Singapore's U15 team's loss to Vietnam at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-15 Championship, sums up the thoughts of many, in what can be said, is a poor tournament for the cubs.
The 1-0 defeat to Vietnam has left them with an outside chance of advancing further into this competition after suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Indonesia and a draw with Myanmar.
Led by former Hougang United coach Philippe Aw, the cubs have struggled to assert themselves at the regional youth championship. Singapore's national-age group teams continue to be plagued by disastrous results, however, Aw has continued to remain positive after successive defeats.
“We competed and I think we matched Vietnam today,” he told FAS after the game at the Institute of Physical Education campus in Chonburi, Thailand. “We hit the bar twice and we were dangerous from set-pieces; today, this game should have been a draw.
“Vietnam dominated possession but we knew that if we went out there and played an open game, we’d get hit; we were defensively solid, frustrated them and they couldn’t break us down.”
“If they make mistakes, so be it; (sometimes) we forget that these boys are 14, 15 years old, I think we need to adopt a growth mindset and look (more) at performances, at whether the team and individuals have improved. We want them to become a National A- team player in the long term and this process is a long one.”
Indeed, for Singapore, the process of growth will be a long and tedious one especially given how much the Republic's regional rivals have overtaken them.
Singapore have two games left to play – against leaders Timor-Leste tomorrow and the Philippines on Sunday.