Lions are ready to fight
V SUNDRAMOORTHY tells SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ the Lions are ready to fight as he prepares for his biggest assignment as national coach
You will kick off the biggest assignment in your coaching career today. How do you feel?
SUNDRAM: It's a proud moment for me. When you are national coach, there's a weight of expectation in every match.
I'm representing my country, so I will give my best off the field.
On the field, it's all about the players.
When I took the job at the end of May, we had about five or six months to get the boys in shape.
And I believe the boys are ready for the first game.
What is the mood like among the players?
The boys are focused and they know the importance of this tournament.
I know they will give nothing less than 100 per cent.
Hopefully, we can get something out of the first game against the Philippines.
That's vital so we can build the momentum for the second and third match.
Do you feel any extra pressure because the Lions have won this tournament four times?
There will always be pressure from the fans, from the media... it's part of my job.
I just need to handle it and do my best.
Is there anything you do to handle the stress? Play games on your phone, maybe?
In fact, I've been doing football-related work in my spare time here.
After the tournament, I can think about what to do to de-stress.
Right now, I'm focused on the job ahead.
This is crucial. Watching videos, looking at tactics whenever I can.
Every small detail can help us and I want to make sure we find all of them, so we can use them.
What has been your main message to the boys?
The most important thing they must remember is they are playing for the nation.
They must be proud to represent the country, and give nothing but their best.
Obviously, while still playing to our tactical plan.
How has the support from the Football Association of Singapore been since you became national coach?
It cannot be better.
The support has been excellent and I can say everything is in order.
The support staff, and everything else, has been good.
What is your best memory against the Philippines, as a player or coach?
We played against the Philippines in the 1983 South-east Asia (SEA) Games hosted in Singapore.
Actually, that's the only time I played against them.
We won 5-0, but back then, the whole team were born in the Philippines, so it's much different!
We reached the final, but lost to Thailand 2-1.