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National Day Challenge 09: Singapore 1-1 China (China beat Singapore on penalties)

Before the KICK-OFF
Spoke to some of the crowds at the stadium before the kick-off.
  • "I first came to know this game from a China-based website and after verifying it with local sources, I gathered some of my classmates here to watch the game," said 19-year-old Hu Qiang, a NUS student who was at the match with some of his classmates (above).

  • "It was from the advertisement and internet I came to know this match," said Liu, a private school student who has been in Singapore since last year (above).

  • "I think it would be approximately 10, 15,000 for tonight's match, as it's a weekday with fans might have difficulties coming down" commented local soccer fan Haslan, who attended the match with his friend (above).
Some pictures before the kick-off
Wonder if any of these folks got the ultimate prize?

This guy (above) was instrumental in drumming up the fans' support for China before and during the match (Perhaps some local clubs would like to engage him as a consultant )

The Singapore national team warming up before the kick-off.

The Chinese team warming up before the kick-off.

The short take of the game.
The teams lining up before the match.

It doesn't matter Singapore took the lead in the seventh minute through skipper Noh Alam Shah after he headed home from Rosman Sulaiman's cross with Shahril Ishak's short one from the corner, it was the Chinese who were dominating much of the ball play in the first half.

The Lions' midfield seems unable to cope with the Chinese attacks

While the visiting side may not look as potent as they appeared to be, their slick ball passing and movements had caused some headaches for the Lions' backline, they were lucky to hold the visitors until the 27th minute when Yang Hao levelled the scores from close range.

And contented themselves being an "absorber" large part of the game.

Still not much improvement for the Lions as the hosts struggled to string up a decent performance upfront by losing possession unnecessarily, while the defence contented themselves as an absorber for the never-ending Chinese attacks which were guilty on several occasions not to seize opportunities when given.

Some pictures from the post-match press conference

Gao Hong Bo, China coach (pictured middle, above)

"I think we prepared well, but the game itself could have been more exciting," said Coach Gao.

"And I told my players before the start of the game, regardless of who are the opponents we must take our game seriously," he said

"However, I shouldn't take it too seriously about this result, as the most important thing is to provide entertainment to the crowds."

"Although tactically, I'm not pleased with several aspects of it." added the former Tiong Bahru striker.

Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic, Singapore coach (pictured left, above)

"I did not have the best players due to injuries, but that's something we have to cope with and generally, I'm satisfied with the team's performance," said the 59-year-old Serbian coach of the Singapore national team since 2003.

"We could have done better in keeping possession, which is generally our weakness and we missed a few opportunities in the second half when we would have scored the second goal," he added.

"I'm happy with their attitude," said Coach Raddy when asked if he was pleased with the new players (ie: Itimi Dickson, Fazrul Nawaz, etc.) he brought into this match.

"They had tried their best and that was what I asked them to do like Itimi, who was out for a long while, and Fazrul who is still not fully fit for the international level," commented Coach Raddy.

The post-match press conference

R Sasikumar, the match organizer- RedCard Pte Ltd

"I'm disappointed with the turnout today as we targeted a crowd of 25,000 for today's match." said the former national defender whose company recently organized the A-League's new boys, North Queensland Fury match against Tampines Rovers in late May.

Match organizer - R Sasikumar (file picture)

"Probably, factors like the infrastructure-wise and the scheduling of the match might have some fans unable to turn out, which proved to be a challenge for us in organizing such games in the future."

"But at the end of the day, it all depends on what we want to achieve from these events as the whole idea to get local clubs and the national team to play against top quality opponents." said "Sasi" as he's commonly called in the local football fraternity.

When asked if the recent publication of a newspaper article questioned the "steep" ticketing pricing which could have determined the poor turn-out.

"I rather disappointed with that article as they seem to contradict with another that appeared on the day before." he lamented.

It all depends on how we look at it if this event is a success or still a long way to go.

Like what I mentioned in the letter (above) I wrote to the "mainstreamer", this event has the potential to become a marquee event for August, and we just need some time to see it grow.

While we may not expect the European sides to come down at this point of time each year due to the start of their domestic season, however, there are still other quality teams we can invite.

Also, factors like the availability of the teams, and the venue are some of the factors being highlighted are the problems the organizers face when staging this event in the future, so in the end, we can only please some.

One of the big turn-offs was the performance of the emcees of the game was rather mundane and failed to hype up the atmosphere that was supposed to be fun and merry-making, no thanks to their read-from-the-script way of presenting (what happened here?).

Just being honest on this point as blasting the national day songs through the PA system wasn't enough to get the fans involved (Where were the cheers or are they too soft that I can't hear from my end?).

Many thanks and appreciation to Mr Jonathan Leow, Ms Carolyn Soh, and Ms Fadilah Amir Hamzah of SPRG Pte Ltd for making this blog entry possible.


  1. hey this man's the ultimate fan. Saw him once singing the National anthem loudly and passionately, he's not only present for soccer matches, he's present for AYG swimming events too, salute!

  2. Hi "Anonymous"..

    I'm sorry I had to omit the picture of the fans as I have to make way for the updating of this blog entry... Hope you understand, Thanks

    With Regards

  3. Hmm... Well, the turn-out was as poor as I predicted.

    You mention the emcees could've done a better job, but don't you think it would've been tricky to balance the rather rowdy and unsportsman-like China crowd with the nonexistent and tame home crowd? As it was, China was jeering every Singaporean from the get-go and many sat down during our anthem.

    And with no music to work with so to speak, it's a challenge in itself. Besides... All the support for Singapore was coming from 1) the Lions Fan Club on the other side of the pitch and 2) the international school students -most of whom were white?!

  4. Hi "萤",

    Personally, I felt the overwhelmed MCs could have done a better job by engaging the fans of both side, rather than plain read-out-of-script.

    Was there any spontaneous interaction between the mentioned parties??

    No music to work with? the national day songs fitted the event well as it's the "National Day Challenge", isn't it?

    After all, the music are just to compliment the whole event but not as the main theme, right?

    But it's equally important on what the MCs should do to hype it up!

  5. Hi "Rondal"...

    Not to worry, it'll be back next year.. do mark it down on your calendar :)


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