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THE START

For all Lions’ supporters, probably a sign of relief, Singapore is grouped in Group-A with China, Iraq and Jordan for the third round of the World Cup 2014 Asian qualifying round. I have been waiting for

For all Lions’ supporters, probably a sign of relief, Singapore is grouped in Group-A with China, Iraq and Jordan for the third round of the World Cup 2014 Asian qualifying round.

I have been waiting for the draw result by my Macbook till late last night but the result didn’t appear on net. Not until this early morning, its out on AFC website as well as Facebook!

 So what’s the next step for the Lions now? To me, its just the beginning – The Start. Let’s take a look at the teams in our Group.

The Jordanians are no stranger to the Lions in which they played to a 2-1 score with Singapore winning once at our home soil while losing with the similar score at Amman, in front of 17,000-strong crowd at King Abdullah Stadium in 2009. The team possess technical excellence. Excellent individual and has group tactical adaptation. With no disrespect to the Jordanians, they seems the only team which Singapore can match evenly.

I managed to catch a game between Iraq against Japan back in 2004 in Tokyo National Stadium. Despite losing 0-2 to the host, over the years, the Iraqis are no easy pushover. They displayed excellent tactical awareness both in defense as well as offense. 

For a war-torn recovering country like Iraq, the winning mentality of the players are absolutely amazing! Singapore will have to change the tactics accordingly to match the Iraqis’ rapid transitional plays which is almost consistent throughout the game. Well, at least its not a mission impossible here as we have beaten the Iraqis 2-0 at home back in 2006 before!

Lastly, the chinese. China might have a strong record of appearing at the highest level of futbol, their play has not been very convincing actually. 

The chinese is strong in aerial challenges, aggressive pressing, keeps compact defending shape and has shown cohesive line movements. However their team attitude has been questioned especially the most recent “kelong” saga back in their domestic China Super League. 

Another note, their head coach, Gao Hongbo, is so familiar with our futbol style as he used to turn out for Geylang International prior to the introduction of our own S-League. I still remember watching him dazzling over the pitch then!

Well, I guess our Lions will have to step up their gear in order to progress from here. Here we have proven we could battle against the bests in Asia now, so there’s no reason why we are not going forward.

Think about it, we have done the right thing by carrying on from where we have stopped. We were booted out in the third round of Asian qualifying round in year 2007 and now year 2011, we are at the third round again! That’s an achievement but Singapore should not be contented.

This time round, I will do my best to catch all home games if possible at Jalan Besar. Of course I can foresee the chinese workers filling up Jalan Besar, I am not going to stop cheering for the Red Lions. I am sure if we keep cheering, the team will keep fighting! 

Probably by then, LATW (Lions All The Way) could have thousands of followers jumping and waving the Singapore’s scarfs at the home games! I could be one of them!

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christian@node8.net

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