Rafi drums up support
Sporting a pair of John Lennon-esque glasses, he hit the drums to the beat of a well-known Beatles song.
"Come together, right now, over you," he belted out in front of the audience at Harry's Bar at Orchard Towers last Thursday, while two other band members held placards which read: "Come together for the Young Lions at the SEA Games!"
The drummer was none other than former national player Rafi Ali, whose band The Vibes were dedicating their rendition of the Beatles' "Come Together" to Singapore's Under-23 football squad ahead of the South-east Asia (SEA) Games.
"It's a great idea to use this song as a show of support - hopefully the team know that so many people are behind them," Rafi told The New Paper.
"Come Together" was chosen to coincide with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong's vision for the SEA Games to be an opportunity for Singaporeans to unite as "One Team Singapore".
The lyrics were inspired by ideas from LionsXII fans, and also performed by students from St Joseph's Institution in a YouTube tribute video to their school team coach, Kadir Yahaya, who is also an national U-23 assistant coach.
The Young Lions will be looking to keep up their new-found form.
They thrashed Laos Under-23 5-1 in a closed-door friendly on Saturday, a week after beating Shizuoka Sangyo University 3-0 during a training stint in Japan for their first win of the year.
Rafi, who played in the 1993 SEA Games - the last time it was hosted in Singapore - is confident that the Young Lions will do well.
He said: "Preparation and the actual competition are very different. As long as the boys play their hearts out, they will have a good tournament."
Singapore will kick off their campaign against the Philippines next Monday before facing Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia in Group A.
Rafi believes that the Young Lions should aim to advance to the semi-finals, where they might face Thailand or Vietnam.
He said: "Getting past the group stage is important because the group draw is in our favour.
"So let's get to the semis first and then anything can happen after that."
COME TOGETHER FOR THE YOUNG LIONS*
Hey there, Young Lions.
You’ve got, the chance of a lifetime.
You must, play your red hearts out.
And we, will be there with you.
Fight for us as we roar for you.
Got to stand up proud because we’re all in for good.
Come together, right now, over you.
*To the tune of The Beatles’ Come Together