Zainudin: Lions will bounce back against Guam on Tuesday
Singapore football paid its respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew yesterday morning at the Toa Payoh Central Community Club, one of the 18 community tribute centres islandwide.
Led by Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin, 274 footballers, coaches and staff from S.League clubs, the LionsXII and national age-group teams attended the event.
Speaking to reporters later, the football chief addressed the national football team's meek 2-0 defeat by Asean champions Thailand in an international friendly played in Korat on Thursday night, and vowed the Lions would bounce back against Guam in another friendly on Tuesday.
"It was a bit unfortunate that we couldn't get the result we were hoping for," said Zainudin.
"The boys tried their best and played their hearts out.
"Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way we wanted it to be.
"And nearer the end of the game, one can see the team lost concentration because of the injuries.
"But even without senior players like Shahril (Ishak), Baihakki (Khaizan) and Hassan (Sunny), the young team, led by Hariss Harun, did a creditable job for almost 90 minutes. So that is a positive sign for me.
"There is another game for Singapore (against Guam on Tuesday). There will be time for us to gather and make amends, and the coach will do whatever is necessary to make that happen."
When asked about the football body's search for a new technical director to replace Slobodan Pavkovic, who left the post in January, Zainudin declined comment but an FAS spokesman later said that the appointment would likely be made by the middle of next month.
Zainudin, however, is confident that the national Under-23 team will rise to the occasion when the South-east Asia (SEA) Games rolls into town in June despite recent poor results.
Aide Iskandar's boys suffered an embarrassing 3-1 defeat by Cambodia's U-22 team last week and they also lost 8-1 to Japan's U-22 team and 2-1 to Syria's U-23 side last month.
"We should always aim for the best and we should inspire our young footballers to do their best," said Zainudin.
"They have potential, so let us work on the things that need to be worked on for the good of Singapore football and for achieving a good result at the SEA Games. The boys will do their best because it is on home ground."
Zainudin was in sombre mood yesterday, as were members of Singapore's football fraternity who turned up.
"I thought it was worthwhile for us to all rally together on this very sad day for Singapore, to remember the great man and to recognise his contributions to Singapore sports... and all he has done for the country," said the Bishan-Toa Payoh Member of Parliament of the late former Prime Minister Mr Lee.
"It's just a small gesture on our part to come together, show our respect and to give a tribute to the founding father of modern Singapore."
One of those who attended the ceremony was MP & Silva founding partner Andrea Radrizzani, whose international sports media rights company signed a deal worth more than $25 million with the FAS last month.
The Milan native said he hopes to work with the FAS to create an international youth football tournament in Mr Lee's name as a way to "keep his name alive".
"It's a great emotional feeling to remember what Mr Lee did in his life, and I realise now how he has impacted my life when I see how happy my family is here in Singapore," said Radrizzani.
"Watching the news the last few days and knowing the story of the man made me really understand how one man with vision and a mission can affect so many lives."