It has become a bit of a cliché – but the term mother of all gold medals could not be more than apt when it comes to describing the men’s football event at the SEA Games which kicks off tomorrow at the Bishan Stadium.
While the official schedule of the SEA Games 2015 is from 5-16 June football – as had always been traditionally the case with all previous editions – start earlier than any other events.
Few would remember who won the men’s 100metres in Myanmar two years ago or who came out tops in the women’s 100m freestyle in Indonesia in 2011.
But when it comes to men’s football, many would recall who are the kingpins of the game at the Under-23 level in the region, and of course who is the defending champion.
And for those who has a really short memory like Forgetful Lucy, it is none other than Thailand.
The Thais were all conquering from 1993 to 2007 as they picked up eight straight gold medals to add to their total of 14 gold medals they have won since the SEAP Games was initiated back in 1959.
They have won the men’s football gold medals more than any other country. A distant second is Malaysia with six while third is Myanmar with five gold medals.
So who will win it this time?? Will Thailand romp to their 15th gold medals or will it be Singapore, where they will be counting on their home support as the 12th man to propel them to the top of the podium for the first time ever?
And what about Vietnam, who has been quietly confident after their sterling performance at the recent AFC U23 qualifiers?
Not discounting too Indonesia, who narrowly missed the gold two years ago by a solitary goal or Myanmar, who has proven to always be a handful as do the Malaysians, the back to back champions in 2009 and 2011.
Then there’s Timor Leste, fortified by their foreign-based players as do the Philippines. Laos and Cambodia have undergone a period of restructuring and will be anxious to see just how much they have progressed.
While Brunei seems to have new found confidence and will be eager to make an impression following the addition of a young striker from the famous Chelsea Football Academy.
There are plenty of heroes to be made for sure in Singapore and naming just a few of the probables at this time, seems a little unfair.
In all, these developments will make for an exciting competition for sure and just who will emerge victorious at the end of a grueling 20-day journey is anybody’s guess.
FIXTURES – 29 May 2015
Both matches at the Bishan Stadium
1600 – Brunei vs Vietnam
2030 – Laos vs Thailand