SINGAPORE, 2023, JULY 07 – The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has announced the recommendations from the Post SEA Games Football Review 2023, aimed at improving the performance of the Singapore Football Team in future editions of the South East Asian Games (SEA Games). The review, which has now been completed, focuses on the SEA Games tournament preparation and the tournament itself, rather than long-term developmental issues.
Recognising the need for major improvements in Singapore’s football ecosystem, the recommendations concentrate on addressing major structural or procedural issues that affected the national U22 team in the recent SEA Games. The objective of the review was to foster a better future for Singapore football, avoiding blame and instead encouraging constructive dialogue and soul-searching among all involved parties.
The recommendations drew their conclusions from multiple sources. Internal operational reports submitted by FAS departments post-tournament, along with objective data generated by analytics, formed the basis of the findings. Subjective feedback was collected by a SEA Games Review Committee, which conducted interviews with personnel involved in the SEA Games, including players, coaches, administrators, and backroom teams. Additionally, discussions with resource individuals, including members from other Member Associations of FIFA, contributed to formulating some of the recommendations.
While the specific details of the discussions and findings remain confidential, the FAS is committed to implementing the recommendations over the next three to six months. These recommendations are expected to play a crucial role in enhancing the team’s performance and addressing the identified issues.
Outlined below are some of the key recommendations from the Post SEA Games Football Review 2023:
Recommendation 1: The Men’s U23/22 side will be placed under the Men’s National Teams, headed by the National Head Coach. This move aims to elevate the importance of the U23/22 squad, ensure the allocation of National Team resources to support them during major tournaments, and accelerate the transition of U23/22 players to the full ‘A’ team.
Recommendation 2: The SEA Games should be treated as a two-year project, allowing for longer-term development. This would include the deliberate inclusion of younger players to gain experience in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) as well as in 8-10 high-tempo, high-intensity international matches. The SEA Games Coach, who should also be the coach of the Young Lions, will be appointed for the project’s duration to enable long-term planning.
Recommendation 3: A comprehensive long list of players in the U23/22 squad should be developed at the start of the project, accompanied by Individual Development Plans (IDPs). These plans will enable the coaching staff to improve the individual abilities of players over the two years of preparation. Special emphasis will be placed on the 3-6 months leading up to the tournament, ensuring national team players arrive match-conditioned and fit.
Recommendation 4: The U23/22 team should prioritise only two tournaments: the SEA Games and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 tournament, which serves as the Olympic qualifier. All other tournaments will be regarded as developmental opportunities, considering the competing obligations faced by Singapore’s age group players.
Recommendation 5: Reviewing SPL rules to provide increased U23/22 minutes for key players. This would focus on ensuring that U23/22 players gain sufficient league match experience at the highest level, particularly closer to the tournament. Collaborative efforts with SPL clubs will be undertaken to align club and national objectives.
Recommendation 6: Implementing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for U23/22 priority tournaments that have multiple matches within a single window. The SOP will require a minimum of two weeks’ preparation, including two to three warm-up games prior to each tournament, with one week domestically and one week in the host country.
Recommendation 7: Incorporating mental preparation and team-building activities as mandatory components of pre-tournament preparation. A trained sports psychologist will be involved in helping players prepare individually and the squad collectively, with a focus on developing multiple leaders within the team.
Recommendation 8: Planning player diets when the FAS has control over meals to optimise nutrition, going beyond mere hydration advice.
Recommendation 9: Establishing a comprehensive analyst team at the national level to provide pre-game opponent analysis, in-game analysis, and post-game review with objective feedback.
Recommendation 10: Implementing proper medical verification and clearance processes for injured players during tournaments, including medical certification for players unavailable for selection and Head Coach approval for player movements.
The FAS is determined to build a stronger future for Singapore football by implementing these recommendations, which aim to address the identified issues and improve the team’s performance in future SEA Games. The forthcoming three to six months will be dedicated to executing these recommendations and driving positive change within the Singapore Football Team.