EXCLUSIVE: Singapore women's team set to miss 2014 AFC Women's Asian Cup

The Lionesses have been confirmed to sit out the prestigious regional competition with the fate of the senior team still unknown
Speaking to Goal.com Singapore, an FAS spokesperson confirmed the decision by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to not send a team for the 2014 AFC Women's Asian Cup.

The biennial tournament is the most prestigious regional women's football competition and was originally to be held this year but was postponed due to the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

The Singapore women's football team has come under the spotlight over the past few years beginning with the surprise disbanding of the senior team by FAS in 2009. Prolonged absence in senior competitive football (18 months of inactivity) resulted in Singapore being eventually left out of the FIFA World Rankings for women's team in mid 2010.

The women's football department for Singapore is also no longer in existence, and now comes under the purview of the Technical development department, with funds behind shared for other programmes such as refereeing and sports medicine.

A newly assembled senior side, comprising largely of players from the age group teams, featured in competitive action for the first time at the 2011 AFF Women's Championship held in Laos. The Lionesses failed to progress past the group stage after losing all three group games to much older and experienced opponents.

However, the improved performance has seen the women's team making a return to the FIFA rankings. In the June 2012 update, the Singapore senior women's team were ranked 92nd in the world and 21st in the AFC zone.

On Wednesday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) proposed a marketing workshop for women’s football 'to raise the awareness of marketing in women’s football and grab the opportunities of its growth in the continent'.

But with the workshop open to only Member Associations who have submitted entries for the 2014 AFC Women's Asian Cup, Singapore is set to lose out yet again.

Speaking to Goal.com Singapore an FAS Spokesperson stated: "The Football Association of Singapore has requested for more AFC Member Associations including Singapore to be included in this proposed marketing workshop for women’s football by the AFC Marketing Committee. We are currently awaiting the response of AFC."

The 2014 AFC Women's Asian Cup is expected to be held in mid-2014 with the tournament also serving as qualifiers for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.