The Singapore Under-19 team completed their disappointing campaign at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U-19 Youth Championship yesterday in Vientiane, Laos with a 1-1 draw against 10-man Timor Leste U-19s.
With only one point to show from four matches, Singapore finished bottom of the five-team Group B, which included their counterparts from Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar, and did not advance to the semi-finals.
Prior to yesterday's draw, they were defeated 0-1 by Myanmar, before being thumped 0-4 by Malaysia and 0-6 by Vietnam.
The Singapore U-19s conceded 12 goals, and had not scored prior to a 90th-minute penalty against Timor Leste yesterday.
On Monday, The Straits Times reported that local football fans had taken the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to task for its lack of updates about the U-19s' progress in the tournament in Laos.
The FAS has since responded to ST's queries, saying in a statement: "The ongoing AFF U-19 Championship is being used as our final phase of preparations for the upcoming AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers.
"As such, we chose not to publicise the AFF U-19 Championship to allow our team the freedom to experiment with various formations and players away from the glare of publicity."
As the U-19s completed the regional tournament, their U-15 counterparts will begin qualifying for the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship tomorrow.
Jalan Besar Stadium will be the venue for all the Group H qualifying matches from tomorrow until Sunday. The top two teams from the group will enter the main competition in India next year.
However, Singapore will face daunting opponents - defending champions North Korea, defending AFF U-16 champions Thailand, and Cambodia.
"The boys are really looking forward to this tournament against two of the best teams in Asia, Thailand and North Korea," said U-15s coach V. Selvaraj.
"The Thais are technically better, the North Koreans are stronger physically and the Cambodians have quality players in their ranks, so this is a tough group for sure.
"Surviving this group will be a challenge for us but what I want is the boys to show that they can compete with them."
The U-15s will be looking to improve from their Lion City Cup outing two weeks ago when they lost 0-3 to Tottenham Hotspur U-15s and 2-3 to the NFA U-16s.
This article was first published on September 1, 2015.
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