defeat is acceptable. It's the beauty and simplicity of the game where someone has to lose.

Singapore fans should not be too distraught after losing to Vietnam yesterday. They played well in front of a decent crowd of 48,000. Vietnam hardly had a look in but they scored. It happens. There is no logic to explain because the game of football defies logic.

Possession maybe 90% of the law but in football it counts for shit. No medals for keepball.

As ever following a defeat fans and media look for scapegoats but Raddy knows that his Lions didn't lose 'cos of one player or one error. They lost because over 180' minutes they failed to score.

Deprived of Khairul Amri before the competition and Aleksander Duric during it Raddy also had a Noh Alam Shah short of game time. Options up top were limited.

NAS showed all the passion and guts we have come to expect from this supremely gifted talent. He closed down, he challenged, he flew into tackles, he threw himself at the ball, he was was always in the Vietnamese players faces and of course every melee saw the straw haired striker involved somewhere.

Bullying Cambodia or Myanmar is one thing but when it cames to the 'better' nations Singapore did struggle at times. Two goals in three games against Indonesia and Vietnam tells its own story and perhaps Raddy will be looking at the fact that neither goal came from open play.

Now he will be analysing the games before turning his attention to the Asian Cup qualifiers. He knows the score, the fine line between glory and ignomy. He won't be worrying too much about some of the more hysterical responses in the media.

After the game it was great to see a few fans hanging round waiting for the players to leave. What was even better was to see NAS at the back of the bus taking pictures of the fans. It was also good to see Aleksander Duric hobbling round and posing for pictures after the game with supporters.

Talking of the fans, was it me or did the volume, never particulary high, disappear after Vietnam score. Certainly gaps soon started appearing around the satdium and you could say that at the time when the Lions needed the support from the terraces the terraces responded by turning their backs and heading for the exit.

48,000 turned up for the game expecting a win. Most would countenance anything else. How many of the were at the friendly against Vietnam back in November? How many of them will be attracted to the SLeague next year? Or does defeat mean they are no longer interested?

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