Singapore national football team

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This article is about the Singapore men's senior team. For the women's team, see Singapore women's national football team. For the youth team, see Singapore national youth football team.
Singapore
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) The Lions
Association Football Association of Singapore
Sub-confederation AFF (Southeast Asia)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Head coach Bernd Stange
Captain Shahril Ishak
Most caps Daniel Bennett (128)[1]
Top scorer Fandi Ahmad (55)[2]
Home stadium National Stadium
FIFA code SIN
FIFA ranking 152 Increase 2 (14 August 2014)
Highest FIFA ranking 73[3] (August 1993[3])
Lowest FIFA ranking 165 (April–June 2013)
Elo ranking 139
Highest Elo ranking 103 (4 November 2009)
Lowest Elo ranking 163 (8 October 2004)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Singapore 2–3 South Korea 
(Singapore; 11 April 1953)
Biggest win
 Singapore 11–0 Laos 
(Singapore; 15 January 2007)
Biggest defeat
 Burma 8–0 Singapore Singapore
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 9 November 1969)
Asian Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1984)

The Singapore national football team is the national association football team of Singapore. The team comes under the organisation of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

The most significant successes of the team have come in the regional AFF Suzuki Cup (formerly known as the 'Tiger Cup'), which Singapore has won four times in 1998, 2005, 2007 and 2012. Singapore is the first team to achieve this feat and the only team to win in all the finals they played. In 1998, Singapore beat Vietnam 1–0 in the final to capture the country's first major international football title. In the 2004-05 competition, Singapore defeated Indonesia in a two-leg final 5–2 on aggregate. Singapore retained the trophy in 2007, beating Thailand 3–2 on aggregate in the final. In the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, Singapore won the trophy a record 4th time, again defeating three-time champions Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the final.

In the 2007 Asian Cup qualifiers, Singapore became the only team to beat Iraq en route to their Asian Cup winning campaign. Singapore also drew with China 0–0 and 1–1 at home in 2006 and 2009 respectively. In March 2008, Australia also failed to beat Singapore when the game ended in a goalless draw.

In January 2007, Singapore achieved a national record 11–0 win against Laos in an ASEAN Football Championship match.[4] Mohd Noh Alam Shah scored 7 goals in the match.[4]

In the FIFA World Rankings, Singapore's highest standing was in the first release of the figures, in August 1993, at 73rd.[3] Singapore was the Asian Football Confederation's 'Mover of the Year' in 2005.

Singapore's main rivals on the international stage are their geographical neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, and past matches between these two teams have produced much drama. Over the years, Singapore has included several naturalised citizens in its team such as Mustafic Fahrudin from Yugoslavia, Daniel Bennett from England, Shi Jiayi and Qiu Li from China.

History[edit]

1892–1994[edit]

In 1892, the Singapore Amateur Football Association applied to become a registered society. The HMS Malaya Cup (which was later known as the Malaysia Cup) was launched in 1921 by officers of a British battleship in Malaya, and Singapore was one of the six teams that took part in the inaugural year, and won the event. While the representative side in the Malaysia Cup and the Malaysian League was not the national team per se – this team included some foreign players – many Singapore football fans viewed the Malaysia Cup side as being the national team, and the team's exploits in the Malaysian competitions generally drew much more attention than Singapore's participation in other international tournaments.[citation needed] They either won or were runners up in the event every year until 1941, after which it was suspended because of World War II.

Overall, Singapore won 24 Malaysia Cup titles and 2 Malaysian League titles. After winning the Malaysia Cup and league double in 1994, the Football Association of Singapore withdrew from the Malaysian competitions following a dispute with the Football Association of Malaysia over gate receipts. Singapore subsequently launched its own professional league, the S.League, in 1996, and also began to put much more focus on the performance of its national team in international competitions.

1995–1999[edit]

Singapore won the bronze medal in the 1995 Southeast Asian Games, after losing 1–0 in the semi-finals to the hosts and eventual gold medalists, Thailand. Singapore hosted the 1996 Tiger Cup but were eliminated in the group stages.

The national team again reached the semi-finals of the Southeast Asian Games in 1997, losing to Indonesia, and lost to Vietnam 1–0 in the third-place match.

However in the 1998 edition of the Tiger Cup, Singapore's team led by coach Barry Whitbread won the group stage with victories over Malaysia and the Philippines. In the semi-finals, they beat Indonesia and subsequently edged out hosts Vietnam 1–0 in the final. This was the country's first ever international title.

2000–2002[edit]

Jan B. Poulsen, who was part of Denmark's backroom staff at the 1998 World Cup, was appointed the Technical Director of the Football Association of Singapore in 1999. Due to poor results by Singapore in the 2000 Tiger Cup, coach Vincent Subramaniam was sacked and Poulsen took over as coach in December 2000. Singapore hosted the 2002 Tiger Cup, but lost 4–0 to arch-rivals Malaysia in their first game. Before the game, local newspaper The New Paper was encouraging fans to turn up in numbers. After the game, the Lions attributed their heavy defeat to the unexpected large crowd. Singapore went on to win 2–1 over Laos, but a 1–1 draw in the final group game against Thailand was not enough for them to reach the knock-out stages. Poulsen was sacked after the tournament.

2003–2004 (Tiger Cup)[edit]

Radojko Avramović took over as coach of the flailing and deflated Singapore national football team in July 2003. Singapore started the 2004 Tiger Cup as underdogs but a 1–1 draw in their first game against hosts Vietnam, another draw against Indonesia, and wins against Cambodia and Laos saw them qualify for the semi-finals.

Singapore were drawn against Myanmar in the two-legged semi-finals. Singapore took a 4–3 away lead back home for the second leg. In the ill-tempered second leg, three Myanmar players were sent off and a reserve Myanmar goalkeeper even threw a water bottle at defender S. Subramani. Singapore went on to win 4–2 after extra time for an 8–5 aggregate victory.

Singapore then won the first leg of the two-legged final against Indonesia 3–1 in Jakarta, before winning 2–1 (5–2 on aggregrate) in the second leg in front of a 55,000 home crowd.

2007 Asian Cup Qualifiers[edit]

In 2006, Avramovic then led Singapore into the 2007 Asian Cup qualifiers with a 2–0 victory at home over Iraq, but Singapore failed to build on this victory and then lost away to Palestine. The Singapore team then took on China away in Tianjin and lost to an injury time penalty. China travelled to Singapore for the second meeting and the Singapore defence held out for a 0–0 draw. A subsequent 4–2 loss to Iraq dashed Singapore's hopes of qualifying for the Asian Cup. The Asian Cup qualifying campaign ended with a default 3–0 victory over Palestine, who were unable to fulfill the fixture.

2007 ASEAN Football Championship[edit]

Singapore hosted the group stages of the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship. After a 0–0 draw with Vietnam, Singapore then thrashed Laos 11–0 to record their largest-ever win. In the final group match, Singapore knocked Indonesia out of the tournament in a 2–2 draw. Singapore met Malaysia in the semi-final. The first leg saw a 1–1 draw in Shah Alam, while in the second leg at Singapore's National Stadium, following another 1–1 draw, Singapore beat Malaysia in a penalty shoot-out 5–4, goalkeeper Lionel Lewis saving the final Malaysian spot kick from Mohd Khyril Muhymeen Zambri. In the final against Thailand, Singapore won a controversial first leg at home 2–1, then secured a 1–1 draw in Bangkok thanks to a late strike from Khairul Amri to retain the ASEAN Football Championship trophy.[5]

2008 AFF Suzuki Cup[edit]

In the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup co-hosted by Indonesia and Thailand, Singapore was drawn in Group A to against Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia. Singapore progressed from the group as winners. However, they lost out to eventual winners Vietnam 1–0 on aggregate.

2010 World Cup Qualifiers[edit]

Singapore met Palestine in the first round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifying Tournament. Singapore won the first leg 4–0 away in Doha, and the Palestinians again failed to fulfill the away fixture, so FIFA awarded Singapore a 3–0 win.

Singapore was drawn with Tajikistan in the second round: Singapore won the home match 2–0 and drew the return leg 1–1 on 18 November to progress to the third round of the Asian Qualifying Tournament for the first time, where they were drawn against Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Uzbekistan.

Singapore's group stage campaign began with a loss to Saudi Arabia, but the Lions then beat Lebanon 2–0 at home. Successive losses to Uzbekistan, 3–7 and 0–1, left Singapore with little chance of getting into the next round. Singapore were finally eliminated when they lost 2–0 to the Saudis at home. Singapore finished third in the group with six points from six games after defeating Lebanon 2–1 in Beirut in their final game. With the elimination, Goal 2010 was also dropped.[citation needed]

2011 Asian Cup Qualification[edit]

For the 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification, Singapore was drawn in Group E, together with Iran, Thailand and Jordan. Singapore were beaten 6–0 by Iran in the first match, and then defeated Jordan 2–1. In November 2009, Singapore hosted Thailand at the National Stadium and lost 3–1, but won the return fixture 1–0 a few days later, earning Singapore their first victory on Thai soil in 48 years. Singapore next hosted Iran, losing 3–1, and the 2–1 defeat against Jordan which followed ended their hopes of Asian Cup football in 2011. The players reported some teammates were smoking during halftime in the match against Jordan.[citation needed]

2010 AFF Suzuki Cup[edit]

In 2010, Singapore drew with the Philippines 1–1, defeated Myanmar 2–1, then duly lost to Vietnam 1–0 in the knockout stage decider. As a result, the Singapore national football team was knocked out of the group stage in Hanoi. The Lions were criticised for their dismal performances in the Suzuki Cup, which they won in 1998, 2004, and 2007.

2011–2012[edit]

In January 2011, the FAS decided to disband and revamp the national team. Six months later, The Lions were back in action after the dismal performances in 2010. In May 2011, national team coach Raddy Avramovic announced the new 33-strong national provisional squad for the upcoming international friendlies and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. The Lions were scheduled to play international friendies against Maldives on 7 June 2011 and Laos on 18 July 2011.

Few days after releasing the provisional 33-man squad, national team training started in preparation of the match against Maldives. Avramovic led the new-look Lions in a game where Singapore won Maldives 4–0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore in a friendly match. (Note. The match was not an 'A' international because unlimited substitutions were allowed.)

After the 4–0 win against Maldives, a closed-door friendly match against Etoile FC (of the S.League) was played at the Jalan Besar Stadium, in which the Lions were triumphant thanks to goals from Aleksandar Duric and Qiu Li. Less than a week later before the World Cup qualifier, a final friendly was played against Chinese Taipei. Singapore won the match 3–2 with goals from Aleksandar Duric, Shi Jiayi and Fazrul Nawaz.

In preparation for the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers, the Lions played a friendly non-'A' match against Thailand before their opening qualifier against China. The friendly finished 0-0.

The Singapore national team took part in the 10th edition of the Sultan of Selangor Cup, usually contested by the Singapore Selection. They beat the Selangor Selection 1-0. This was also Singapore's sixth time winning the Sultan of Selangor Cup. They then took on but was defeated by the Philippines 2–0 in a friendly.

Few months later, Coach Raddy Avramovic announced a new 27-man squad for the national team comprising mostly players from LionsXII.

2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier (Asian Qualifier)[edit]

Singapore received a bye to the second round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification in 2011 because of their accession to the third round of the qualifying in the previous World Cup.

Their second round opponents were regional rivals Malaysia, whom they beat 5–3 in the first leg with goals from Aleksandar Duric, Qiu Li, Mustafic Fahrudin and Shi Jiayi. The second leg was held at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil on 28 July 2011. A 1–1 draw thanks to a key Shi Jiayi goal in the second half was enough to put Singapore through to the 3rd Round of Asian Zone World Cup 2014 Qualifying.

In the preliminary draw in Brazil on 30 July 2011 by the football governing body FIFA, Singapore was drawn into Group A for their Round 3 of the Asian qualifiers with Jordan, Iraq and China.

Singapore kicked off the third round with a 2-1 loss to China in Kunming. They then succumbed to a second defeat, 2–0, against Iraq. The next match was slated to be held at Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore on October 11 against Jordan which Singapore lost 3–0. A 2-0 defeat to Jordan in Amman killed off the Lions' chances of progress. Singapore ended the year with a 4-0 defeat at home to China PR, their 5th consecutive loss. Iraq then demolished the Singapore team 7–1 in Doha, Qatar.

2012 AFF Suzuki Cup[edit]

In 2012, Singapore started their tournament with a 3–0 win over close rivals Malaysia.[6] They then lost 1–0 to Indonesia before winning 4–3 in the knockout stage decider against Laos.[7] to top the group and qualify for the semi-finals.

Against the Philippines in the semi-finals, Singapore won 1–0 on aggregate. The solitary goal from Khairul Amri during the home leg of the semi-finals[8] was enough to set up a meeting with Thailand in the finals.

The Lions won the first leg of the finals 3–1 in Singapore. Despite losing the away leg 1–0, Singapore was able to pick up the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, their fourth championship. Singapore holds the record for the highest number of ASEAN Championships.[9] Raddy Avramovic ended his tenure as Singapore coach after the tournament.

2013–present[edit]

The FAS announced on 15 May 2013 that they had appointed German Bernd Stange as the new head coach of the national team.[10]

On 27 May 2013, Stange announced his choice of 23 players for the friendlies against Myanmar and Laos on 4 June 2013 and 7 June 2013 respectively. The squad featured several new players whom were called up to the national squad for the first time, including 17-year-old Adam Swandi. LionsXII midfielders Gabriel Quak and Faris Ramli and Tanjong Pagar United’s winger Hafiz Nor also received their first national call-ups.[11]

Veteran forward Indra Sahdan was also recalled to the national team. He took the captain's armband on 4 June 2013 for coach Stange's first game against Myanmar which Singapore won 2–0.[12] He also scored the first goal in the second friendly match against Laos, which saw Singapore with a 5–2 victory.[13]

Following the two wins, Singapore's FIFA World Rankings soared nine places to 156 in July 2013.[3]

Coach Bernd Stange registered his first international competition win on 15 October 2013 against Syria.

Kits[edit]

2011 Singapore Home Jersey

There have been different suppliers for the jerseys, from Admiral, Puma, Umbro, Grand Sport to Tiger. In November 2006, Nike signed a year's deal of kit sponsorship worth SGD$1,000,000.

Singapore had initially worn blue shirts and shorts as their home kit. However, in the late 1980s, The Lions adopted the national colours of red and white for their home kit while they kept blue as the colour for the away kit. This tradition stayed on through the 1990s. For the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship, the national team's colours reverted to blue as its home kit and white as the other kit.

Before 2006, Singapore had been using the same kit for nearly 5 years, supplied by Tiger who had a tie-in with Diadora. The kit used during the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship made its final appearance on 4 February 2007 against Thailand. The next kit was first used on 24 June 2007 against DPR Korea. The jersey has white trims at the edge of the sleeves and around the neck. Unlike most national teams which use the country's footballing association as a logo on the kit, the national flag of Singapore takes up the spot on the left chest instead while a white Nike logo is on the right chest and. This symmetry also applies to the away jersey. The numbering and lettering font and colour is the same as the previous two home jerseys.

On 13 February 2008, a leaked photo from a photo shoot surfaced on the internet showing the unreleased kit showing national captain Indra Sahdan Daud modelling the kit with Hariss Harun. The new kit was officially announced on 20 March 2008, featuring tight-fit jerseys in the two traditional team colours: red for the home games and blue for the away matches. The kit was worn for the first time by the national team in the international friendly against Australia in preparation for the World Cup 2010 qualifier home game against Lebanon on 26 March 2008.[14]

In November 2010, Nike Singapore launched a new football kit for Singapore, specially made for the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. The home kit's design was of half dark red and light red. The away kit features half navy blue and light blue that was once worn by Singapore football team in 1970's era.

Historical Kits[edit]

(1954)
Home Away
No supplier
(1957)
Home Away
No supplier
(1966)
Home Away
No supplier
(1973)
Home Away
No supplier


(1984)
Home Away

Home stadium[edit]

From 1932 until the Kallang National Stadium was opened in 1973, Jalan Besar Stadium hosted all home games of Singapore's representative sides which participated in the Malaysia Cup. Since then, all of Singapore's home games in the Malaysia Cup and the national team home matches were played at the Kallang National Stadium.

However, the National Stadium was slated for demolishment in 2010 to make way for the new Singapore Sports Hub which is to be completed in 2014. Singapore played Australia in what was planned to be the last game ever to be played at that stadium. However, due to some delays caused by the addition of new plans for the Singapore Sports Hub, the National Stadium continued to host 5 more matches, and it was also the venue for 2 more World Cup 2010 qualifier matches. The stadium is currently under works for the new Sports Hub, and the current home base for the Singapore National Team is the Jalan Besar Stadium, sharing it with The Cubs, their youth counterparts, LIONSXII, their Malaysia League Singapore team, the U15 and 16s.

Since the start of 2004, Singapore has played its home matches in 5 different stadiums all over Singapore.

Competition records[edit]