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Lions and Tigers : The story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia - by John Duerden (Paperback)
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Veteran football correspondent John Duerden explores one of the world's big rivalries in the world of football—that between Singapore and Malaysia, and what it means for both nations.
So the tiger that arrived in the Lion City was not a sleek predator full of hunger, confidence and menace but something of a scaredy-cat just looking to avoid defeat. And in the big rivalries that is sometimes what it is all about. Winning can be lovely but the prospect of standing—or these days sitting—in the stadium while watching rival fans celebrate wildly and lengthily is one of the worst feelings in football, despite how necessary it is from time to time.
“I was told that whatever you must do, you must not lose to Malaysia,” said Trevor Hartley when he arrived in 1976 to become Technical Director of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and then the national team coach shortly after. “Losing to Malaysia was a huge no-no. It was not just the people at the association or those working in football. It was the media, of course, but also the people you saw on the street. When a game with Malaysia approached, people made it clear that defeat really was not an option. This is the one team you do not lose to. There was a lot of pride at stake.”
– From Chapter 1