Football: Lions coach Stange gives up hope of reaching 2015 Asian Cup finals

Singapore's national team coach Bernd Stange. Stange on Monday conceded that Singapore's hopes of reaching the 2015 AFC Asian Cup finals are all but over. -- NP FILE PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Singapore's national team coach Bernd Stange. Stange on Monday conceded that Singapore's hopes of reaching the 2015 AFC Asian Cup finals are all but over. -- NP FILE PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

National football coach Bernd Stange on Monday conceded that Singapore's hopes of reaching the 2015 AFC Asian Cup finals are all but over.

"Nobody can catch Oman and Jordan in this group - they are too good," the German, 65, said.

The Lions play their penultimate Group A qualifier against Jordan at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow. Their final fixture is a trip to leaders Oman on March 5.

For the Lions - ranked 149th in the world - anything less than victory over the 72nd-ranked Jordanians will effectively end their hopes of reaching next year's finals in Australia. Singapore are bottom of the group with three points while Jordan are in second place with six.

Stange, however, said that the tie is less about the result than an opportunity to see the national team in action for the first time in over two months. The Lions' last game was a 4-0 defeat by Syria in November.

"I'm curious to see how the team can perform again very strong opposition after a long break," he said.

Captain Shahril Ishak, on the other hand, is hoping to emulate October's shock 2-1 victory over the Syrians, who are third in the group with four points.

"Syria are on the same level as Jordan and we managed to surprise them," the 30-year-old attacking midfielder said.

"That game made us believe that nothing is impossible."

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