To achieve a historic breakthrough, sometimes one has to make an unusual move.
In a bid to win the Republic's first football gold at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games next year on home soil, the Football Association of Singapore has decided to pull the top under-23 players out of the Courts Young Lions and the LionsXII next season.
On his first anniversary since taking over as national football coach, Bernd Stange revealed to The New Paper that national Under-23 players like Sahil Suhaimi, Faris Ramli and Shahfiq Ghani will not play in the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League or the Malaysian Super League next season.
"The SEA Games team players will not be involved in the S.League and the Malaysian League next year. This means they are completely under our control, and they can focus on their preparations for the Games," said the 66-year-old German.
The best Singapore have done in the SEA Games is a silver, losing in the final in 1983, 1985 and 1989.
The tournament became an under-23 competition in 2001, and the Young Lions have finished with bronze medals in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
In a bid to win gold next year, this July, the Under-23s will visit Europe for a training camp and friendly matches against top sides as they build towards the 2015 SEA Games, which will be held in Singapore from June 5 to 16.
As TNP had reported earlier, S.League side the Courts Young Lions will not play in this season's RHB Singapore Cup which kicks off at the end of this month. Instead, a team made up predominantly of under-23 players will take on the France Under-21 team on June 2 in Reunion Island, before the SEA Games team head to Austria from July 7 to 22 to play another three friendly matches.
"At the end of the year, there will be players (eligible for the SEA Games) involved in the Suzuki Cup," added Stange.
"After that, we will have a break. Then we will start 2015 with preparations overseas, perhaps in Turkey, maybe three weeks, maybe four weeks... to play better opponents... because we want improvement.