Lim Teck Yin’s Fan Criticism Unfair

Football fans, former internationals, as well as the community, were divided yesterday as they responded to criticism that Singaporeans are fair-weather supporters of the national team.

This came in the wake of comment on Wednesday by Sport Singapore’s chief executive, Lim Teck Yin, who said that the time had come for fans here to show their mettle and come out in force to support them during the SEA Games.

Some felt the comment was too harsh and that they had the right to expect commitment from players, whether they were the Lions or the under-23 side, to win matches.

Both the Lions and the under-23 side have lost a string of matches in the run-up to the World Cup qualifiers and the Games in June.

“I feel that, though he meant well, (Lim) was a little harsh with his words. It is almost as though he feels nobody really supports local football,” said Ian Ding, 24-year-old Lions fan.

Deepanraj Valluvan, 19, said fans had a right to feel disappointed when their sides do not perform to expectations.

“Fans do go through highs and lows in supporting the team, but this doesn’t mean we can’t expect a win,” he said. “As fans, we want our team to go as far as they can succeed.

“The SEA Games are no different and we want to make sure our country performs and we will be cheering for them whether they win or lose. But we do have a certain level of expectations from our national teams and are be disappointed if they don’t meet them.”

Win or lose, Kumaravel Selvom will be behind the team when they kick off their SEA Games campaign. He told TODAY: “Any sport, and especially football, thrives with supporting fans. Whether it’s a team at its best or worst, it will always be good to know that there are people watching and hoping the best for you.”

Former national and S-League footballers whom TODAY spoke to were also divided.

Aleksandar Duric remembered only too well the fickle support from fans. They were solidly behind the Lions in their triumphant years in the Suzuki Cup in 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2012, but he felt the desertion when they were knocked out of the group stages of the 2010 tournament.

This, he said, can have an adverse effect on young athletes, especially the under-23 side heading for the coming SEA Games.

“I agree with Teck Yin totally. I only retired recently from football, and I know our fans very well, and they like it when we are winning. But this is not good, and the mentality of Singapore fans is something we wish we can change.

“If you are a fan, you should follow your team all the way, win or lose, and you share their happiness and sorrows. These are young boys and they need our support. Singaporeans should back our young athletes, because they need it. There is no better chance to do that than at the SEA Games, right here in front of the home crowd.”

However, former S-League player and coach Shasi Kumar said the players needed to improve to get fans back in the stadium. “You cannot blame the fans as well, because we had a really poor run of results,” he said. “How can a fan stand by their team without feeling disappointment or even angry when we cannot even beat a team like Guam, and (we) lose to Syria? It is a chicken and egg situation, because at the moment, the team is not performing, and fans are understandably disillusioned.”



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