Singapore entered the AFF Suzuki Cup on a negative note this year which was understandable given how Singapore football had long been in the doldrums, due to a spate of issues. Guided by interim coach Fandi Ahmad, the Lions surprised everyone by going on to beat Indonesia in the opening game before losing narrowly to the Philippines.
Following those two matches, Singapore would thrash minnows Timor Leste 6-1 setting themselves up for a do or die showdown against ASEAN heavyweight Thailand. Unfortunately, the Lions were no match for Thailand as they were blown away 3-0. And so just like the 2014 and 2016 editions Singapore exited the group stage again. Now while some would say that Singapore's AFF campaign was a total failure considering how they are four-time AFF Championship winners, Goal believes otherwise.
In all honesty, Fandi injected a few positives which made football fans in this country excited once again. Some of these positives include the blooding of talented youngsters such as Jacob Mahler and Ikhsan Fandi. Besides that, Singapore's favourite footballing son managed to infuse an attacking style of play which had fans on their feet compared to the stoic and defensive sides put out by former Singapore coach Sundram.
Another interesting aspect was seeing Fandi bring in former Lions who had illustrious careers in the form of Noh Alam Shah, S.Subramani and Robin Chitrakar as part of his backroom staff and having such decorated players of the past, will only definitely bring a positive influence on the current crop. Now, given all the positives that Fandi has brought in the past six months, it can be said that it was disappointing when FAS (Football Association of Singapore) Lim Kia Tong mentioned that the Singapore legend will not be given the head coach role on a permanent basis.
In fact, FAS has decided to go for a foreign name most probably in the hopes of finding another Radojko Avramović while consigning Fandi back to his role of developing the youth of Singapore football by coaching the U-23 national team. Such a decision will most probably reverse all the good work Fandi has done up until this point as the next person coming in to take over the Lions will want to stamp his own mark on the team and might disband the work of the previous coach. Herein lies the problem of Singapore football in the sense that there is no continuity and without continuity, there can be no progress. But as the adage goes 'there's no use crying over spilt milk' and we can only hope that whoever comes in will have the eye to see the good that is already in the team and build on it instead of dismantling it completely. As with most issues in Singapore football, one can only hope for the best but expect the worst.