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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Singapore risks becoming minnows due to 'tsunami' - Kadir Yahaya

Former international defender Kadir Yahaya says a "tsunami" is about to hit Singapore football, with the four-time AFF champions in danger of becoming one of Southeast Asia's minnows.

The 48-year-old considers next month's Football Association of Singapore (FAS) elections to be a pivotal point in the sport's history in the Republic.

"We are at a critical juncture in our football, and if we don't improve in the next five years, our realistic opponents will be the so-called minnows, countries like Bhutan, Mongolia and Timor Leste," Kadir told The New Paper.

"We need a really solid plan. Like it or not, there is a tsunami coming to Singapore football. It's best to stop bickering and remain focused."

Kadir was one of the heroes from Singapore's team who won the 1998 AFF Championship for the first of their regional titles. He also guided Singapore's under-15 side to a bronze medal at the 2010 inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

Kadir Yahaya says Singapore football needs to broaden its view beyond the Suzuki Cup and SEA Games.

The April 29 election is looming as a battle between FAS council member Lim Kia Tong and Hougang United chairman Bill Ng.

"I don't have a preference yet, but whoever wins the election shouldn't be slapping themselves on the back, because there is a huge task ahead," Kadir added.

"I hope the president is a hands-on man, maybe even one who takes football as a full time job and is able to make important decisions immediately."

As for priorities, Kadir identified the need for the new regime to understand the need of the average Singapore football fan, while making it easier for youngsters to play the game.

"We are at a critical juncture in Singapore football," he said. "We are still just focused on the Suzuki Cup and Southeast Asia Games.

"We need to aim higher, but our standards are dropping. There is a lot of work to be done.

"This president can be a game changer, he'll be the first one to be elected ... and I hope we get the right man."

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