The Straits Times
Published on Dec 06, 2012

Where's the respect?


AT THE Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup match between Singapore and Indonesia on Nov 28, all Team Singapore officials on the pitch, bar one, acknowledged the National Anthem by placing their right hands over their hearts.

The exception was national coach Raddy Avramovic.

Although he is not a Singaporean, and no one would expect him to sing Majulah Singapura, one would have expected, given his key post and as a gesture of solidarity, that he would have at least held hand over heart.

Moreover, such gestures are not unusual among foreign coaches of other national teams, who do so not only to show oneness but also as a gesture of respect to the country.

Mr Avramovic's behaviour stands in stark contrast to a video I watched regarding another national coach, the late Choo Seng Quee. The video described how the late Singaporean coach rejected job offers from Malaysia because it was his dream to coach the Singapore team.

It also showed how he instilled discipline in the players, which included requiring them to sing the National Anthem at each training session; and making them feel proud to be representing Singapore.

Uncle Choo, as diehard football fans know him, transformed his players into true Lions.

Not all his methods may be appropriate today. But, if Singapore is to regain its former glory, we need to make the players feel proud that they are wearing national colours and that they are representing Singapore.

Patrick Tan