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."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

[Event] ICC Singapore Set To Make Kallang Wave in July

(This entry is formulated by the media release issued by Full Circle PR, the PR agency for "ICC Singapore" with all images depicted in this entry belong to Catalyst Media Group)

(L-R) Tore Andre Flo, Patrick Murphy of CMG, Hasan Salihamidžić, Melissa Ow of STB, Francesco Toldo
Amid speculation in recent weeks, it is now confirmed the widely anticipated International Champions Cup (ICC) will be held in Singapore this coming July at the National Stadium.

Not only the Republic will be the first country in the South East Asian region to play host to this prestigious tournament this year, she also earned the right to host the tournament for the next three years.

Since its inception back in 2013, the tournament featured some of the biggest names in world football with the match between Manchester United and Real Madrid in August 2014 witnessed a record turnout of 109,318 fans at the “Big House” (Michigan Stadium) at the University of Michigan - the largest attended soccer match in U.S. history.

Scheduled to take place from 25th to 29th of July, the ICC Singapore will feature Chelsea FC, FC Bayern and FC Internazionale in a round-robin three-match tournament. The fixtures in July will mark the first time top flight European teams play each other in Singapore.

"Singapore is a natural choice due to its location, efficiency and more importantly, the nation’s passion for international sporting events,” said Mr. Patrick Murphy, President and Chairman of Catalyst Media Group (CMG), the exclusive developer of the International Champions Cup in the Asia-Pacific region, on the decision to host the tournament in the Lion City.

“The ICC has revolutionized the pre-season touring experience for the world’s biggest and best football clubs and we are pleased to be able to expand the event and bring the tournament to Southeast Asia." added Murphy in a media release issued in regards to the announcement of the ICC Singapore.

Patrick Murphy, President & Chairman, Catalyst Media Group.
The hosting of the ICC Singapore is a collaboration between CMG and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as both parties inked a four-year partnership to anchor the ICC in Singapore in a press conference held this afternoon at Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

In attendance at the same event were the likes of Tore Andre Flo, Hasan Salihamidžić and Francesco Toldo representing Chelsea, Bayern and Inter respectively.

Beside the partnership with STB, CMG also announced agreements with Sport Singapore, Singapore Sports Hub, Mediacorp and Football Association of Singapore. The various partnerships ensure that the local community will benefit from activities that will be organized in conjunction with the inaugural ICC Singapore 2017, as mentioned in the said media release.

  • 25/7 - Chelsea vs Bayern
  • 27/7 - Bayern vs Inter
  • 29/7 - Chelsea vs Inter
Tickets will be available from March 30 at, the Sports Hub Box Office as well as at all Singapore Post outlets. Tickets start from $25 (child) and $40 (adult) for the International Champions Cup Singapore. Please visit for more information.


Thursday, March 09, 2017

More Visibility To Maximize The Hidden Marketing Potential

“I would love to see more proactive initiatives from clubs; more savvy marketing of players and teams to boost their profiles, as what we have seen (so far) has been dull and uninspiring.”
I said those words which appeared in an wide-ranging article on TODAY weeks ago.

Due credit to those who tried like how Home United did theirs last and this year, Hougang United kept everyone in the loop during the pre-season with some eye-catching updates on their Facebook "Page" and other social media platforms.

While these updates online can be easily accessible on mobile gadgets during our daily routines, let's not rule out some information could be outdated to certain end users unless they stick to their devices faithfully on 24/7 basis in order not to be left out.

Home United held their "meet-greet" before start of the season
Furthermore, one of the challenges facing most administrators using Facebook "Page", which is one of the main outreach tools by most clubs, is the constant tweaking of the secretive algorithms gradually resulted lesser engagement with those who "liked" the page. It can be frustrating after glancing through the statistics to see how many actually are able to receive new postings from those domains.

It is fair to say traditional forms of marketing is still pivotal in reaching out to a wider group of people, through the means of advertising on traditional medium such as newspapers (I had a colleague who told me he was expecting some details on S.League stuff on the papers), television or anything visible within the sight like bus interchanges or train stations.

Hougang United poster in 2016
Last season, the S.League entered a three-year partnership agreement with SMRT Commercial which pushed the league's marketing into new frontiers by having posters of clubs, players placed at strategic located stations together with highlights from selected games being flashed on video screens within the stations premises.

Although this wasn't the first collaboration between the public transport operator and the league, it was the first time, however, having promotional fixtures for the S.League, clubs, etc. inside places like train stations.

Nonetheless, some of these posters were not placed in prominent spots that many communters might not even notice them at all.

Therefore, these promotional fixtures did not maximize their potential to the fullest, given the mentioned "constraints" unlike some train stations in Japan.

Stairs of Iwata Train Station in Japan (credit Po Hui's friend)
"Jubilo-kun" is the mascot of Jubilo Iwata (credit Po Hui's friend)
"One of the first things I saw when alighted from the train was 'Jubilo-kun' - the mascot of Jubilo Iwata (a J-League club in J1 division)," recalled a friend on his recent trip to Iwata in southwestern Japan.

"Before reaching Iwata, I also noticed the presence of Shimizu (S-Pulse) at Shizuoka station that tells us how J-League clubs are reaching out in their based vicinity using resources like train stations where attention-grabbing posters, signages are common sights.

"One unique feature I realized is Japanese's (marketing) methods are more club oriented, unlike those 'collective efforts' I felt at our (SMRT) train stations." he added.

The "collective efforts" he highlighted is a lack of distinctive touch to set each club and the league's identities apart from one and other.

Beside what he saw at Iwata train station, This acquaintance also revealed some of the Jubilo Iwata related fixtures that caught his eyes - car decals affixed on taxi windows, vending machines with club colours during his visit.

Collaboration with SMRT Commercial is in its 2nd year (file)
Could Singapore emulate the savvy way of marketing shown by the J-League clubs, in SMRT train stations in the second year of the partnership?

In respond to that query via e-mail, an Football Association of Singapore (FAS) spokesperson replied:"There are guidelines on advertisements at the stations, but we will certainly explore more options with them in this new season."

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we do hope there will be changes made to add a bit more vibrancy and savviness in reaching out to the largely untapped market using more creativity to lure their attention.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Stags Proven Their Depth in 2-1 Win Over Hougang

Amri headed home the second goal in the 61st minute
Hougang United did not leverage on their earlier momentum they started off from Monday when they succumbed to a two-one defeat in the hands of Tampines Rovers at the Jalan Besar Stadium last evening.

The Stags, on the other hand, appeared to be the weaker side on paper following the suspension meted out to key players like skipper Madhu Mohana, Yasir Hanapi and Ismadi Mukhtar for their red card offences in the season opening Community Shield match against reigning champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) which doubled up as a league match.

Atsushi Shirota's (5) header forced a "Gordon Banks" from Izwan Mahbud 
Nonetheless, it seems that Tampines were able to handle the crisis with ease that serves as a testament for the ample depth in the squad they enjoying - something Coach Jurgen Raab is happy about.

Speaking to the media after the game, the former East German international said:"Having a big squad like ours allowed us to make changes (in situation like this) and I also want competition among the players to show their worth."

Which was exactly what winger Imran Sahib, who rejoined the club this season, and centerback Jufri Taha did to justify their selection and repaid the faith shown by Coach Raab on them in the absence of mentioned suspended trio.

Hougang's Pablo Aracil would have some thoughts on this
Adding the icing on the cake was the starting of Singapore international Khairul Amri for the first time in this season following two appearance as substitute in the AFC Cup match against Felda United and Community Shield fixture.

The 32-year-old striker announced his return to full fitness with a style when he headed home from close distance to double the lead for the designated home side in the 61st minute off a rebound in the six-yard box.

Earlier on the first half saw former Crotian Under-17 captain Ivan Dzoni scored from the spot to exorcise the ghost of that failed retaking attempt on last Sunday to give Tampines the lead in the 29th minute.

Fumiya Kogure (10) tried to split the wall with the pass
Japanese midfielder Fumiya Kogure's consolation in the 91st minute did just enough to prevent a shutout on Hougang United who are always backed by their partisan HOOLS at the stands.

"I thought we could secure one point after put up a good performance." said Hougang's coach Philippe Aw at the post-match media briefing at the FAS Boardroom.

"It was a good start to the game and the turning point of the match was the penalty (in the 29th minute) which I think we gave them too much time and space."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Matchpix" - February 2017

(P.S: If you access this site via "", 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)

  • "Monday Session" 130217
The players putting through the pace at Geylang Field 
With the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers coming up in weeks, National Caretaker Coach V Sundram moorthy called for the first "Monday Session" of the year at Geylang Field.

It is to note that players involved such sessions are not considered being "officially call-up", as doors are still open for those worthy for a spot in the national team. Good Luck...


  • Home Utd's "Meet-&-Greet"/ Juma'at Jantan Testimonial 180217
Selfie Time for the "Batch of 84"
Home United held their "meet-and-greet" session at their Bishan home ground which was preceded by a testimonial match for long-serving Juma'at Jantan.

The testimonial match saw the Protectors took on "Batch of 84", a team that featured the likes of Hafiz Osman, Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak, etc.

Juma'at and Hassan Sunny played one half each for both sides in this specially-arranged match.


  • AFC Cup - Tampines Rovers 2-1 Felda United 210217
Felda Utd's Hadin Azman (27) tried to find his way out
Tampines Rovers found themselves back to the second-tier continent tournament - AFC Cup, after failed to make the cut at AFC Champions League. The Group G opener saw the Stags took on Felda United from Malaysia who looked threatening towards the end of the game after pulled one late consolation in the 86th minute.


  • Community Shield - Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tampines Rovers 260217
Tampines Rovers' GK Izwan Mahbud claimed control of this aerial duel
While sorting out these shots, it was not the controversy Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League match between Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Tampines Rovers that made me reflect on things but those words said by a legendary photographer whom I met outside Kallang Wave.

He said :"For me, I just ensure the photos I took and pass them (client) in thumbdrive and they send to print in papers for next day..."


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

[AFC Cup] Stags Barely Found Their Flair In The Felda Opener

Fazrul Hazli (right) scored the consolation for "The Fighters"
Barely surprised many when the first half of this AFC Cup Group G fixture between Tampines Rovers and Felda United from Malaysia ended scoreless.

But what really surprised the crowd of 1277 at the Jalan Besar Stadium was the three-minute stoppage added on by the referee, which I doubt the decision went down too well with the audience, when many were more eager to head out for a breather following an uninspiring half of football.

Ivan Dzoni (extremely right) facing pressure from Felda's defenders 
In charge of his first competitive match since his recruitment weeks ago, Juergen Raab seems to adapt a much conservative approach that departed from the usual offensive flair associated with Tampines in the past.

Whilst we aren't sure if it is because the 58-year-old former Courts Young Lions coach still in the process of assessing the strength of his new team and resulted the team in yellow consistently strolled the ball around the park, trying to find any chance to prick open the stubborn Malaysian defence.

Probably because that assessment was completed before the break, the designated hosts decided to tweak their approach with two attacks launched on the left flank right after the interval to spark some excitement to the game.

Ismadi Mukhtar being sandwiched in this attempt
However, the Jengka-based team also devised a tactic to counter the change, as explained by their coach after the match.

“First half, I think my team did a good job where I told my players to maintain our discipline in both defence and attack,” said Felda coach Mohd Nik in the post-match press conference.

“In the second half, we changed our formation to 4-4-2 in order to make it more compact in the middle to prevent Tampines from penetrate too easily, but I felt the first goal we conceded was due to the lack of concentration and fatigue." added the 62-year-old coach who only took over the reins of last season's Malaysian Super League (MSL) runners-up merely days ago.

Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula (middle) diffused a threat
Stags' new signing Son Yong Chan placed his name on the scoresheet when he was at the receive end to head home a cross from the left by another new boy Raspreet Sandhu in the 64th minute to break the deadlock.

Although it took another twenty minutes before Tampines doubled their lead through the talismanic Khairul Amri who only started the game by came in as a replacement for ex-Croatian U-17 skipper Ivan Dzoni in the 70th minute.

The decision to start the 31-year-old Lions star from the bench was because Amri had just recovered from an injury and in view of the Community Shield which is taking place this coming Sunday against reigning champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) at Kallang, according to Tampines' assistant coach Herman Zailani in the post-match media briefing.

Son Yong Chan (7) kept close to Felda Utd's Hadin (27)
That 84th minute strike by the 113-capped marksman would have thought to seal the game on a clean sheet for the five-time S.League champions, until it was ruined by a well-taken consolation by Fazrul Hazli two minutes later to make in 2-1 at the end of the day.

Said Coach Herman of that 86th minute goal:"It was a good goal that made the game exciting towards to the end."

"It is also important for us to start the season well and this win placed us on a good position that I hope it is something we can build on it." he added.


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