Rooted to the foot of the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League standings, Aide Iskandar and his Courts Young Lions side have had to endure a long and painful season.
Yet, the 38-year-old's appointment as SEA Games coach in the wake of V. Sundramoorthy's resignation was seen as "the natural choice".
This, according to Hariss Harun, who will lead the Singapore Under-23s into battle at the December competition in Myanmar.
"He's worked with the Young Lions; he's been in and around the national team so he knows the boys," said the midfielder, 22.
Indeed, this element of familiarity was also alluded to by the Football Association of Singapore in a statement last night.
"Aide has worked with most of the players in the 2013 SEA Games and we believe his appointment will ensure continuity for the team," general secretary Winston Lee pointed out.
A former national captain who won 120 caps with the Lions, Aide vowed to pick up from where Sundram left off in guiding a largely U-23 LionsXII side to the Malaysian Super League crown.
"I am pleased and encouraged by the team's progress over the past few months," said Aide, who will work in tandem with national coach Bernd Stange as the Republic bid for a first SEA Games football gold.
Hariss, who played alongside Aide when he first broke into the national team as a 16-year-old, called on his team-mates to throw their weight behind the coaches.
He said: "When you go for a competition, you have to work as a team. Aide's an organiser and a leader - I'm sure he'll bring some of those qualities to the team."
Young Lions midfielder M. Anumanthan agreed, noting that Aide's appointment is "good news".
"He puts a lot of trust in his players and that gives us confidence," the 19-year-old said.
Having been an integral part of the national team as recently as 2007, Aide will be aided by the fact that he was once a role model to many of his players.
"We all grew up watching him," Anumanthan said. "There's a respect there."
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