No go for football

No go for football
Shahfiq Ghani (center, being embeaced) was the toast of the Singapore Under-23 side, scoring with a well struck freekick, but the hosts went on to lose 2-1.

Football failed to make the cut when the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) selectors met yesterday to decide on the athletes who will represent Singapore at this year's Asian Games.

Aide Iskandar's Under-23 side were not among the 18 sports and about 210 athletes picked in the first round of selection for the Incheon Asiad from Sept 19 to Oct 4.

The Republic's U-23 football team had taken part at the past two Asian Games in 2006 and 2010.

SNOC secretary general Chris Chan said: "I think they have lost the understanding of how the selectors benchmark their results because they presented the Courts Young Lions' results in Turkey."

The Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League team went on a month-long training trip in January this year, where they drew three matches, won two and lost one game against top European sides such as Denmark's Under-21 team.

Also, the team in Turkey included Canadians Sherif El-Masri and Jordan Webb.

The Under-23 team lost 2-1 to their Indonesian counterparts in a friendly played at Hougang Stadium on Wednesday.

SNOC selectors benchmark their standards at sixth placing at the previous Asiad, and use only results of the various national teams.

The Asiad football tournament is an Under-23 competition, but allows for three overaged players per team.

The Republic exited the football competition at the group stage in both 2006 and 2010.

In an earlier response to The New Paper's queries to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on the purpose of Wednesday's match, a spokesman said: "The match between Singapore and Indonesia was organised as part of our ongoing preparations for the 2015 SEA (South-east Asia) Games.

COMPETITIONS

"More competitions and matches, such as Wednesday's match, are being lined up for these players, and details will be announced at a later date.

"The FAS has a progressive approach to the competitions we enter our teams in, and we view all competitions we are participating in very seriously.

"We wish to again highlight that Wednesday's match was part of our ongoing SEA Games preparations."

Contacted last night, the FAS could not confirm by press time if they would appeal the decision.

Other than football, three sports which were selected in 2010 - golf, hockey and taekwondo - did not pass muster yesterday, while another three - xiangqi, cuesports, dragonboat - are not included in this year's programme.

On the other hand, two new sports, diving and sepak takraw, have made the list while the women's water polo team will join their male counterparts for the first time.

The event was introduced at the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad.

Shooter Jasmine Ser was named in the 21-strong shooting team bound for the Games, the largest among the sports in the Singapore contingent so far.

Chan said that the door is not closed on the other sports - national sports associations can make appeals using existing results by next Friday, or submit new results by Aug 15.

This article was published on April 5 in The New Paper.

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