Long-term success lies in developing young footballers

It is disappointing that the Football Association of Singapore appears to prefer a short-term fix to the Singapore football problem than to try to achieve long-term success (FAS may turn to FTS again; July 3).

Hougang United head coach Philippe Aw is right - the FAS should be investing its time, energy and resources in developing young footballers instead of bringing in players and naturalising them.

In 2003, within months of his appointment as national coach, Raddy Avramovic called up many young players and selected them for international matches, including Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak who were then only 19.

Both went on to become key members of the national team over the next decade.

Likewise, Avramovic's successor, German Bernd Stange, handed international debuts to many youngsters such as Adam Swandi and Gabriel Quak within weeks of his appointment.

Current national coach V. Sundram Moorthy, however, did not do this. Instead, he preferred to call up many veterans who, while still being good players, do not represent the future of Singapore football.

Lamenting over the lack of naturalised players is simply an excuse. The fact remains that unless we have a quality tactician and motivator like Avramovic or Stange, who both believed in our young attacking players, our Lions will not progress far under an ultra-defensive minded coach like Sundram.

Avramovic and many other top-class coaches are available, and we also have young talented coaches like Aw who believe in youth players and attacking football.

The FAS should not opt for the easy solution. The FAS Council should make the painful but right decision if they genuinely want the Lions to be able to bring 50,000 fans to the National Stadium on a regular basis.

Let us stop giving excuses for the Lions' woeful performances by linking it to the lack of naturalised citizens.

Tan Heng Choon