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 By Kelvin Leong

Coach Aide Iskandar resigns after Singapore SEA Games exit

Singapore U23 head coach Aide Iskandar announced his immediate resignation in the aftermath of the host nation's exit from the football competition of the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Needing a win to make it through to the semifinals, Singapore lost 1-0 to Indonesia in their final Group A game after a 47th minute goal by Indonesian wonder kid Evan Dimas.

Just after the game, the 40-year-old former national captain said: "For your information, I've just resigned and informed the players. I told them the game still has to go on for them because they are still young and can only get better.

"I told them that defeats like this can only make them stronger. I want to thank the players and last but not least, the fans who have been supportive."

Former Courts Young Lions coach Aide had been in charge of Singapore U23 since 2013. He guided them to third at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar. As a player, he won three AFF championships, including the last two -- in 2004 and 2007 -- as captain.

Aide Iskandar resigned after Singapore U23's exit from the SEA Games on Thursday night. Photo credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee/Action Images via Reuters

Singapore midfielder Adam Swandi lauded his coach as a "father to the boys" and felt that the team needed to take the blame for the defeat.

"Coach [Aide] has been a father to every single one of us, all 29 players," Adam said. "He is really inspiring as a player and as a coach. Always backing us and telling us what we should or should not do. Whenever we make mistakes, he doesn't just scold us but instead, he will take the time to explain and help us by learning from him.

"He is a quality coach and no one should say bad things about him because they don't know him as a person. I really respect him for what he has done for us and I wish to thank him so much for everything."

As for his own dreams moving forward, the 19-year-old wants to erase this painful exit in the group stages when he hopes to take to the field at the next SEA Games in two years time.

"Not being in the semis is disappointing and hurtful. That really gives me the motivation to train even harder to make sure we are ready for the next SEA Games where I am determined to make the final four.

"I'm sure the team of players who are qualified to play in the next SEA Games will be ready for it. We will persevere and make sure that we use this lesson as a reminder when we go into that tournament."

With the host nation's exit from the tournament, Saturday's semifinals will see Indonesia take on defending champions Thailand while Vietnam face off against Myanmar at the National Stadium in Kallang.

The final is scheduled for Monday at the same venue.


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