Old-timers relive historic Tiger Cup victory

Top row (from left): Physio Thomas Pang, assistant coach Vincent Subramaniam, head coach Barry Whitbread, Gusta Guzarishah, Lim Soon Seng, S. Subramani, Basri Halis. Bottom row (from left): R. Sasikumar, Rudy Khairon, Nahar Daud, Samawira Basri, team
Top row (from left): Physio Thomas Pang, assistant coach Vincent Subramaniam, head coach Barry Whitbread, Gusta Guzarishah, Lim Soon Seng, S. Subramani, Basri Halis. Bottom row (from left): R. Sasikumar, Rudy Khairon, Nahar Daud, Samawira Basri, team manager Omar Ibrahim, Joseph Pragasam, skipper Nazri Nasir, and sports trainer Ronald Wee.PHOTO: FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

The 1998 Tiger Cup-winning squad gathered at a dinner hosted by the Football Association of Singapore yesterday 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 from England.

The current national team also attended the dinner, and were challenged by Whitbread and FAS vice-president Edwin Tong to play above themselves ahead of the AFF 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."

Sazali Abdul Aziz

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2018, with the headline 'Old-timers relive historic Tiger Cup victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe