New football coach won't help if basics are not fixed

National coach V. Sundram Moorthy has nothing to show forhis two years at the helm, in terms of results (Sundram steps down as national football coach; April 10).

During his tenure, we lost to football minnows like Chinese Taipei and our Fifa ratings slid to an all-time low.

Things have gone downhill since 2012.

But can we blame Sundram for playing the same players year in, year out and not getting results? I suspect his hands are tied, as he does not have many to choose from in the first place.

Our national team's spiralling performance stemmed from years of neglect and complacency.

There has been little renewal of talent, with many older players still in the national setup.

I mean no disrespect to the veterans who have served us well, but surely something is terribly wrong with our talent spotting if we are still calling them up after all these years. Are the national scouts watching the National Football League to unearth raw talents? Are we neglecting the age group tournaments?

Our SEA Games squad, which was supposed to be the feeder to the national team, is not up to scratch.

Many times, we have returned home with our tails between our legs after a heavy defeat. It is common to hear youth coaches say that it was a great experience for the boys, but sadly, nothing seems to have been learnt from it.

Are our children given the correct environment to be motivated to play football?

Our failure to recognise the importance of football at the youth and grassroots levels is impeding our progress.

The road ahead for Singapore football is rough and bumpy.

Unless we get our fundamentals correct, let us not live under the illusion that we can do well soon and that the next national coach will not face the same struggle.

David Tan Kok Kheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 15, 2018, with the headline 'New football coach won't help if basics are not fixed'. Print Edition | Subscribe