Sea change needed for Lions to gain success

Unless a sea change occurs in Singapore football, it is unlikely that we will see a Leicester-like success for the Lions ("Leicester's triumph shows how we can win in life" by Mr Tang Li; May 7, and "Let us make football underdog fairy tale come true" by Mr Henry Choong Kun Lin; May 4).

Former national player Aleksandar Duric has said that too many people involved in running Singapore football don't understand the sport well enough ("Duric lets fly at FAS"; Jan 19).

Indeed, a problem the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) seems to face is not limited funding, but how it spends its financial resources.

For instance, former LionsXII players are paid a salary ranging from $4,000 to $15,000. But do they play well enough to deserve such high pay?

Leicester City won the English Premier League despite having spent considerably less money than England's richest clubs.

The team also consisted of rejects and little-known players, including a part-time factory worker.

In contrast, Singapore's national coach almost never picks amateurs and does not seem to cast his net wide enough. I do wonder how the national team is selected.

When the Lions were assembled for a match in March, Hougang United was at the top of the S-League standings. But none of its players was chosen to represent Singapore.

Surely, national team selection should be based on current form.

Transparency when it comes to disciplinary action against players is also lacking here.

For instance, five players were fined after being caught breaking curfew in 2010, but the FAS chose to hide the identities of the guilty ones despite the public's wishes ("Errant five fined"; Dec 15, 2010).

The Lions can work towards success, but this can be done only if it is supported by the system.

Michael Ang York Poon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2016, with the headline 'Sea change needed for Lions to gain success'. Print Edition | Subscribe