Press Releases ● Mar 29, 2016

Singapore Ends World Cup Qualifying Campaign With A Loss



TEHRAN, 29 MARCH 2016: Singapore ended the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2018/AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers with a 2-1 loss to Afghanistan earlier tonight at the Takhti Stadium.

Afghanistan’s Khaibar Amani opened the scoring in the 39th minute for Afghanistan before Josef Shirdel added another in the 79th minute to make it 2-0. Singapore pulled one back through Fazrul Nawaz with a late goal in the 89th minute but it was not enough as Afghanistan held on for a win.

Despite the loss, Singapore secured a spot in the third qualifying round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, which will commence next year.

Even though the team lost tonight, National coach Bernd Stange was encouraged with the way the players had fought tonight against a tough Afghanistan squad. He said: “First, I would like to congratulate Afghanistan for the victory. Our boys tried their best but today it was not enough against Afghanistan even with a goal in the 89th minute.”

“We have ended the second qualifying round with 10 points and I would like to thank our players and backroom staff for their total commitment, dedication and focus. The support from the management has been amazing and helped to motivate our boys throughout the campaign.”

‚ÄúIt’s been a 10-month long campaign and our boys and officials can be proud of what they have achieved.‚Äù

“We have been fielding many young talents in recent years and today, players such as Zul, Hafiz, Gabriel and Nizam are key members of the national team and they will play a big role in the next round of the Asian Cup qualifiers – together with senior players such as Shahril, Bai, Hassan and Hariss, who have all been leading by example. This is a good team but of course, we can improve further in several areas including fitness.”

“I am proud of our boys and officials and I am very optimistic that this team will make history by qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup – if we keep the team including players and backroom officials together and also if we provide more support especially in terms of training facilities.”

“We have a good strategic plan, strong and well-respected management and experienced technical personnel. While we received only half the amount of necessary resources in recent years, we have achieved good success.”

“I have full optimism on the future of Singapore Football but we need everyone to come together and provide full support on this journey towards success. Only with the required amount of resources, including funding, can we achieve more footballing success for this beautiful country.‚Äù

Captain Shahril Ishak also expressed his thoughts after the match. He said: “We are proud of what we have achieved, proud to have 10 points in a tough group. We want to thank the backroom staff and FAS management for their full support and commitment which motivated and enabled us to focus on our job throughout this campaign.”

‚ÄúOn behalf of my national team mates, I also want to express our gratitude to coach Bernd for his guidance over the past three years. He introduced a new playing philosophy and is a firm believer in fielding new talents. Coach Bernd is a fatherly figure and he has brought in many young players into the national setup. Under his guidance, these young players have improved and will be the core members of our national team in the coming years.  We have full respect and appreciation towards coach Bernd who is always protective of us and we want to thank him for all that he has done for us.‚Äù

‚ÄúToday’s result was not how we wanted to end this qualifying campaign, but now we will look ahead to the rest of 2016.‚Äù

“There is the AFF Suzuki Cup at the end of the year which we are all looking forward to, and we will use the positives of this qualification as a stepping stone for the team. It has been a long journey since our opening victory against Cambodia last June, and we will keep going.”