Singapore could co-host this year's Suzuki Cup
They were booted out of the AFF Suzuki Cup on home soil, by arch-rivals Malaysia, just over 15 months ago.
Now, it has emerged that the Singapore football team may be given a shot at redemption as co-hosts earlier than expected.
Yesterday, the Asean Football Federation (AFF) announced on its website that the Philippines had withdrawn as co-hosts of the 2016 tournament, slated for year's end.
It added that the AFF Competitions Committee will meet at the earliest opportunity to discuss the matter, and that a decision on the replacement host country will be made by the AFF Council at its next meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, on March 12.
The New Paper understands that Singapore, along with Malaysia and Vietnam, are in the running to replace the Philippines as co-hosts, alongside Myanmar.
Singapore and Vietnam co-hosted the last Suzuki Cup in 2014.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) did not shed much light in response to queries, with a spokesman only saying it was "unfortunate that Philippines have decided to give up their hosting rights", before repeating AFF's statement that a decision will be made next month.
The Lions are eager for the chance to make amends after the disappointment of 2014.
"I really hope we get it," said midfield powerhouse Hariss Harun, mindful of how so many football-mad Singaporeans have become disillusioned with the Lions.
"It would be an opportunity for us to set the record straight."
Wide man Hafiz Abu Sujad added: "It's a chance to redeem ourselves after the last outing. God willing, if it happens, then we have to step up not just for our own sakes, but for the fans, too."
According to various reports in the country, the Philippines Football Federation (PFF) had to surrender their hosting rights after an inspection by tournament-rights holder Lagardere Sports.
Tournament regulations require a minimum 30,000-seat capacity stadium for primary venues of group-stage matches, and the Rizal Memorial Stadium, which was slated to host matches, can seat up to only 15,000.
The Philippines Sports Stadium, opened in late 2014, also does not fit the bill as it has only a 20,000 capacity.
Singapore hosted the 2014 edition of the Suzuki Cup at the 55,000-seater National Stadium at the Sports Hub, which was opened in July that year.
In what was supposed to be a grand occasion at their spectacular new venue, led by new coach Bernd Stange, the Lions flopped in their defence of the regional crown they won two years earlier.
Defeats by Thailand (2-1) and Malaysia (3-1), which sandwiched a 4-2 win over Myanmar, ensured that they were dumped out of the competition at the group stage.
I really hope we get it... It would be an opportunity for us to set the record straight.
— Singapore midfielder Hariss Harun (above, left, celebrating with Faris Ramli after scoring in the 4-2 win over Myanmar in the 2014 Suzuki Cup)