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HomeSportsFootball: Singapore withdraw from Asian Games, Nazri Nasir takes over Young Lions...

Football: Singapore withdraw from Asian Games, Nazri Nasir takes over Young Lions rein – Singapore News

“The past few weeks, the FAS has gone through a period of introspection, and we are right now in the midst of implementing the recommendations from the recent SEA Games review”, said Bernard Tan, FAS acting president.

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SINGAPORE — Singapore will not be sending a football team to the upcoming Asian Games in September, as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) recalibrates its priority on two tournaments, the SEA Games and the 2024 AFC Under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers.  

Following consultations with Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Council, FAS announced in midweek their decision to withdraw from the Asian Games. This decision was based on the post-SEA Games 2023 review released by FAS on July 7th.

In the review, one of the recommendations was for the Young Lions to focus on the two above-mentioned competitions, and for all other tournaments to be regarded as developmental opportunities. FAS acknowledges that unlike other teams in the region, most of Singapore’s age-group players have competing obligations. Should there be a scheduling clash and a suitable squad can’t be formed, FAS will consider withdrawing the team from the competition.

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“The past few weeks, the FAS has gone through a period of introspection, and we are right now in the midst of implementing the recommendations from the recent SEA Games review”, said Bernard Tan, FAS acting president.

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Added Yazeen Buhari, general secretary of the FAS,“Learning from the review, we also considered the preparation time required to get the team ready for each tournament, vis-a-vis the players’ commitments to their clubs, schools, and national service. Given that the Asian Games comes off the back of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers, this makes participation particularly challenging.”

The Asian Games falls outside the FIFA window and takes place in the same month as the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers. Singapore have been drawn in Group C alongside Yemen (Sep 6), Vietnam (Sep 9) and Guam (Sep 12) in the qualifiers. All matches will be played in Vietnam, with the top team in each group guaranteed qualification to the main tournament to be held in Qatar next year.

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FAS has also confirmed the departure of head coach Philippe Aw from the Singapore men’s Under-22 football team. He will be replaced by former national team player Nazri Nasir, who will lead the squad during the AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers. Additionally, Nazri, who is currently the Singapore national team assistant coach, will also be assigned to the Young Lions team in the Singapore Premier League. This will enable him to track the progress and oversee the development of the young footballers.

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“I am aware that this is a hot seat at the moment, given the public sentiments post SEA Games. All my career, I never shy away from difficult challenges, and I asked FAS to let me take a shot at it and laid out what I need to give a good account of ourselves at the tournament as I believe we will have a decent chance. Given the recent changes regarding tournament preparation, I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Nazri following his appointment as head coach of the Singapore men’s Under-22 football team.

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The Young Lions are currently bottom in the nine-team league. They have only won one match, and drawn twice this season, losing the remaining 15 matches. In their previous match, the Young Lions suffered a 4-2 defeat against Balestier Khalsa. This weekend, they will be facing Tampines Rovers at the Jalan Besar Stadium. /TISG

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