ASC2018: Touch of Singapore for landlocked Laos

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Singaporean is at the helm but nothing is expected to change for Laos in the 12th edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup which kicks-off on Nov 8. As in past Laos is not expected to go past the group stage.
 
In 2016 it was Mike Wong, who is now the Laos Football Federation’s technical director, as the coach and Laos even failed to qualify to the biennial championships.
In mid-October this year widely traveled former Singapore international and coach V. Sundramoorthy signed a three-year deal with Laos as the new head coach in a bid to take the country’s football to new heights.
 
Statistics do not favor Laos – the only landlocked nation in South East Asia – in previous Asean championships and neither does it favor this year. Time is undoubtedly against Sundramoorthy, dubbed “The Dazzler” during his playing days.
 
The best result so far this year was a 2-2 draw against Bangladesh in a friendly at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane on March 27 – just a week after a 1-0 defeat to Cambodia at the same venue.
 
Earlier in September, Laso also played a friendly against the United Arab Emirates in a friendly in Palamos, Spain with the Arab nation winning 3-0. 
 
Laos lost 0-1 to Bangladesh and 1-3 to the Philippines in the Bangabandhu Cup in Dhaka in October – a tournament as used as part of their preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup.
 
A day after Sundramoorthy penned his three-year deal, Laos suffered a 1-4 defeat to Mongolia in an international friendly at home.
 
Sundramoorthy, an attacking midfielder cum striker during his playing days, was the second Singapore player to ply his football trade in Europe after the famed Fandi Ahmad who is now the coach of the Lions.
 
Fandi played for FC Groningen in the Dutch League while Sundramoorthy played for FC Basel in the Swiss League.
 
As the coach of the Singapore national team, the statistics did not favor Sundramoorthy but Laos could be the perfect avenue for “The Dazzler” to prove his worth as a coach. Under Sundramoorthy, Singapore won only three out  
of the 23 matches.
 
Laos is drawn in Group A in the Suzuki Cup together with Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Their first match is against Malaysia at home on Nov 8.
 
However, it must be noted that Laos did achieve some positive results against higher ranked teams in the region in friendlies and even in competition – defeating the Philippines, Cambodia and even Malaysia. 
It must be remembered that Laos dumped Malaysia out of the 1997 SEA Games football competition in Jakarta with a 1-0 win. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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