By Shamrir Osman
ANY faint chance Singapore have of advancing to the final round of World Cup qualifiers appear to have been wiped out, after a check of fifa.com and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website indicated Group 4 opponents Saudi Arabia would play at home again tomorrow against Lebanon.
The Saudis had defeated Lebanon 4-1 on Monday and should have travelled to Beirut tomorrow for the away tie, but an AFC spokesman said:
“At the time the fixture was being decided, there was political unrest in Beirut. Both teams agreed to play the fixture in Riyadh, and the move was sanctioned by Fifa.”
Singapore face leaders Uzbekistan tomorrow in Tashkent. The Lions are in third place in the group after three games, six points behind the Uzbeks and three behind the second-placed Saudis, who they face at home on June 14.
The top two advance to the final round of qualifiers for South Africa 2010, and it is understood that at this point in time, the Lebanon-Singapore fixture on June 22 is still scheduled to be held in Beirut.
When contacted yesterday, Football Association of Singapore media spokesperson, Eric Ong, said: “We understand that Lebanon are unable to host their match against Saudi Arabia, and so that match will be played in Riyadh.
“As such we’ve written to Fifa to seek clarification on the status of our away fixture against Lebanon on June 22 and are awaiting their response. “If we are slated to play that game in Singapore, we are willing to host the Lebanon side.”