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Singapore U23 assistant Balagumaran standing in for unwell head coach Sundram (Photo: FAS)

Bala: We have done enough to deserve SEA Games nod

Singapore U23 assistant Balagumaran standing in for unwell head coach Sundram (Photo: FAS)


The Singapore Under-23 assistant coach believes the team have proved to the SNOC they are worthy of making the year-end competition after beating a strong Indonesia side

We should go to the SEA Games, says Singapore Under-23 assistant coach K. Balagumaran.

He was speaking to the media after the side's slender 1-0 win against Indonesia on Saturday night in a friendly, with the result likely to persuade the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) to give the U23s the green light to the year-end competition.

"Yes," Bala answered when asked whether the team had done enough to convince the SNOC.

"A win is a win. The way I see it, [we won] both games [that were] played away and home, [and] Indonesia is a very good team. We can match them, so why not?"

Singapore appeared to struggled against their opponents after taking a 10th-minute lead through Shahfiq Ghani's penalt, and Bala, who was standing in for unwell head coach V. Sundramoorthy, admitted the Young Garuda were a "quality" side.

"I think we played with a very strong opponent, a very good team," he pointed out, but added that he was confident about their own chances.

"Working with Sundram and LionsXII, with the experience I gained, I think with tactical discipline and strong mentality, we can give a good match against teams like Indonesia.

Even though today I think Indonesia played really well, we also created our chances so I think we have a good chance, if the team were to follow Sundram’s philiosophy of football and his approach to the game, to qualify for the semi-finals [at SEA Games].

Bala revealed that the U23s were looking into playing friendlies against S.League teams next week, and acknowledged they still had much to improve on.

"We need to work harder; maybe this is my personal opinion [that] the [LionsXII] boys after [winning the] Malaysian Super League, they are on a high and we need to keep them motivated, keep them on their toes," he asserted.

The former Gombak United coach also insisted Sundram would look at players outside of the LionsXII as he shapes his final squad, pending approval from the SNOC to go to Naypyidaw, Myanmar.

"Yes he's looking at it; because this one game is really important [as] SNOC says you need to win to qualify, so we can't afford to make the changes immediately," Bala said.

"He's looking at the players from Courts Young Lions and the [other] clubs too."