SINGAPORE - Zainudin Nordin, who will continue as president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for another two years, has appealed for patience from the fans and media in the wake of recent poor results from the national team and the Under-19 age-group side.
After the high of winning the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in December for a record fourth time, the Lions have endured a torrid time since, losing both their Asian Cup qualifiers to Jordan (0-4) and Oman (0-2) as well as friendlies to China (1-6) and Hong Kong (0-1).
The Under-19s, made up mostly of the popular side who won a bronze medal in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, tumbled out of the AFF Under-19 Youth Championship in Indonesia earlier this month.
Coach Dejan Gluscevic's youngsters drew 1-1 with Timor-Leste and lost to Laos (0-3) and Cambodia (2-3).
At the FAS' annual general meeting yesterday at Jalan Besar Stadium, where it was announced that Zainudin will stay for a third two-year term in office after his appointment in 2009, the FAS supremo said: "Losing is part and parcel of football but I'm afraid people will look too much into the results.
"What is more important for the youngsters is that they learn from the defeats and come out stronger."
FAS general secretary Winston Lee said: "Youth development is a process that takes time and we have to be patient. Let's not have a defeatist attitude."
In the FAS' strategic plan unveiled in 2010, two of the objectives listed were for the Lions to be ranked in Asia's top 10 and for the Under-23s to win a SEA Games gold on home soil in 2015.
Singapore are currently ranked 159th in the world and 29th on the continent.
New Lions coach Bernd Stange, who was appointed in May, won his first two friendlies in charge (2-0 over Myanmar and 5-2 over Laos) but lost his next three games against Oman, China and Hong Kong.
The German is trying to rebuild the national team and wants to reprogramme them to play a high-tempo, quick-passing style, but the players are still adapting to his ideas.
"We can't expect results overnight and we must give time for Bernd's ideas to take root," Zainudin said.
"We must believe in his ideas."
Said Stange: "Some people feel that my demands are too high but in Europe a 20-year-old woman player can deliver this style of football, so why can't we?"
But there is growing concern for the Under-19s.
With Singapore hosting the 2015 SEA Games at the upcoming Sports Hub, a gold-medal performance will go some way towards firing up the country.
However, the team floundered at the AFF Under-19 Youth Championship against teams perceived as ASEAN minnows.
And, with none of the squad even making the breakthrough in the S-League, it begs the question if the gold-medal target is attainable.
"That's a tough call," Zainudin conceded. "It is not going to be easy to get there.
"I'll leave it to the technical team to further refine our football but I am confident in them."
Singapore's results this year
lost to Jordan (Asian Cup qualifier) 0-4
beat Myanmar (friendly) 2-0
beat Laos (friendly) 5-2
lost to Oman (Asian Cup qualifier) 0-2
lost to China (friendly) 1-6
lost to Hong Kong (friendly) 0-1
National Under-19s at AFF Youth Championship
drew with Timor-Leste 1-1
beat the Philippines 3-1
lost to Laos 0-3
lost to Cambodia 2-3
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