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."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Matchpix" - March 2014 (sorry for the delay...)

(P.S: If you access this site via "come.to/matchpix", please click the "Facebook" icon after you click "HERE" when you want to view the album as that will redirect you to the album, thank you)

  • AFC Cup Home Utd 1-1 Persipura Jayapura 11/3/14
Eye on the ball on a hazy night
This was the first time I wore a mask to shoot the match, as it was so hazy and choking that evening.

Much better display from a S.League side with Home United drew 1-1 with Persipura Jayapura in this fixture, but the Protectors paid the heavy price for having a thin squad for this campaign and made things look very difficult for them at this stage.

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  • Paul Scholes at Court Megastore
Paul was looking at me ...
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes was at Court Megastore on the invitation by the IT and furniture retailing giants.

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  • S.League - Home Utd 2-2 Hougang Utd 28/3/14
Fazrul Nawaz (no 17) on song since his return
Everything started well until the haze struck again and should brought along my mask.. "Cough.. Cough".

Anyway, it was a fair result for the outcome that the visiting Cheetahs failed to capitalize on the numerical advantage after Home's Lee Kwan Woo was sent off early in second half.

It was good to see Fazrul Nawaz stabbed home from close range to level the match at the skin of the teeth after his comeback from a lengthy rehab period.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

[AFC Cup] Indra marked his return with the winner and Fazrul is unstoppable!

Indra Sahdan (no.19) scored the winner
Save for the own goal resulted by Precious Emuejeraye's touch in the 26th minute that led to the equalizer for the visiting Churchill Brothers, it was, otherwise, a dominant performance by Home United in this returning AFC Cup Group E fixture at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The Goa side beat the reigning Singapore Cup holders 3-1 in their earlier meeting and with defending S.League champions Tampines Rovers defeated another Indian side Pune FC a day earlier in another group match, it was without any doubt that the Protectors were determined to duplicate the same outcome.

Fazrul (right) can't stop scoring since his return

Izzdin Shafiq (right) tussle with Balwant Singh

All hard works eventually paid off when 35-year-old striker Indra Sahdan Daud, who came on as a replacement for Emuejeraye in the second half, scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute to signal his comeback to the scene after long lay off since last September when he broke his leg in a friendly match against Hong Kong.

"I feel good and happy to score (the winning goal) but the important thing is the team win tonight, as we have not been getting the results we want." said former national skipper on scoring the goal that gifted his side their season's first continental win after the match.

Timely tackle by Ismail Yunos (no.8) in second half
Camara rose to clear the danger
Indeed, the recent weeks had been a grueling period for the Bishan-based club for having a number of key players not available due to injuries and saw they relied heavily on a largely skeletal squad in all competitions.

Nonetheless, Coach Lee Lim Saeng is able to catch a breather of late when stalwarts like Fazrul Nawaz and import Bruno Castanheira are making their return to the starting lineup to beef up their attack up front with the former on a scoring spree since returning to the action last month by triggered the strike the 25th minute.

Bruno (no.7) adds flair to HU's attack
However, the former Korea national defender is not ready to rest on the laurels with those cautions he sounded at the post-match press conference.

Speaking to the media after the 2-1 win, Coach Lee said:"I'm happy with the result and thank my players, but we are not finished yet。"

"My main concern is my players' fitness, we are playing seven games this month with our next game against Balestier (on this coming Saturday)and we need to show more improvement in collecting the ball, better support between our defence and attack."

Despite the win that favourably placed the Protectors on verge of repeating the same feat they did in 2012 by making to the knock-out phrase of the continent second-tier tournament, the Incheon native maintained:"It's too early to see if we can make it to next round, we need to see the next game."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Scrappy win by Jaguars at the expenses of the Young Lions

View from the top of the match
Tanjong Pagar United put their recent slide to a halt with a scrappy 3-2 win over Courts Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

By any account, it wasn't the best display of football shown by the Jaguars, but having snapped the recent poor run of form had relieved some pressure off their French coach Patrick Vallee.

Speaking to the media after the game, the 2010 title-winning coach lauded the performance shown by his depleted side.

"I'm very happy and proud of my players today for not giving up," said the Frenchman, "It was a good effort shown and especially by (Monsef) Zerka for putting up a very good performance."

For the record, the Moroccan marquee signing of the last season's Cup losing finalists netted a hat-trick to see him broke his scoring duck for the campaign after a barren spell that lasted for four matches.

Capitalized on opportunities as the result of some defensive slip-ups by the hosts, the former Moroccan international opened his account by levelling the scores in the 36th minute by slotted home the ball into the unguarded goal before gifted the visitors the lead in the 48th minute with a header off a corner.

The winning goal of the match was a master class effort by the 33-year-old by finishing off with ease after lobbing the ball over the onrushing Young Lions' custodian Syazwan Buhari on the edge of the box in the 53rd minute.

Putting those aside, the same would not say on the Jaguars backline that is besieged by the absence of key players due to injuries with the likes of Anthony Aymard and Zahid Ahmad sitting out for the match.

Should decisiveness be in place in the 18th minute, Tanjong Pagar would not have found themselves trailing by a goal when Hanafi Salleh failure to clear the ball from close range and eventually had former Geylang United striker Amy Recha triggered the scoreboard the 18th minute.

While Coach Vallee may not be too pleased with the manner how the above mentioned goal was conceded, he was pleased with the effort shown by his defence this evening.

Coach Vallee (left) shares his thoughts
Said the ex-Etoile coach:"I'm not happy with how the first goal was conceded, but overall I am happy with the effort shown by the defence with everyone from the team came to help."

Despite being the better-shaped of the two, the national developmental side could only find themselves accepted their losing fate once again after they ran out of ammunition following the short-lived equalizer by Muhaymin Salim in the 50th minute.

"We could have done better with the chances we created after the two goals that we could have equalized towards the end of the game." lamented Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar in the post-match media session.

"I am also not happy with our defence that we must learn not to repeat the same mistakes and we will continue work hard to stop conceded goals like those tonight."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Inspirational Scholes reaffirm Courts' commitment to local football

Scholes (center, facing the camera)
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes wooed the crowds this morning at Courts Megastore in Tampines where he made his appearance at the invitation by the leading IT and furniture retailer.

As part of their 40th anniversary celebration, Courts decided that the presence of the former England midfielder dovetailed the occasion with Scholes, himself, will be celebrating his 40th birthday this coming November.

A day before this morning, the ex-England international was at the Jalan Besar Stadium where a special coaching session was held between him and the players from Courts Young Lions, the S.League team that is being sponsored by Courts.

For having played his entire career for the Red Devils, it was no surprise to have the most questions on them fielded by the media in a roundtable session.

Scholes snapping some shots
Sharing his thoughts on the result of the Champions League draw last night, where the beleaguered powerhouses are slated to face Bayern Munich, the "Ginger Prince" felt that despite the difficult times, the team are still capable of doing well.

Said Scholes:"I think we are still capable to beat Bayern Munich (in the Champions League), as we are having quality players in the team."

The soft-spoken legend revealed that he will be starting his coaching courses in coming June and is hoping for "something to come along the way", while spending quality time with his family since hanging up his boots last May.

"Media Roundtable" at the Courts Megastore
In the meantime, drawing his experience of starting out from the junior ranks of the Red Devils, Scholes appreciated the journey for playing alongside with some of the best in the business.

"It was an incredible experience for playing with some of these established players who were always there to give advice when needed,"

In having said that, the retired midfielder believes the importance of youth development in football.

Scholes shares his thoughts on various topic
Youth (development) is a must, as they are the future of the game and from what I saw yesterday, the players are willing to learn and desperate to be at the top, that should be the way to be and there's no guarantee to success."

Inspiring a younger generation of footballers with players like Scholes to share their vast experience is the reason why Courts have been actively inviting others like Robbie Fowler, Dietmar Hamann in the past.

Group CEO of Courts Asia - Mr Terry O'Connor
Reaffirmed that commitment at the roundtable session is Group CEO of Courts Asia, Mr Terry O'Connor.

"It's always interesting to bring top iconic players to be role models for the young players to inspire from," opined the 46-year-old Englishman.

"Being part of our community engagement, what we hope to achieve is to give a different platform in our ongoing engagement with the FAS and the S.League, it's something not on short-term basis but it's going in the right direction."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Initiative to give a Head Start to a viable coaching career path

(This entry is formulated based on the media release issued by the Football Association of Singapore, images depicted in this blog entry are issued alongside with the same media release.)

Group Photo for the Launch (credit: FAS)
In a move to give footballers a head start to a viable coaching career path, a collaboration between the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the Republic Polytechnic (RP) had launched recently to provide opportunity for players who are keen to make that progression.

Under the new program, the pilot batch of the 22 selected students from the RP’s Diploma in Sports Coaching course will be awarded the AFC (Asia Football Confederation) ‘C’ Coaching Certification, accredited by the game's continental governing body, upon successful completion of their course.

On top of that, these students will also be awarded the National Coaching Accreditation Programme (NCAP) Level One Certificate, a coaching certification accredited by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), as revealed in a media release issued by FAS on this new initiative.

Some of the students from the pilot batch (FAS)
“We are privileged to be the first institute of higher learning to partner FAS in offering this customised programme. This collaboration will value add to our sports coaching diploma’s curriculum, and allow our students to deepen both their theoretical knowledge and practical coaching skills as they strive to become the next generation of football coaches.” said Mr Seto Lok Yin, Deputy Principal (Industry Services), Republic Polytechnic on the objective of this new collaboration in the said release.

Sharing his thoughts on this new course, Lions XII midfielder Ignatius Ang believe that he will benefit from the course.

Said the second-year student of RP:“Possessing an AFC “C” Licence will certainly help me both on and off the pitch. It will set the technical foundations for me as a player to see through the eyes of a coach. It will also give me an option to pursue coaching as a career in future. I’m delighted to be in the pioneer batch of RP students to be given this opportunity.”

Concurring the same sentiments is Nabilah Abdul Latiff of the Women’s National Team, she said:“Although I am still playing competitive football, getting my coaching certifications early helps me prepare for a post-playing career in coaching. It is also good because while doing so, I also get the NCAP certification, which is recognised at the national level. In addition to the coaching certifications, we also get our academic diplomas so it is a triple bonus for us students.”

Mr Lim Kia Tong addresses the audience (FAS)
Gracing the occasion over the last weekend that announced the launch of the program at the Polytechnic's premises, FAS's vice-president, Mr Lim Kia Tong said:"The launch of and the injection of the AFC ‘C’ Coaching Certificate Course as a module of the Republic Polytechnic’s Diploma in Sports Coaching Course is a brilliant idea emanating from Republic Polytechnic. The implementation of the AFC ‘C’ Coaching Certificate Course for students of Republic Polytechnic is very important milestone and chapter in the history of the Republic Polytechnic and the Football Association of Singapore (“FAS”). For the first time in the long history of the AFC ‘C’ Coaching Certificate Course, we see the youngest cohort of participants of the ages between 18 and 22 years.

“It is very beneficial to see people being trained to be coaches from a young age as the AFC ‘C’ Coaching Certificate is the first step towards the AFC Pro Diploma coaching licence, which is the qualification required to coach at the elite level. It would be very interesting if all the students in this cohort obtain the AFC ‘C’ Coaching Certificate at these ages. They will have many years to polish up their coaching skills as they journey towards getting the AFC Pro Diploma Coaching Licence." he added.

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