Football: Singapore's Tiger Cup Class of '98 gather to celebrate historic triumph

Members of the 1998 Tiger Cup-winning squad gathered at a dinner hosted by the Football Association of Singapore to mark 20 years since their triumph.
Members of the 1998 Tiger Cup-winning squad gathered at a dinner hosted by the Football Association of Singapore to mark 20 years since their triumph.PHOTO: FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Members of the 1998 Tiger Cup-winning squad gathered at a dinner hosted by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Wednesday (Sept 5) night at the Oasia Hotel, to mark 20 years since their triumph.

The team's unlikely success - which came on the back of a poor run of results and several off-the-pitch disruptions - was Singapore's first international football title.

Fifteen members of the 23-strong squad were present, including R Sasikumar, scorer of the winning goal in the final and head coach Barry Whitbread, who paid his own trip here.

The current national team was also in attendance at the dinner, and was challenged by Whitbread and FAS vice-president Edwin Tong to play above themselves ahead of the Suzuki Cup (the re-named Tiger Cup) in November.

Tong recalled that he was in London when the 1998 team won their final match against hosts Vietnam, and told the current batch: "Remember that you carry not just the flag on your shoulder, but also the dreams and aspirations of an entire country."

FAS general secretary Yazeen Buhari added: "The Class of '98 achieved a significant milestone in the history of Singapore football in the international arena

"If we look back at the issues and challenges they overcame then, it was truly a massive achievement.

"Today we celebrated with these legends, and this team, as with the rest of our past players, will always be part of our family."