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OFTEN FORGOTTEN - THE SHADOWED SIGNIFICANCE OF LIONS' ASEAN GLORIES

Most of those relive-the-glory-days moments would always have that 1994 Malaysia Cup-winning video shown but overlooked the few other notable moments - the 1998 victory over Vietnam in Hanoi that saw us won our very FIRST international honour - the Tiger Cup before repeating the same feat in 2004 at Kallang when we won at HOME - in front of a full capacity (old) National Stadium and not forgetting the 2007 and 2012 moments of glories too.

The 1994 Malaysia Cup triumph moment, as seen in an exhibition at National Museum  
Yet many of the times, many social media postings seem to favour the footage from the 1994 Shah Alam victory when comes to savour that bit of nostalgia.

"It feels like you celebrate your 25th anniversary at work by showcasing the company that fired you as (a) prelude." remarked a friend after seen it on AIA Singapore Premier League Facebook Page of the 1994 Malaysia Cup Final last year.

TESTAMENT FOR THE FLEDGLING S.LEAGUE
Don't get me wrong, while "1994" was a great moment for local football which I also celebrated the exploits of the Lions skippered by Fandi Ahmad aided by stars like Abbas Saad, Malek Awab, etc., the significance of the regional victories like those over both Vietnam and Indonesia in 1998 and 2004 (highlights clip of the second-leg 2004 AFF Championship final from AFF Suzuki Cup Youtube channel shown below) respectively are, however, greater.

Not only because those were regional accolades but also a testament for the S.League since the national players featured in that two regional victories were playing in the then-fledgling competition.


The period between 1996 to early 2000s is considered by many as the "golden age" of the Republic's professional football league with the influx of quality foreign players coupled with a number of emerging local talents who were at one stage facing each other from Bedok to Queenstown and Woodlands to Jalan Besar.

Therefore, those two Asean successes were a strong statement put forward to the critics who were sceptical of the move to start the S.League was a justified decision to move local football forward after Singapore pulled out from the Malaysian League after that 1994 triumph.

BACK IN 1977
Let us rewind back to 1977 and ask ourselves this question - fair to say "Uncle" Choo Seng Quee would rather win the World Cup qualifying match against Hong Kong in March than savouring that nail-biting Malaysia Cup victory months later?

After all, in a three-page article titled "THERE'S A NEED FOR A SOCCER REVOLUTION IN SINGAPORE" published in the June 1976 edition of the now-defunct "Singapore Soccer" monthly, the legendary coach stated he did not find it difficult to win the Malaya Cup on the two occasions which he helped Singapore to achieve when he was "on loan" from his employer - Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) in the 1960s.

"Uncle" Choo's article in June 1976 "Singapore Soccer" monthly

A triumphant FAS president N Ganesan (in business suit) hoisting the Malaysia Cup after the 1977 win

The Singapore team arrived at Paya Lebar Airport with the Malaysia Cup in 1977

"This is not a boast. Our goal should be the pinnacle in Asian football." declared the man whose Farrer Park nursery groomed many illustrious names that embedded the local football folklore.

The 1977 Malaysia Cup triumph over Penang is being immortalized in local football folklore because it was Singapore's first victory after twelve long years when we last won it in 1965, prior to that we had been losing to the powerhouse Selangor on two previous years' finals.

THOSE AFTER 1994 SHOULD BE THE SAME AS WELL ...
It is probably because of the long history that many still see any Malaysia Cup victory as a greater achievement than those Asean titles we won after 1994.

The significance of winning the Asean titles shall not be lesser than the 1994 Malaysia Cup victory, yet people are constantly being impressed upon the latter's achievement is great despite being a domestic honour, as compared to the regional honours we won after that.


It is time to correct that notion, if not, we are not moving local football forward in the right trajectory.

Perhaps, for a start, we should start featuring more of the sights of Nazri Nasir (1998), Aide Iskandar (2004, 2007) and Shahril Ishak (highlights clip of the second-leg 2012 AFF Championship final from AFF Suzuki Cup Youtube channel shown above) hoisting up the AFF Championship trophy alongside the one that had Fandi Ahmad lifting the Malaysia Cup at Stadium Shah Alam.

Agree?

Comments

  1. There are people who still wants Singapore to win the SEA Games Gold... but tend to overlook that Singapore has won the Asean Football Chanpionship 4 times, just behind Thailand. Vietnam with 2 and Malaysia with 1.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is something I never understand. Fandi and hang were great but they never really achieved much in the region. Its like comparing giggs generation and the Wales team that went to the euro semis.

    ReplyDelete

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