|By Kenneth Tan
The Lions will win the AFF Suzuki Cup for long-serving coach Radojko Avramovic - that is the stern belief of former national skipper Aide Iskandar.
The 37-year-old captained the national team to victory in the 2004 edition at the first time of asking under the Serbian tactician, which came six years after his first triumph in the 1998 tournament under Englishman Barry Whitbread.
The build-up to that 1998 triumph has parallels with the current campaign: apart from the indifferent results of that calendar year, it was the fate of the coaches.
Barry had already announced his departure before that tournament, while Raddy has constantly deflected questions of his future with the Lions after this tournament.
According to Aide, that fact had galvanised the 1998 crop of players to win the championship.
"This is probably the last time they'll play under Raddy," he told Goal.com Singapore on Thursday at the NexLions pre-tournament press conference.
"The boys have reacted positively [to his possible departure], everyone's trying to play [their best] – I [have] got a feeling they will win it, just like how we played for Barry in 1998."
He added that Raddy's mental strength was behind this superb yet unexpected run to the final.
"Before the tournament, a lot of people were writing us off after the number of matches we lost this year," Aide pointed out.
"But one thing I have learnt from Raddy over the years [is that] he's a very cool and calm person - he's not worried [about the poor build-up] and he has always said that the most important thing is to perform in the tournament itself."