Singapore U-23 football team misses out on Asian Games spot; FAS to 'continue discussions' for appeal

Singapore U-23 football team misses out on Asian Games spot; FAS to 'continue discussions' for appeal

Singapore Myanmar U23
File photo of the Singapore-U23 team in Yangon. (Photo: Singapore Lions Under-23/ Facebook) 

SINGAPORE: The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will "continue our  discussions" with the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore (SportSG) in its appeal to get their nomination to the Asian Games approved, it told Channel NewsAsia late on Wednesday (May 30). 

The statement was made in response to queries after it emerged that the Singapore Under-23 team had failed to gain a nomination from the SNOC to participate in the upcoming Asian Games. 

The SNOC earlier on Wednesday released a list of 246 athletes from 22 sports who made the first cut, but football was left out of the list. 

Channel NewsAsia understands that the results put forward by the FAS do not meet SNOC's criteria. For athletes to receive a nomination, they have to meet the "selection criteria of a sixth-place finish at the Asian level", said SNOC. 

Athletes and National Sports Associations have until Jun 15 to meet the qualifying mark. 

The Singapore U-23 team did not make it past the group stages of the previous Asian Games, finishing third in their group behind Palestine and Tajikistan. 

In last year's SEA Games, they failed to advance from the group stages, finishing behind Malaysia and Myanmar. 

In March, they lost 3-0 to their Indonesian counterparts. They also suffered losses to Cambodia and Timor Leste in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy competition, exiting at the semi-finals stage. 

The Young Lions have been doing well in the Singapore Premier League so far under the guidance of Fandi Ahmad however. After nine matches played, they are in fourth, with three wins and draws. 

Players in the Singapore U-23 team include Fandi's two older sons Irfan and Ikhsan, as well as midfielders Hami Syahin and Adam Swandi. All four are considered to be the future mainstays of the senior national team. 

FAS's head of national teams management, Mr Eric Ong, said that the team should be given a chance to compete in the Asian Games as "playing top quality opponents ... is key for the team to further enhance its competitiveness and development". 

"We are working closely with the Singapore National Olympic Council and Sport Singapore on our selection for the 2018 Asian Games. The Asian Games is important in the lead-up to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and the 2020 Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship, which serves as the qualifier for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo," said Mr Ong. 

Source: CNA/ng(aj)

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