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."

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Muscle Aching As Well Besides Identity Confusion ...

Playing on artificial surface 😰
“... provides for more optimal deployment of resources” and “also frees up the other stadiums to be adapted for greater community use”
These words replied by the stadium landlord Sport Singapore (except for Our Tampines Hub which is owned by People’s Association) to the queries from The Straits Times, as quoted in an article by The Monitor, on the day the news broke out should be enough to explain the reasons behind the ground sharing decision which caused a ruckus in the scene of late.

The fact being when those "evacuated" clubs, while at their allocated grounds, aren't doing enough to pack the stands at their home games (let's face it), so there is no case for them to argue when the authority wants their stadiums to be more prioritised for community use.

After all, the idea of the ground sharing is not new when it was already mooted years ago before the materialising of it next season.

However, the issue we should be looking at is three out of the four stadiums are using artificial pitches and how much of an impact will be on players to play on these surfaces on consistent basis?

Zico was in town back in 2011 as Iraq national coach
Playing on artificial field is something frowned upon by many with Brazilian legend Zico famously remarked "artificial fields are meant for kids" when he was in town as the Iraq national coach back in 2011, a day before his side's match against Singapore on the artificial Jalan Besar Stadium turf.

Beside Jalan Besar, the other selected grounds with artificial turf for the upcoming season are Jurong East and Our Tampines Hub with Bishan Stadium being the only venue using natural grass surface.

"Playing on artificial turf is definitely not easy but it is something players have to get used to nowadays," said former national player Ismail Yunos on his thoughts on playing on artificial surface.

Ismail Yunos (in Gombak Utd's outfit) making his pass on JBS turf
He added emphasis should be placed on injury prevention as it is common to have muscle-related injuries incurred from playing on artificial field known for its rigid surface and hard bounces of the ball during matches.

"The worrying part should be the injury prevention, as chances of you getting injured (while) playing on an artificial pitch is a lot higher especially if it is going to be a 'week in week out' thing.

"There is always a danger when playing on the artificial pitch and if it is just for matches, it should be okay but having to train on it everyday might be a problem." concluded the two-time AFF Championship winner.

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Matchpix" - November 2018

  • 71st SCC Rugby 7s @ Padang - 031118
Action from 3rd of November 
The tournament also featured some youth rugby actions 
The SCC 7s is affectionally dubbed as the ‘Friendly Sevens’ and over the decades, legends like the late Jonah Lomu, New Zealand Rugby World Cup Sevens winning captain Eric Rush, All Blacks’ Hall of Famer Tana Umaga and South Africa’s former World Player of the Year Cecil Afrika graced the Padang on their ascendency to rugby stardom.
  • AFF Suzuki Cup - Singapore 6-1 Timor Leste 211118
Ikhsan Fandi (20) got better ahead in this aerial duel
The Lions answered the call and completed the task given by national interim coach Fandi Ahmad with this 6-1 demolition of Timor Leste at the Singapore Sports Hub to keep their AFF Suzuki Cup dream alive.


Friday, November 02, 2018

Book Review: Living The Dream ... Or Enduring The Nightmare?

The cover of the book 
In short, to summarize my thoughts after reading this book is - thou shall not treat a football club neither as a toy nor as a money spinner.

Citing two similar cases which were studied by author Bob Holmes - Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers, it is not difficult to tell how foreign owners of these two clubs made a grave mistake for not to appreciate both are not merely football clubs but being a significant heritage and indispensable part of the community fabric of the vicinity where they are based.

When both Al-Hasawis and Venkys paraded themselves to supporters of Forest and Rovers respectively after they bought the clubs, many promises were made to lift their teams out of the doldrums with some seems way beyond their means to deliver those dreams like the audacious bid to land Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho to Ewood Park in 2010.

One of Mrs Desai's famous quotes after took over Blackburn Rovers 
A few pages into the first chapter on Portsmouth FC were enough to realise the "Fit and Proper" check on those potential buyers of any English football clubs by the relevant authorities had failed its task to ensure the Pompeys in a safe pair of hands.

Described as a "grenade" by a former chairman of the 2008 FA Cup winners to Holmes, Portsmouth was literally being tossed around by those uninterested parties that nobody wants before a dramatic effort from the supporters' group ensured the club fallen in the hands of those who cherished the most - the fans.

At the meantime, things seems to be on the right path when American Randy Lerner bought over Aston Villa from trigger-happy Doug Ellis in 2006 with the building of a new training ground and various improvement works around Villa Park.

Dramatic efforts were made to save Portsmouth from extinction 
But things turned sour shortly after the mishaps in the UEFA Cup campaign in 2008-9 season that eventually saw everything started falling apart with the resignation of Martin O'Neill which coupled with Lerner's off the field woes resulted the sale of the 1982 European Cup winners to Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia in June 2016.

A futile attempt to replicate clothing giants Benetton's marketing success on Queens Park Rangers to transform the modest London side to a "boutique club" by Flavio Briatore failed to strike a chord with their traditional fan base who were disgusted by those antics of the Italian and his co-owner Bernie Ecclestone and they were more than happy to see the horror ended when Air Asia's Tony Fernandes (despite being a known West Ham supporter) was named the new owner at Loftus Road in 2011.

Many foreign owners like Lerner realized own a football club is a thankless chore
The book also covered on more significant examples on Chelsea and Manchester City, although it would be good to include Leicester City's part as well as many good things were said about the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who left behind an etched legacy in East Midlands for having bankrolled to uplift the Foxes to their unprecedented Premier League title victory in 2016.

Holmes put in a great effort to talk to many of those who are familiar with the subjects he wrote in this book and shed interesting insights that were largely unknown until one read it, e.g. how former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness drove an unknown guest to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United played Juventus in November 2002 who turned out to be Roman Abramovich and not before long pocketed Chelsea in June 2003 to change the way football is played on and off the field.

Perhaps, the newly-appointed Philippines national team coach Sven-Göran Eriksson sums this phenomenon of foreign ownership of English clubs pretty well when he told Holmes:"A lot of football was controlled by men who knew nothing about the game."

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"Matchpix" - October 2018

  • Singapore Cup - Balestier Khalsa 2-2 DPMM 031018
Most of the shots like this was snapped where the lights were the brightest 
Although Balestier Khalsa Football Club drew 2-2 with DPMM FC, the Tigers were knocked out of the RHB Singapore Cup after losing 4-2 on aggregate to the Bruneians.

Poor lightnings at the stadium made the shooting experience an arduous task.


  • #ThankYouFara - 071018
Fahrudin Mustafic marked the end of his glittering career at OTH
Our Tampines Hub witnessed the end of a great footballing career as Tampines Rovers Football Club skipper Fahrudin Mustafic retires from professional football with a testimonial match featuring some of the luminaries in local football in his honour. Thank you very much, Fara.


  • Friendly - S'pore Selection 0-1 Australia U19 151018
The Young Socceroos played their last warm-up at Bishan before leaving for Indonesia 
The Young Socceroos played Singapore Selection at Bishan Stadium prior to their AFC U19 Championship commitment in Indonesia. Apostolos Stamatelopoulos scored the only goal in the 40th minute to see the visitors walked away with the victory.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Bloated Effort Resulted Ho Ho Cup

In the very beginning, Mr Gaw Khek Khiam's idea was to initiate a tournament similar to that of the Malaya Cup (now Malaysia Cup) but to be competed by Chinese footballers representing various Malay States and Singapore in 1925.

Unfortunately, response to the concept of Semarang-born, Raffles Institution graduated Gaw were lukewarm from those Chinese football teams across the Straits of Johor when Singapore's footballing powress was way ahead of them in that era.

Chee Lim with Ho Ho Cup (Malayan Saturday Post, 25 May 1929 (NLB NewspaperSG online archive)
Not to be deterred by the lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the Malayan sides and had already spent a princely sum of £200 on a trophy made in England, the proprietor of the Ho Ho Biscuit Factory approached local renowned footballer Yee Cheok Wah and travelled together to Hong Kong where they proposed to organise a match between Chinese footballers representing both Hong Kong and Malaya (included Singapore) on an annual basis.

An agreement was made to stage the first "Chinese Interport Football Competition" match in 1928, it was years later the name of the match changed to "Ho Ho Cup" (HHC) to reflect the backing of confectionery giants.

Led by Yee, a squad of 19 Malayan Chinese players was assembled with majority of them from Singapore and four players each from Selangor and Perak arrived in Hong Kong for the red-letter date on 1st of April 1928 at the Hong Kong Football Club Stadium.

Some accounts said the original Ho Ho Cup was lost during WWII (NLB NewspaperSG online archive)
Taking on the Malayan visitors were a "Combined Chinese" team (the Hong Kong representative side which they were known as till early 1970s) comprised of players mainly from Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation (CAAF) who were aided by two guest players from South China, another Hong Kong club side.

The hosts capitalized on their home ground advantage and claimed the honour as the first winners of the sliver trophy with a 3-0 win on a slippery pitch in front of a capacity crowd.

Throughout the years, fans witnessed many outstanding players from both sides of the Causeway featured in the HHC such as the late Lee Kok Seng (Singapore first national team captain after independence) who played for the Malayan Chinese in the 1957 edition, both Kim Siak and Kim Lye of Quah brothers made their appearances in the 1968 match alongside the legendary Chow Chee Keong, the late Malaysian goalkeeper whose begun his illustrious professional career in the then British crown colony after the match.

Lee Kok Seng's introduction at JBS
Despite the separation in 1965, Chinese Singaporean players were still allowed to play under the banner of a joint Malaysia-Singapore Chinese side (馬星隊) until 1969 before fielding a team of their own as "Singapore Chinese" in 1975 after a five-year hiatus during which rules were changed to allow teams to field a limited number of non-Chinese players (a ruling since 1970).

The revamped triangular tournament did not sustain for long with escalating travelling costs and scheduling conflicts in the later years eventually saw the curtains lowered down in 1983 with Malaysian Chinese crowned as the last winners following a 3-1 win over their Singapore counterparts in Kuantan.

In total, 35 matches were played with Hong Kong accounted for 23 victories, Malaya (later Malaysia) claimed 11 wins which included a shared victory with two-time winners Singapore in 1981.

(P.S 1: Some images in this entry were reproduced from NLB online newspapers archives, 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: The content of this blog entry is based on informations gathered from 1)香港足球史稿, 2)Kelab Jersi Kita, 3)NewspaperSG, 4)獨立媒體, 5)RSSSF)

(P.S 3: 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)


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