For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Monday, January 13, 2020

Prove Your Point Outside!

To be honest, I am not sure what is the approach of most Singaporean players playing in tournaments like AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup - an opportunity to gauge their worth against regional opponents at a higher competitive setting OR an extra burden to their domestic commitments that might affect their game?

And to be honest again, at this stage I still having doubts that the Singapore Premier League (SGPL) is an ideal platform to allow Singaporean players to showcase their worth to regional market given the lack of intensity and competitiveness in recent years, as compared to some Football Association of Singapore (FAS) top officials envisage for (if I'm not wrong).

Home United's (red) 2018 AFC Cup run was a rare success in ongoing doldrums
That is why it is important for SGPL clubs to do well in the AFC Cup or at the higher tier AFC Champions League (ACL), if given the chance to do so, when recent years' results have been poor except for Home United's relatively good run in 2018 saw them crowned as the Asean zonal champions of this second tier club competition in Asia.

While national coach Tatsuma Yoshida's astuteness saw him fielded a few players with little or no AFC Cup experience but did decently okay to justify their selection, it is still useful and worthwhile for local footballers who yet to earn a cap to aim for chance to play in these continental tournaments to see how they fare against regional peers.

This view by Coach Raddy changed my opinion completely (as credited)
It is because I still agree with what former national coach Raddy Avramovic who once stressed the importance to perform well in tournaments like AFC Cup at club level, so that Singapore players can know what to expect when play for the Lions at international level where pace and fitness are much more demanding than in the domestic game.

A good showing against regional sides in AFC Cup is a good testament for SGPL clubs and Singaporean players that they can compete head to head with their regional peers.

We cannot simply say this particular player has been outstanding in SGPL and that's why is he ready to be poached by overseas sides when exposure at tournaments like AFC Cup could be something value add to his profile.

An unforgettable journey of the Tigers (as credited)
Furthermore, playing in AFC Cup provides opportunity for our players how their follow peers live when long distance travelling to games is part and parcel of their supposedly livelihood when moving around to any part of Singapore is almost within an hour reach, unless they are caught in a traffic jam.

Remember, it is at an AFC tournament not something obscurity at your backyard that regional clubs would prefer to see if our local footballers can make it or break it or not before waving the cheques.

Get out now to prove a point!

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Stack Of Memories That Seen The Changes ...

When I declared my season was done after the 2019 Singapore Cup final, I realized I amassed a stack of accreditation passes that were essential to work behind the scene from the days it was known as the S.League till two years ago when it was rebranded as Singapore Premier League (SGPL).

My involvement started half way in 1998 (the third season) when I answered a call and turned up at a meeting in the S.League office at old National Stadium to be part of the crew assembled to help the official league website.

Evolution of the passes 
The first pass I received was a laminated pass the necessary details besides the photo which I snapped at one of those instant photo booths, on the bottom of the pass listed the league sponsors of that season like Tiger Beer, Pepsi, NTUC Income and Singapore Pools.

NAMECARD SIZE PASS FIT IN NICELY
The following year saw the pass shrunk into a namecard-size made of plastic material by Cardwon from Taiwan and honestly speaking, I like the size of it as it fit in nicely into your wallet that you would not misplace it unless you really did.

In totally, the namecard-size plastic pass were issued for fourteen seasons (utill 2012) before the relevant authority reverted back to those laminated type in 2013.

Total of 14 "namecard" passes were issued
Goal 2010 logo was placed on passes from 2000 to 2003
2014 pass was a multi-functioning pass
Owning to its significance, the pass also made sure we were reminded of that grand "GOAL 2010" project whose logo was prominently placed on passes issued in season 2000 to 2003 (the project was dropped in June 2004).

Besides the S.League matches, the accreditation issued for season 2014 also allowed the pass holder acess to "home" matches of the national team, the Lions XII's home game at Jalan Besar Stadium.

"S.LEAGUE" LAST APPEARED IN 2017
With the exception of 2017 that last saw the name "S.LEAGUE" appeared on the pass, the accreditation issued by the governing body since 2016 is separated into two - one for the domestic league/cup tournaments with the other specifically for matches involving the national team's "home" matches.

"S.League" made its final appearance on 2017 pass
Separate accreditations were issued since 2016 (except 2017)
Following the rebranding exercising that revamped the league to SGPL, the accreditation pass issued from 2018 onwards are clearly defined in line with those used at continental level where terms like PHO (defined as photographer) and PRE (journalist) being inscribed to identify the pass holder's actual role on match days.

It is probably because those terms are printed in bigger and bolder font for better visibility from a distance away which explains why the bigger size of the accreditation pass, I would love to see the return of the namecard-size that fitted into my wallet some days soon though, if I am still allowed to apply for one again.

(P.S: necessary details on cards are blanketed for security reasons)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

[Annual Review] Not Flogging The Dead Horse

This year's review will be on the blog itself.

If we are going to talk about the state of the local game for the past twelve months, it would be another session of flogging the dead horse.

EVOLUTION - NECESSARY PROCESS
Evolution is a necessary process for most of us and this platform is no different in order to stay relevant.

Although I would say I took a route that evolved this platform into something not conventional and some may not even find it relevant at all.

Since last year, this platform decided to place more focus on something it had never done before when compilation of historical accounts of local football is being prioritized.

Sunday Nation headlines on 13th March 1977 (NLB archive)
The process of combing through the online newspapers archives has been a rewarding experience that it is an eye opener to realize how active the scene was in the long gone era.

Media coverage by the press were abundant with newspapers like The Straits Times, Malayan Tribune, Singapore Free Press, New Nation, Singapore Monitor, etc. frequently assigned their reporters to cover the bits and pieces of the thriving football scene back then.

APPRECIATING THE PAST
The uncovering of the long forgotten Business Houses League and the confirmation of the identities of the seven players who played for Hong Kong's Kitchee SC in the 1950s is nothing more than satisfying and to receive a compliment from a next of kin of one of those seven players is a morale boaster that made the whole effort worthwhile.

This compliment is a great encouragement, thanks 
Ironically, despite the advancement of the information technology these days, the coverage of local football scene nowadays is a pale shadow as compared to the past that it could be something explained in one of the past entries of this blog.

WORRYING FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Given the present scarcity of coverage, so where and how would future generations depend on if they intend to learn what happened nowadays?

One of the worrying signs is that those match reports and relevant news articles on the former official league website are not readily available.

To make things worse the former site that used to host the official league website (www.sleague.com) seems to be taken over by some unknown party following the rebranding of the league to Singapore Premier League last year and attempts to track down those old articles seems like a futile task.

POINTLESS TO CONTINUE IF ...
While a sizable time has been committed on those archival researching for the past one year, I still think it is pointless for me to compile past local football history when you still having people come up to say "how good were those days" and belittling the efforts of the present ones.

The achievements of the past generations shall be served to inspire the future ones.

I thought the later generations done just that when we won a few Asean titles when the past generations, while galvanized the whole nation, did not win a SEAP or SEA Games gold medal in spite of the enormous talents we used to have when the Malaya (later Malaysia) Cup was deemed the benchmark of local football pinnacle.

We won a few Asean titles in the recent generations but not the SEA Games Gold in past
Without any doubt, due recognition and acknowledgement should be given to those who deserved them

Unlike their British peers whose footages can be occasionally found on those old British Pathé newsreels, the present generation do not have a chance to witness how great players like Dolfatah, Lim Yong Liang, Chua Boon Lay, Mat Noor, Rahim Omar, etc. were, as described by those who were memerized by their wizardry at the either demolised Anson Road Stadium or the old Jalan Besar Stadium.

Perhaps, the only way to end the "greatness" debate is to have a match between teams of different generations which, of course, is impossible and coming to this juncture - shall we put to an end of the debate that will lead to no conclusion?

(P.S 1: Some images in this entry were reproduced from sources, as credited, should anyone feel it's inappropriate to have any of the media shown, please kindly email me as soon as possible and I will remove them upon request.)

(P.S 2: I stand to be corrected should there be any mistake in this entry, please feel free to email me should there be any mistake, thanks)

Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Matchpix" - October 2019

  • #BrasilGlobalTour2019- Brazil 1-1 Nigeria 131019
Brazil's "Bobby" Firmino (20) prepares for a shoot against Nigeria
The star-studded Brazilian national team wrapped up their whirlwind tour with another draw against another African opponents - Nigeria at the National Stadium.

Joe Aribo scored for the Super Eagles in the 35th minute before Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro levelled the scoreline in the 48th minute.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • WCQ 2022 - Singapore 1-3 Uzbekistan 151019
Both Shawal Anuar (20) and Irfan Fandi (17) raided the Uzbeks' fortress
Singapore succumbed to their second consecutive defeat following a 3-1 lost to Uzbekistan at the National Stadium.

The visitors took the lead in the 15th minute through Odil Ahmedov before Ikhsan Fandi equalized at the stroke of half time to send the home fans to wild jubilation.

Eldor Shomurodov's double in the second half wrapped up all three points in the bag for the Uzbeks.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • Singapore Cup - Balestier Khalsa 0-0 Warriors FC 231019
Gabriel Quak (white) forced his way out of the tangle
It has not been the best of the season for the beleaguered Warriors given the recent bad spate of publicity surrounded the once mighty giants of local football.

But they defied the odds and made it to the semis of the Komoco Motors Singapore Cup.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Dead Wood Feeling of A Cup ...

Somehow, the atmosphere for the ongoing Komoco Motors Singapore Cup tournament just don't seems to feel right at all.

It is a major cup semi-final phase we are now talking about but the ambience is as if nothing happened to set the stage right for the fans, if any, to fire up their imagination.

The semis are scheduled four days apart. (source)
Here we have a situation that not only could possibly see Brunei DPMM clinch a historical double but would also see any three of the local sides, namely Geylang International, Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC put an end to the "local drought" by claiming the Singapore Cup this season.

STAGS' LAST HOPE FOR GLORY
Having fumbled in their league title chase, the Stags knew it very well the Cup is their best hope to end their trophy drought after they last won the S.League title back in 2013.

But even with a two-goal advantage from their first-leg win over Geylang, their co-tenants at Our Tampines Hub, Tampines are well aware they shall never take things for granted especially the Eagles having knack of scoring crucial goals in the dying moments in any match which they did a few times during the league campaign.

One of the goals scored in the dying moments by Geylang this season

It is certainly not the best of a season for the once mighty Warriors FC who are struggling to revive their fortunes on the field, yet the Singapore Cup had thrown them a lifeline that saw them in the final four of this tournament after finished unbeaten in Group A.

WARRIORS' LAST CHANCE TO REVIVE
It would have be a different story when they are due at home against DPMM later tonight, should Warriors' skipper Gabriel Quak converted his chance from the spot last weekend to level the series at one a piece.

However, given the wafer-thin lead brought over from the first leg, DPMM are well aware they must not be complacent, if not we could see another slip up on their part that almost derailed their league title chase at the closing stage at one point.

Highlights from DPMM-Warriors' semi-final (first-leg) match

The lack of ambience and anticipation that usually associated to a Cup competition might attribute to the fact that it is already approaching the end of the local football calendar that made the whole scheduling packed like a can of sardines.

Barely three days after the completion of the group stages, the first leg of the semi-final fixtures were held last Saturday (26th October) before staging of the second leg of the series later this evening with the final taking place on 2nd of November that will see the third/fourth placing match on the same day as well.

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