Former Singapore’s Winger Lee ManHon Shares History
Junpiter Futbol (JPF) is launching JPF TALK to look into a Star’s career and life to inspire more futbol players. In this very first episode, JPF managed to catch up with former Malaysian Cup hero –
Junpiter Futbol (JPF) is launching JPF TALK to look into a Star’s career and life to inspire more futbol players. In this very first episode, JPF managed to catch up with former Malaysian Cup hero – Lee ManHon.
Lee ManHon became a household name in the early 90s when he won the Malaysia Cup and M-League double with Singapore national team. ManHon broke into the first team at the age of 19yrs old and had been a nightmare for all oppositions with his cultured left foot! Here, Lee ManHon shares the story his life before and after futbol with Junpiter Futbol.
Life After Futbol
JPF: After hanging up your boots, so what are you busy with these days?
LMH: After futbol, I have been working in the property line, and other than that, I am also running my own retail business. Futbol wise, I am still actively playing with my social team weekly without fail.
JPF: Representing Singapore at the age of 19yrs old, how you cope with the pressure prior to every game?
LMH: In fact, I have been with the national team since 17yrs old, and throughout my years with the team, my usual routine was to take a nap prior to every game! I always need a sleep before a game.
JPF: Any encounter with any crazy fans back in the Malaysia Cup days?
LMH: I used to have a female fan stocking me all the way back home! My parents even invited her into the house for a drink. On another occasion after winning the Malaysia Cup double, I have to run away from screaming fans at Wisma Atrium after they had recognized me!
JPF: You were once labeled as the “Bad Boy” of Singapore futbol, how did you feel and how you overcame that?
LMH: Honestly speaking, during that period, I was frustrated and angry. I tried not to read what the newspaper wrote about me and I also know the best way to silent the critic is to train hard, play well and prove them wrong.
JPF: What is your biggest achievement and regret in your career?
LMH: Biggest achievement has to be the Malaysia Cup double in 1994. From young, we always want to be in the Singapore national team playing in the Malaysia Cup. To win the double, it was a dream comes true. Biggest regret for me, there are two. First was not being able to involve more in the Malaysia Cup as Singapore withdrew from the competition in 1995. Second was the missed-out from the game between Singapore All-Stars against my favorite team, Totterham Hotspur due to military training!
JPF: Recently Singapore defeated Malaysia to reach World Cup Asian qualifying third round, do you see any improvement in the current Singapore team since your playing days?
LMH: Nowadays the play is not as aggressive as before and today its more technical. During my time, we will just go in with a slide to dispossess the opponent the moment they had the ball, but nowadays players have been trained to contain the opponent more than to move in for tackle immediately. Well, its actually total different playing style as compared to my era.
JPF: So do you think Singapore stands a chance to advance to the fourth round after we have been grouped together with China, Iraq and Jordan?
LMH: Yes, I think Singapore stands a fairly good chance. What Singapore has to do now is to try to win all their home games. Away games would be tough especially playing in Kunming and in the Middle East cities. If Singapore could at least achieve some draw results from the away games, I think we could well create history this time round.
JPF: Singapore is sending players for oversea training stint. We understand you underwent similar oversea training stint before, what do you think of such arrangement?
LMH: Its definitely a good move. The only way to improve is to play and train with the bests! However it will be more ideal to send younger players probably 14yrs old or below as these are the most critical age-group to pick up all the knowledge and skills. It will only benefit Singapore’s futbol.
JPF: What do you think of the move by sending Young Lions to play in the M-League? Will Singapore’s futbol genuinely improve?
LMH: Our team will gain more exposure and experience playing in those environments. It’s something very different from playing in front of 3,000 odd crowd week in week out. On the other hand, unfortunately this group of youngsters would have to carry the expectation from the success of the previous 94 Dream Team’s on their shoulder. Its going to be hard on them to expel based on that kind of expectation from our local supporters.
JPF: Is there any u and coming player whom you think is the key for future Singapore’s futbol?
LMH: Hariss Harun. I seldom watch Singapore’s games these days due to work but from the few games which I have watched, I saw leadership and some quality play from this youngster.
JPF: Ever thought of going into full-time coaching?
LMH: I am planning to take up my ‘B’ License but as far as coaching is concerned, I am serious about that. However I will not take up full-time coaching at this point of time.
JPF: Finally, any advice for JPF readers who aspired to be a professional player?
LMH: A career in futbol is never going to be easy and of course there is no shortcut to success. You will need to be dedicated and disciplined in order to be a good professional player at the highest level. Train hard and be humble, success will come your way.
JPF: You have been sponsored by many brands such as Adidas, Nike, Puma and etc, which is your favorite brand of boots till now?
JPF: One chance for you to go back to the past, to a certain game, which game will that be and what would you do differently?
LMH: Back to the game where Singapore drew Kuala Lumpur 1-1 in 1994. I have had 2 clear chances but I didn’t finish them off. If I’ve done so, the score and our league standing will be different. I am still feeling bad after so many years.
JPF: You most memorable game?
LMH: There are a couple oof games. First, when I represented Singapore Olympic team playing against Malaysia and China Olympic teams. I scored a handful of goals in these 2 games! Next, when I scored 2 goals against Selangor in the M-League in 1994. I still think back on those goals which I have scored.
JPF: What are your thoughts and comments for your favorite team, Tottenham Hotspur, for this coming new season?
LMH: I give them a target of finishing in the top-4 this season!