ASEAN Para Games: Gritty Singapore fall

ASEAN Para Games: Gritty Singapore fall
Team captains That Naing of Myanmar (left) and Khairul Anwar Bin Kasmani of Singapore in action during their 8th ASEAN Para Games cerebral palsy football round robin match on 5 December, 2015.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Once again led by inspirational captain Khairul Anwar, the Singapore Cerebral Palsy football team produced another spirited display yesterday.

This time, however, they were up against sterner opposition in defending champions Myanmar and, despite a stunning hat-trick by Khairul - including a strike from near the halfway line - the hosts fell 5-3 at the National Stadium.

Having beaten Indonesia in their opening match, Singapore are on course for a top-two finish in the group, and a place in next Wednesday's final.

Singapore coach Zainudeen Hassan is aware that today's game against Thailand could be a do-or-die clash.

"Tomorrow could be the decider and we have one or two injury concerns," he told The New Paper yesterday.

"But we'll continue to work hard to get the boys ready."

Despite yesterday's defeat in a rematch of the 2014 final, Zainudeen was full of praise for his charges.

The big worry is that key men Khairul and Mubarak Rastam are under an injury cloud.

"I'm definitely proud of the boys," he said. "Myanmar are lucky to have hundreds of players to choose from, while we only have 13 players.

"What more can I ask from the team? Their commitment and play exceeded all expectations."

In yesterday's evening kick-off, Malaysia picked up their first points of the campaign with a 4-0 win over Indonesia.

This article was first published on December 6, 2015.
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