Asean Para Games: Twin blows from Thai loss

Singapore's cerebral palsy football team have four players injured after going down 0-5

Thailand's Sanya Suksang (left) scoring past Singapore goalkeeper Firdaus Nor. The Thais played attacking football and Sanya netted twice in the 5-0 win.
Thailand's Sanya Suksang (right) scoring past Singapore goalkeeper Firdaus Nor. The Thais played attacking football and Sanya netted twice in the 5-0 win. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

After the euphoria of an opening day win over Indonesia and going down with all guns blazing against Myanmar, Singapore's cerebral palsy football team are now counting the cost of injuries following their 0-5 loss to Thailand yesterday.

Praised for their fighting spirit and the individual brilliance of scoring-defender Khairul Anwar, the seven-a-side team have four men on the treatment table ahead of their final round-robin match against Malaysia today.

Coach Mohamed Zainudeen lamented: "It's tough. The team were carrying a lot of injuries and we don't have a strong bench so it's really tough for us."

Although the tactician still has six reserves, he face an anxious wait to see if his four regulars are fit enough to carry on today after three matches in four days took a heavy toll.

Skipper Khairul and vice-captain Mubarak Rastam are carrying knee injuries while Abdul Mahdi was sent to Changi General Hospital for observation after a clash of heads.

To make things worse, goalkeeper Firdaus Nor had to be replaced at half-time against Thailand owing to an ankle knock.

After the setback, Singapore, with one victory and two defeats, can no longer qualify for the gold-medal match.

Against Thailand, Khairul, who has lit up the National Stadium with his powerful left foot, was in discomfort due to pain in his right leg.

The 29-year-old tried his trademark halfway-line lob to no avail and, even when played as a striker, he was unable to break down Thailand's defence.

Zainudeen said: "Mubarak was a question mark (after the Myanmar) game but he told me before this game that he was okay.

"But you could see he was struggling throughout the game.

"We tried to change some things at half-time but they didn't work.

"It's tough."

Thailand's coach Anusorn Pim-nga observed that the Republic played well below their peak.

His team's strategy of pinning down Mubarak and Khairul worked. He said: "They looked slow and tired today. We saw them play (against Myanmar) yesterday and knew that they were injured.

"We marked them very closely today so even Khairul - on his own - couldn't do much."

Khairul said: "Today's game was very challenging, similar to the Myanmar game, but we gave our best."

Backed by goals form Sanya Suksang (24th and 46th minutes), Paisan Saechao (30th) and Nattapong Wanna (44th and 55th), the Thais ripped apart Singapore's defence.

Zainudeen said: "Nattapong, their C8 player, gave us (the defenders) a lot of problems.

"We couldn't handle him."

Myanmar drew 0-0 with Indonesia yesterday - which means that Myanmar (two wins and a draw) and Thailand (three wins) go through to the gold-medal match.

Malaysia (one win and two losses) and Singapore will fight for bronze on Wednesday, which makes their match today inconsequential.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline 'TWIN BLOWS FROM THAI LOSS'. Subscribe