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, June 23, 2015

[TNP League Cup] Laggy Warriors CRUSHED by Precise Tigers

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Kristic (center) got a hat-trick
This could be the only trophy not within the reach of the most successful club in the S.League anytime soon, given the kind of display the Warriors dished out hours earlier.

The local scene got back to action after the SEA Games recess with The New Paper League Cup kicked start last evening with Alex Weaver led his troops to Toa Payoh to face their fellow AFC Cup representatives - Balestier Khalsa whom themselves were former winners of the Cup back in 2013.

Nico Velez (10) closed down by Ho Wai Loon
Ironically, the Cup, which is title-sponsored by a local newspaper of the same name this season, has never been won by any of those powerhouses of local football with the Warriors (when they were still known as SAFFC) came close in 2009 as runners-up to Brunei DPMM who are the most successful side in the tournament with three victories under their belt.

Due to the ongoing Ramadan period, all fixtures in this tournament are scheduled for 8.30pm kick-off.

Close attention on Robert Pericic (9)
Hafiz Rahim bodychecked by Igor Cerina (5)
By all accounts, this Group B fixture may not be the prettiest football on display with the much of the match from the start dominated by scrappy plays with attacking lacked fluency that often went off steam in the attacking third which one would wonder if the long layoff from competitive football for large part of the month could be culprit for such sloppiness.

Therefore, it was always the case of who took their chances well would be well-rewarded for their efforts and saw Croatian marksman Miroslav Kristic opened the account one minute before the interval by drove it low past Warriors' custodian Daniel Ong.

Barely two minutes into the second half, Kristic maintained his momentum by doubled his tally with a header amid some porous defending by the defending S.League champions.

"Iggy" scored the third goal for the Tigers
When substitute Ignatius "Iggy" Ang netted in the Tigers' third in the 73rd minute with a textbook finish, it could well signalled that the Warriors had lost their will to carry on in the match after Kristic completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute with an effortless tap in from close range to close the night on a 4-0 scoreline.

Inevitably, the former Hougang United coach got his men headed straight to the tunnel for a lengthy post-mortem after the match and only to see some of the players came out in the dark for their warming down session under the dim settings of the ground when everyone was about to pack and go.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

[TNP League Cup] Extensive Coverage Expected for This Year's tournament

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A new milestone with TNP sponsor the League Cup
The New Paper League Cup, which will be title-sponsored by the local daily of the same name, held its draw earlier of the day at the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) headquarters at Toa Payoh North.

Being the first trophy of the local domestic football scene up for grab every year, the tournament will see the participation from eight S.League clubs (with the exception of Courts Young Lions and Harimau Muda) and two NFL representatives in the likes of Singapore Recreation Club (the reigning FA Cup winners) and Sporting Westlake (the current NFL Division One champions) in this edition.

The objective in recent years to include teams from the NFL in this tournament is to see the gap between the them and the professional sides of the S.League to be narrowed through competition like this that offers rare interaction among the two.

LTC (Ret'd) Kok Wai Leong outlines the tournament rules
While the Cup may have seen foreign clubs clinching the honour more than the local team since the inception in 2007, no team have yet to achieve a back-to-back run with Brunei DPMM came close to complete a hat-trick during 2012 - 2014 period (when they lost to Balestier Khalsa in the 2013 final). The Wasps, however, for being a three-time winners of the tournament were awarded a replica trophy for their achievement after last year’s victory.

It was also announced at the event by LTC (Ret’d) Kok Wai Leong, the S.League Director of Operations, that this year’s tournament will not have a “Plate Final” as like in the past three years and will see the competition taking place from the 19th of June till 12th of July with the league season to resume from 21st of July onwards.

The ten teams were drawn into three groups with Group “A” having four teams, Group “B” and “C” having three each and will compete in a round-robin format that shall see top two teams emerge from “A” with team that finished top of “B”, “C” progress to the semi-finals.

TNP Sports Editor Lim Han Ming
All matches, due to the Ramadan period, will kick off at 8pm with contingency arrangements to be made should any match is to abandon by the activation of the Lightning Warning System (LWS).

“Extensive match reports with previews and analysis for this tournament will be provided by The New Paper.” said Mr Lim Han Ming, the papers’ sports editor when asked what can be expected from them with their involvement in this year’s competition.

Among the three groups, Group “B” has been labelled as the “Group of Death” by the papers’ senior correspondent Gary Lim who drawn powerhouses Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers together with reigning Singapore Cup holders Balestier Khalsa.

TNP senior correspondent Gary Lim
Meanwhile, Home United coach Philippe Aw hopes to see more of his younger players from the Prime League to gain the much-needed exposure via this platform.

Speaking to this blogger after the draw, the rookie coach said:“It’s our aim to blood young players, especially those from the Prime League, to play in this tournament that has always been the platform for youngsters to get exposure and gain some experience as well,

“As for us, the aim is to win this Cup which Home United have not done before but having drawn together with teams like Abirex (Niigata Singapore in Group “C”) is not easy when the tournament going to play during the fasting month which they don’t have to face this issue like we do.” added Aw.

The Result of The Grouping.
  • Group A: Brunei DPMM, Hougang United, Geylang International, Singapore Recreation Club
  • Group B: Balestier Khalsa, Warriors FC, Tampines Rovers
  • Group C: Albirex Niigata (Singapore), Home United, Sporting Westlake

Sunday, June 07, 2015

[SEA Games] "unavailable" and "sold out" OR "Yes" and "No"?

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"Do I need a copy of dictionary beside me when I intend to buy a ticket online?"

That was what that gone through my mind after not once but thrice received the similar reply (twice verbally and once online) in regards to the ticketing terms defined by the ongoing SEA Games organizers in my futile attempt to get some tickets to those football matches that involved Singapore U23 side (Cubs).

Those terms are "unavailable" and "sold out".

Collage of Screengrab via Official Ticketing Site
At the time of writing this, the match between the Cubs and Indonesia on 11th June is declared "SOLD OUT" when I logged on over the past weekend.

Whereas, ticketing status for match against Cambodia tomorrow (8th June) is defined "unavailable", similar to that of match against Myanmar when I called to clarify days earlier.

On both occasions, the hotline staff replied "tickets are not available for sale as for now, until the organizers decided to release more for sale and advise to check the (ticketing) website for update."

"So, when we can know any update of the status?" I asked.

The staff replied:"I am sorry, I don't have the details now."

"But, the game (against Cambodia) is two days away and left tomorrow for being a day, and you can't expect the release to be hours before the kick off, right?" I quizzed back when I called yesterday.

Other than those SOP replies, I doubt there's no other commitment I can get from the organizers which I gathered from others having the same response as well.

It is such a let down to have something like this taking place where the lack of transparency had thrown everyone into a confusion when all I am asking for is if the tickets are still available and I would be appreciated a straight "YES" or "NO" and full stop.

Rather than having to check the status on the ticketing site on and off, as suggested (as if, everyone has the time for that).

To make a mockery out of the whole issue, there was a feedback of empty seats spotted in the Singapore's match against Myanmar despite a "sold out" as claimed by an online source.

And when I got this answer via twitter earlier on the same question I asked pertaining to the Cubs-Cambodia game, I think I shall rest my case for now and should have study hard during my school days to understand the terms between "unavailable" and "sold out".

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

[Guest Column] S.League - The ‘Poorer Cousin’ (For Now)

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This article is a contribution by Asyraf Isnin, who is a keen follower of the local football scene and hopes that his writing(s) can contribute to the development of football on our shores. And here is his take on the recent occurrence in the local scene.

Great Eastern Yeo's S League has 243 players registered, of which 132 are Singaporeans (and therefore eligible for national team call-up). From this 132, only six are deemed to be good enough to be part of the national set-up in the upcoming friendlies. six out of 21 players selected by Bernd Stange. Of the others, 11 are from LionsXII and the remaining four playing abroad i.e. Hassan Sunny, Hariss Harun, Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak.

Of all these players, only four have not represented our LionsXII at some point i.e. Hassan Sunny, Zaiful Nizam, Ismadi Mukhtar and Zulfadli Zainal. All 21 of them (or maybe 20, not sure about Ismadi) have been part of the NFA youth teams.

Ismadi Mukhtar in action for Stags
So if you add all that information up, this is generally how the footballing structure in Singapore have been working for the past five-ten years: NFA coaching teams identify the best young talents and develop them via the NFA set-up, push them up to Young Lions to see if they can cut it professionally, and thereafter LionsXII i.e. the Promised Land, where if you are the best we have, you get offers from abroad. If at any point you are not good enough for one reason or another, guess where you would end up (if you still want to play professional football)? At one of the S League clubs.

So Football Association of Singapore, now you know why Singapore's only professional sports league is in a dire state? Stange wasn't wrong when he lamented about the standard of our domestic league. The bulk of the players were essentially not good enough somewhere down the road. We put all our eggs into the NFA/Young Lions/LionsXII basket and as a result, have lesser resources to help our S League clubs develop their remaining young talents.

"Stange wasn't wrong when he ..."
Yes, the bulk of the current LionsXII players will move back to the S League in the next few years thus balancing the scales in relation to the talent we have in the LionsXII team as well as the S League (hopefully). The spillover effect you were hoping for I guess? But the fans are all gone. Would they come back to support their teams just because our Malaysian Cup winners are back in the league?
  • Views expressed may not be that of the blog owner.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

"Matchpix" - May 2015

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(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)

  • S.League: Home Utd 0-1 Geylang Int'l 8/5/15
Aerial Duel at JBS
The Eagles claimed the "Triple Crown" of their own after this win over the Protectors following earlier victories against Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC.

Before the match saw the presentation of the Player of the Month award to Warriors FC's striker Fazrul Nawaz.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • Barclays Asia Trophy: Promotional Events 12-13/5/15
"Want some noodles?"
Former Premier League stars like Ian Wright (pictured left), Graham Stuart (pictured right) and Mamady Sidibe were in town to promote the upcoming Barclays Asia Trophy 2015.

This tournament will be played in July at the National Stadium featuring BPL sides Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City.

The press conference of the Launch was held at the The Float at Marina Bay before the trio together with renowned TV anchor John Dykes paid a visit to Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre on the following day.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE EVENT PICTURES

  • S.League: Hougang Utd 1-0 Geylang Int'l 19/5/15
Bruno (left) was kept by bay by Tengku 
Sorry that it took a while before I got these images sorted out, as I need to familiarize myself with the new equipments I just got hold of it.

This match saw Hougang United Football Club (HGFC) broke their win-less duck after eleven matches with a win over Geylang International FC at home.

(PS: I am not sure if anyone notice any difference on the photos of this compilation?)

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

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