Floorball: Singapore beaten but not floored

Nicholas Chua (right) and Rikiya Matsumoto tussling for the ball in Singapore's 4-2 loss to Japan yesterday in the play-off for 15th at the World Floorball Championship.
Nicholas Chua (right) and Rikiya Matsumoto tussling for the ball in Singapore's 4-2 loss to Japan yesterday in the play-off for 15th at the World Floorball Championship.PHOTO: IFF

Singapore captain Syazni Ramlee has insisted that his team will bounce back at next year's SEA Games, after they finished last at the World Floorball Championship yesterday.

They lost 4-2 to Japan in the play-off for 15th place in Prague, making it five wooden spoons in their five appearances in 1996, 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018.

More worryingly, they had also lost 4-3 to Thailand in the 13th to 16th classification semi-final. The Thais finished 14th.

But Syazni said: "Nobody likes to lose but that's the reality now. Our opponents were the better team today. The only way forward is to pick ourselves up and come back stronger.

"As for Thailand, they are not really our concern. It is up to us to work harder to get better results and we want to prepare even better for the SEA Games. We know we are the better team."

Despite the disappointment, world No. 17 Singapore can look back on some positives. They achieved their best group-stage haul of three points (two points for a win) in five WFC outings with a 4-4 draw with Canada (12th) and a 9-5 win over Japan (16th) earlier.

Singapore coach Matti Joutsikoski also remained positive after the latest defeat in front of 1,124 fans at the packed Sparta Arena in Prague, saying: "We are on a journey to become more competitive, and now we have hit a rocky part of this road. But this will make us stronger.

"Clearly different from before, Singapore now play free-flowing, fast floorball with much-improved technical ability.

"We were not able to move Japan's defensive formation enough to find good scoring opportunities. We will need to work on this, particularly how to penetrate tight defensive formations and create enough space and time to score.

"We were one goal away from a place in the top 12. Unfortunately, that draw with Canada meant we missed that target.

"(But) I take courage from our increased ability to hold our own against strong teams like Canada."

Singapore will now turn their sights on the SEA Games after the sport's place in the programme was confirmed last month. They won both the men and women's titles when floorball made its SEA Games debut in Singapore in 2015, but the sport was dropped when Malaysia were hosts last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore beaten but not floored'. Print Edition | Subscribe