It is difficult to believe that a team as dysfunctional as the Lions at this year's AFF Suzuki Cup was the first to be crowned four-time AFF champion, and share the record with Thailand for the most AFF championships ever won.
National caretaker coach V. Sundramoorthy's ultra-defensive tactics prompted the players to make a nervy retreat into their shell against both the Philippines and Thailand.
It seemed to put the entire team on the back foot and triggered a worrying shift in mentality.
The coach's intention to defend in numbers against modest opponents like the Philippines exposed our weaknesses to a huge regional audience.
This tactic frustrated the opposition, our fans as well as the Lions, who played with fear and trepidation. The statistics are embarrassing for the Lions as they scored only one goal in this tournament.
The bigger picture for Sundram is this: His side lost to Indonesia (a country ranked 179th in the world by Fifa) and failed to win against the Philippines, whom we have beaten many times in previous meetings.
A massive rebuilding job is at hand. This is not a squad which only needs a few tweaks here and there before embarking on a serious push for the SEA Games gold medal or another Asean championship in the immediate future.
There are two substantial issues to resolve which are not mutually exclusive: the appointment of a permanent national coach and an injection of genuine talent.
Edmund Khoo Kim Hock