Aide quits after Young Lions bow out of Games
Young Lions' SEA Games adventure crashes amid tears, FAS chief Zainudin hopes coach Aide will stay on
SINGAPORE U-23 0
INDONESIA U-23 1
(EVAN DIMAS 47)
When he stepped into the post-match press conference last night, Aide Iskandar's eyes were red.
It was hardly surprising, after the Singapore Under-23s crashed out of the SEA Games football tournament after a 1-0 defeat by Indonesia at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
What followed at the end of his two-minute speech stunned everyone.
After thanking his players, the fans, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the media, the 40-year-old coach choked back tears and said: "I have just resigned.
"I have just informed the players about it... and now I must go back to my family; they have been waiting for me for a long time."
Aide, the former Singapore captain and defender, took no questions from the media but, in his speech, he explained that star winger Faris Ramli and striker Irfan Fandi could not start the crucial encounter because of a hamstring injury and flu, respectively.
He congratulated Indonesia, who will play Thailand in the semi-finals at the National Stadium tomorrow.
He said he was proud of his players, who despite being down to 10 men after 65 minutes - left back Ho Wai Loon was sent off after receiving his second yellow card - never gave up and fought to find an equaliser.
"I told the boys that their journey must go on," Aide said.
"Failures and defeats like these can make them only stronger."
The players, to their credit, ran and ran throughout the 90 minutes.
But they were always going to be a little short against a more composed and technically superior Indonesia Under-23 side who never looked in danger of conceding a goal.
Singapore, needing a win to advance into the last four, managed just one effort on target - a header by striker Sahil Suhaimi that was well saved by goalkeeper Teguh Amiruddin.
When Indonesian danger man Evan Dimas struck the killer blow two minutes after the break with a well-taken shot, the Young Lions were all but sunk - even with Aide throwing on Irfan and Faris at half-time.
Many had high hopes the Singapore Under-23s would be able to deliver the country's first football gold at the SEA Games, especially on home ground.
Last night, Aide said he faced a lot of challenges as coach of the team.
Perhaps, the controversial decision to allow Faris and Sahil to spend the last six months with Malaysian Super League side LionsXII was one of it.
Many critics will point to the two key men's struggles in the SEA Games campaign, with both looking spent after a frantic few months.
In the dressing room after the game, the players were stunned when Aide broke the news that he was leaving.
"We couldn't believe it; I broke down when he told us," said midfielder M Anumanthan. "Sometimes, it's so unfair for the coach. When we play like crap, he gets all the blame.
"I told him not to leave, but I know that he's not quitting football.
"He just wants to take a break."
FAS president Zainudin Nordin intends to try and persuade Aide to stay.
In a statement released minutes after the match, Zainudin said: "I can understand why Aide has made this decision at this point of time.
"Hopefully, after a few days' rest, we can have a discussion with him and persuade him to change his mind.
"Regardless of how we have fared at the SEA Games, Aide is a good coach and has a long and bright future ahead of him."
COACH AIDE: I QUIT
I told the boys that their journey must go on. Failures and defeats like this can make them only stronger.
- Singapore U-23 coach Aide Iskandar (above), who resigned after losing last night’s match
"Sometimes, it’s so unfair for the coach. When we play like crap, he gets all the blame. I told him not to leave, but I know that he’s not quitting football."
— Singapore U-23 midfielder M Anumanthan
"Hopefully, after a few days’ rest, we can have a discussion with him and persuade him to change his mind."
— FAS president Zainudin Nordin, on Aide Iskandar’s decision to quit
- Shots on target: Singapore 1, Indonesia 7
- Shots off target: Singapore 6, Indonesia 3
- Corners: Singapore 2, Indonesia 5
- Yellow cards: Singapore 6 (Sheikh Abdul Hadi 7, Ho Wai Loon 20, 65, Faris Ramli 71, Irfan Fandi 75, M Anumanthan 90), Indonesia 2
- Red card: Singapore 1 (Ho Wai Loon 65)
- Referee: Kim Hee Gon (South Korea)
- Attendance: 6,500 l Match rating: 6/10
- Singapore line-up and ratings: Syazwan Buhari 7, Al-Qaasimy Rahman 6, M Anumanthan 6.5, Sheikh Abdul Hadi 6.5, Ho Wai Loon 5, Safirul Sulaiman 5, Pravin Guanasagaran 5, Adam Swandi 5.5, Stanely Ng 5 (Faris Ramli 46, 5), Amy Recha 6 (Irfan Fandi 46, 5.5), Sahil Suhaimi 6.5 (S Suria Prakash 70, 5.5)
- Indonesia: Teguh Amiruddin, Abduh Lestaluhu (Vava Yagalo 72), Syaiful Cahya, Evan Dimas, Ahmad Nufiandani (Muhd Hargianto 89), Muchlis Hadi Ning, Manahati Lestusen, Agung Prasetyo, Paulo Sitanggang (Hansamu Pranata 67), Adam Setyano, Zulfiandi Zulfiandi
- TNP Man of the Match: Evan Dimas (Indonesia) — The Indonesian striker proved why he was the dangerman when he struck home a sweet right-footer from inside the box. Full of running, Dimas also dropped to midfield to help when his team didn’t have possession. The crucial difference in an average game.
GIVING THANKS: (Left to right) Indonesia’s Evan Dimas, Muchlis Hadi Ning and Manahati Lestusen celebrating Evan’s goal.