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First, Get Your Basic Right Then We Talk

Probably by now the newly-appointed Singapore national team coach Tatsuma Yoshida should more or less have a rough idea where our level of football is after the two recent matches that served as an orientation for the Japanese tactician.

Coach Tatsuma Yoshida is the first Japanese coach of the Lions

When his name was mentioned on various media reports prior to the official unveiling by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) early this month, many skepticisms clouded over his appointment which mainly targeted his less-than-impressive curriculum vitae.

Still, the former Jurong FC player pressed ahead and went straight down to business by taking charge of the Lions in the recent friendly matches against the Solomon Islands and Myanmar at Kallang.

Barely surprising after an unconvincing 4-3 win over Solomon Islands and a 2-1 defeat to Myanmar, critics were quick to jump onto the bandwagon to make their voices heard although there are those who felt it's still early days for Yoshida to conclude anything from the aforementioned outcomes given the fact he barely took over the hot seat.

With the resuming of the Singapore Premier League (SGPL) following the international week, it will be no surprise to see the new gaffer be making his rounds at the four venues to have a closer look at the limited playing pool for his upcoming assignment - Asia's World Cup Qualifiers (draw is scheduled later this month).

Former Lions' skipper Nazri Nasir (left) is Yoshida's assistant

Limited in a sense that do we have a pool of players ready to put on the red Lions jerseys when the past two seasons already saw an influx of young, raw talents filling up the starting line ups week in and out?

Don't get me wrong for singled out young players for any wrong reason, if we do have guys like the impact made by Hariss Harun years back, we should be happy and have that sense of comfort but in an old post I blogged some times ago, are we doing the right thing to push those "wet behind the ears" players to the professional ranks?

The SGPL being the top tier tournament of the local football pyramid supposedly to be the platform where the best of the land to compete among others and ideally, we should gradually allow young players with good potential to slowly blend into the system.

But have we actually turned it into the developmental league in the pursue of having our raw talents "fast track" to improve their game while lowering the overall standard of the league?

This is the thought that came to me when I was told privately a former SGPL coach lamented his players are not equipped with strong fundamentals in order to allow them to play according to the tactics he had in mind.

Tactical board was used in tactical planning

And when coach Yoshida was quoted in a Straits Times report after his first session with the Lions, I can't help but have them in the same synergy to highlight one of the questions we have to think really hard.

"The quality is not too bad, but not very good. Some players have better technique, while some have not enough but make up for it with energy." said coach Yoshida to the broadsheet.

Kudos to the Japanese coach for being candid in his first assessment and it certainly affirmed the fact that we do have players who are not strong in their basic foundations of the game.

We saw it for ourselves in those two matches played at the National Stadium and it was not hard to see who were the guilty ones for not living up to the expectations for some of those basic mistakes committed in those games.

Coach Yoshida showing examples in training

I had the opportunity to see one of the training sessions conducted at Geylang Field and based on one of the drills used, it was not hard to tell what coach Yoshida wants from his players - quick decision making, quick passing, quick movement on and off the ball.

The role of the national coach is, after all, to get a group of players to represent the country and execute the game tactics, etc. when all other essentials are supposed to be pre-requisite for any national player. ⠀

As such, for players who are selected to represent the country to play at the highest level, it is unacceptable to commit any schoolboy's error during any game when they should already have those fundamentals embedded in their football DNA.

Nonetheless, if the players have done their part and failed to deliver despite adhering to what their coach wanted, it would be another story.


  1. we are no longer playing backyard soccer or should I say kampung soccer, but need to be aware that the modern game is not only about kicking, passing, lobbing over opponent, kickabout in courtyard and son on, I remembered one of the Former EPL star said that he used to train to perfect his free kicks for hours after the official training session is over, sometimes even on his off days too.

  2. fundamental shud start from playing in small pitch and improved basic skills and technique like futsal


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