Sport Singapore chief slams football fans, urges them to back their team

Recent results for Singapore's SEA Games football team have made for grim reading. But the Republic's top sports executive called on fans to "show your mettle and come out in force" to support the struggling national Under-23 squad.

SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) exco chairman Lim Teck Yin, who is also Sport Singapore's CEO, admitted that Aide Iskandar's charges are under "a lot of pressure" following a 1-8 mauling by Japan's Olympic team, a 1-2 defeat by Syria's U-23s and a 1-3 loss to regional minnows Cambodia's U-22 side this year. Coupled with poor displays from the senior Lions and their U-22 counterparts, Singapore's national teams are still searching for their first win this year.

Yet Lim, a former national water polo player, is urging true fans of Singapore football to back the Young Lions. He told The Straits Times on Wednesday: "Our SEA Games team is training hard and trying to do their best. For fans, it's your turn now to step up.

"For a fan to say 'you perform then I come', it's sort of saying you're not quite a fan. Fans are there for the highs and lows - they lift the team when they are low.

"Singapore's pride is at stake and regardless of how good or bad they are, this is our team."

Lim was speaking after leading President Tony Tan Keng Yam on his first tour of the Sports Hub in Kallang, where they met national athletes who are training for the Games.

The Young Lions have been grouped with Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines for the June 5-16 extravaganza. The football tournament will kick off on May 29, with tickets going on sale on May 6.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg