KORAT, Thailand: Even as the Lions prepare to take on Thailand in the first leg of two friendly matches, the mood in the training camp has been sombre, said the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Wednesday (Mar 25). This was attributed to the passing of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on Monday.
Calling the Lions’ first training sessions “tough”, the FAS said the players were “visibly distraught at the loss of Mr Lee but showed much determination and focus”.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. A visionary leader, he built a beautiful and prosperous country which we are proud to call our own,” said Singapore captain Shahril Ishak. “His contributions cannot be measured in words and we will miss him deeply.”
“We are highly motivated during our training sessions and we are looking to give a very good account of ourselves in the match,” added Shahril. “We are determined to do well for our nation.”
“I could not ask for more from the players. They gave their all and it has been tough first training session for all of them. I also hope the players will do their best as a tribute to Mr Lee,” added Head Coach Bernd Stange.
As a mark of respect to Mr Lee, the players and officials will be wearing black armbands during the game and a minute’s silence will also be observed before the match.
Lions goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, who plays for Thai Premier League leaders Army United FC, said during his time in Thailand, everyone in the country was looking forward to the clash.
“Everyone in Thailand has been talking about the match as soon as it was announced earlier this year,” said Hassan. “Even when I was injured, I was interviewed by the Thai media on my thoughts for the match instead of my injury!”
“We will prepare well accordingly and do our best against them on Thursday,” he added.
The matches have been organised to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both nations, and the first leg will take place in Thailand on Thursday (Mar 26), at the His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary, 5 December 2007 Sports Complex, 8pm Singapore time.