Stange: SEA Games more important than Asian Cup

After stunning Syria 2-1 in their third group game, the Singapore coach insisted his focus was still on the year-end tournament despite still being in the frame for qualification

Singapore coach Bernd Stange has made it clear that his priority is to see the Lions do well in the SEA Games at the end of this year, and not the Asian Cup in 2015.

After the 2-1 win over Syria on Tuesday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Stange declared it as a good result, especially given the display that went with it.

“First of all, it’s not a good result to beat Syria 2-1,” Stange had said, creating a stir within the press conference room before continuing with: ”What I mean is, it is a very good result!”

“The attitude to play for Singapore, that is the most important thing. If you wear this shirt, you cannot lose 6-1 against China. It’s a shame, you have to avoid such defeats. You must be proud to play for your country, to do more, to fight, to give everything.

“If you see the kilometres Shahril [Ishak] was running as the only striker today, then you must have respect.”

However despite seeing Singapore notch their first three points in Group A of the qualifying campaign after prior losses to Jordan and Oman, Stange was not interested in racking up more points to qualify for the tournament.

“SEA Games,” Stange said to the press without pausing to think when asked what would be his focus.

“Definitely, because we do have not the strength to qualify for Australia. If we had injuries or suspensions, we are not able to deliver a second team on this level.

“It was a hard fight, and it was two teams [playing on a equal] level. It was men against youngsters today.”

“We brought all out of us and they cannot deliver more. We are very proud today but we are completely focused on the SEA Games.

“We don’t care about the next matches we have for this [Asian] Cup. We have to be realistic."

Singapore now sit third in the group and will take on Syria again next, this time in Tehran, Iran on November 15.