FAS to appeal for Young Lions to be in Asian Games list
Young Lions to appeal against SNOC's Asiad snub after failing to meet the criterion of a top-six finish
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will appeal for the Young Lions to take part in the Asian Games in Indonesia, after they were omitted in the initial list released by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) last night.
The FAS views the Asian Games as an important stepping stone towards the Young Lions' development.
FAS head of national teams management Eric Ong said: "We are working closely with SNOC and Sport Singapore (SportSG) on our selection for the 2018 Asian Games.
"The Asian Games are important in the lead-up to the 2019 South-east Asia Games and the 2020 Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship, which serves as the qualifier for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
"Playing top-quality opponents such as those in the Asian Games is key for the team to further enhance their competitiveness and development.
"We will continue our discussions with SNOC and SportSG for our appeal."
When asked about its decision to exclude the Under-23 football team, an SNOC spokesman said that they had not met the sixth-place benchmark that was set.
Their latest effort to meet the criterion for the Asian Games from Aug 18 to Sept 2 came in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy competition last month in Brunei.
They lost to Timor Leste 2-1 in the semi-finals, after beating Laos 5-1 and losing 1-0 to Cambodia in the group stage.
Earlier attempts to meet the criterion failed after the FAS' plans to play friendlies with the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Thailand fell through.
Instead, the U-23s played against Indonesia in March and lost 3-0.
Most of Fandi Ahmad's charges play as the Young Lions in the Singapore Premier League and currently sit fourth in the table, after last night's 4-0 loss to Tampines Rovers - an improvement from last year when they were rooted to the bottom after a winless season.
They have till June 15 to prove themselves worthy of a spot in Indonesia.
The SNOC spokesman added that the FAS will have to submit a new set of results if it is to sway the selection committee's minds.
The footballers were granted approval for the 2014 Asian Games only one day before the entry-by-name deadline day, just one month before the Incheon Games.
Their two appeals were rebuffed by SNOC but an unexpected 3-2 win over the Bahrain U-23s, who were ranked 14th in Asia, was just enough to earn them a place at the Asiad.
They failed to progress past the group stages, ending their Asiad campaign that year third in the group that included Palestine, Oman and Tajikistan.
In the 2006 and 2010 editions of the Asian Games, the football team also had to appeal to the SNOC.
The SNOC announced last night that Singapore were bringing their largest contingent of 246 athletes across 22 sports to the Asiad, surpassing the previous record of 240 athletes in the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, China.
For the first time, Singapore will have representatives in synchronised swimming, ju-jitsu and paragliding at the Asiad.