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, October 18, 2018

"Hope To See Sablon's Legacy Carry On ..."

Michel Sablon will leave FAS on 31st December 2018
Honestly speaking, whether Michel Sablon's blueprint devised for the local football will work? Only time will tell and it is to quick to pass any judgement when the seeds were just sown after the land had just cleared for recultivation.

While many fans seems to judge the Belgian's performance based on the less glamorous results achieved by various national teams in recent years, let us not forget the job scope of that of the technical director and the coach are two entire different scopes.

One is to formulate and layout the technical aspects of the game development, the other is to coach and achieve results on the field.

Sablon gave a presentation on his blueprint
Said local football observer Gary Koh:"We can only see in a few years whether Michel Sablon is a slight improvement (as compared to his predecessor Slobodan Pavkovic) or otherwise.

"But definitely never at the level of what he was perceived to have masterminded in Belgium." added Koh who made his comments following the announcement that the former Belgian assistant national coach will step down from his role as Football Association of Singapore (FAS) technical director at the end of the December on mutual agreement despite his existing contract will only end in March 2019.

This announcement was made at the start of the press conference held at the Jalan Besar Stadium this afternoon before 71-year-old went on to give the floor a presentation of the progress of the blueprint he had developed over the past few years since he joined FAS back in April 2015.

No name was mentioned when asked by the media who will be taking over from Sablon but FAS president Lim Kia Tong revealed local candidates will be considered with the decision to be made before the turn of the year.

FAS president Lim Kia Tong (left) appreciates Sablon's contributions
Lim went on to express his wish to see Sablon's programs to be carried on by his successor and believes the structure of it is already in place but stressed that it will need some time before desired results can be achieved.

Summarized his opinions on the works of the outgoing technical director, the 65-year-old lawyer said:"In the first two years, Michel (Sablon) had to understand the local football landscape like the school and NS (National Service) structures before the crystallization of his plan,

"With his expertise, the FAS felt Sablon had accomplished what he was set for and in order to move things on, we felt a new team should take over from him and carry on."

He added:"(However) the Exco are in discussion and strongly consider to invite him back annually for an experience sharing session."

Monday, October 01, 2018

1950 - A Year To Be Remembered For Singapore Football

It would be kind of funny to read an article on the papers these days that lauded the achievements of local football, given the present state of the game in this country.

Nevertheless, one such article did herald the achievements of the local game way back in 1950 when "Nanyang Siang Pau" (南洋商報), one of the main Chinese newspapers in those colonial days, declared "1950 is the Year of Singapore Football" on one of their back pages of their 12th of November edition.

"1950 is the Year of Singapore Football" said Nanyang Siang Pau (NLB archives)
Written by someone under the pseudonym of "流星" or "Meteoroid" in English, the opening statement attributed the significance of that year after teams represented Singapore did well in those tournaments they participated like the Singapore Malays won the Sultan Gold Cup, the Indians players took the Bardhan Cup and also the biggest prize of all - the Malaya Cup by the formidable Singapore Civilians squad after defeated Penang two-nil.

"The year 1950 is an extrordinary one for Singapore football to be remembered, it is not an exaggerate claim but with strong evidence to back that up." wrote the commentary which went ahead to highlight some of those notable occurrences happened during that year.

One of which was the high participation rate of the eight tournaments organised by the Singapore Amateur Football Association (SAFA, the predecessor of Football Association of Singapore) when a total of 87 teams took part in various competitions, as compared to 58 teams in the previous year and merely 30 of them before the "Pacific War" (World War II).

The massive proliferation in the number of teams also resulted a boast in the registered playing population from a small pool of 200 to over a thousand of them in a space of a year.

"It is a good sign and it shows that the game of football is now a widely accepted sport by the people with this mass participation. Furthermore, during the lengthy season from March to October, no unpleasantry was reported and much credit must go to astute leadership of SAFA when all parties adhered to the spirit of good sportsmanship." opined the commentary.

The commentary went on to pay tribute to the Singapore Civilians who won the Malaya Cup by pointed out its prowess after the war.

1950 Malaya Cup Final action (NLB online archives)
Victory over Sing Tao of Hong Kong was a significant one (NLB online archives)
Not only the multi-racial side put up good displays domestically against other Malayan sides but also when facing the foreign teams who visited the then British crown colony.

It was during this period saw the emerging of the legendary striker Awang Bakar who "Meteoroid" suggested being one of the key factors coupled with the returning of form of star 'keeper Chu Chee Seng and "Twinkletoes" Chia Boon Leong helped Civilians to lift the Cup for first time since the end of the war.

Among all accolades, the Civilians' victory over Sing Tao SC of Hong Kong was the most noteworthy one, given the pedigree of this all-conquering side founded by media magnate Aw Hoe of the Tiger Balm fame in those post-WWII years.

In the closing paragraph, it was revealed that SAFA had decided to end its affiliation with Football Association of Malaya (FAM) to become an independent body directly affiliated to FIFA, the game's world governing body, in order to be the master of its own destiny.

Commenting on that development, "Meteoroid" said:"... while we don't know what holds in the future for us after this decision (to end the affiliation with FAM) but it will be a new chapter in Singapore football which everyone will be looking forward with optimism."

(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: 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)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

"Matchpix" - September 2018

  • Lions Training Session 040918
Khairul Amri putting in the pace
The Singapore National Team get together at Geylang Field to gear themselves for the upcoming friendly games against Mauritius and Fiji on 7th and 11th September respectively.


  • Friendly: Singapore 2-0 Fiji 110918
Shahril Ishak (17) met with some Fijian resistance
Singapore National Team won their first match under national interim coach Fandi Ahmad with a 2-0 win over Fiji at the Bishan Stadium. Prior to this match, the Lions drew one-all with Mauritius on the same ground.


Monday, September 17, 2018


Nowadays, there is nothing wrong when we think any player who don't perform in the modern game by labelled him being "unprofessional".

However, it was a different thing back in the old days when the word "professional" was a TABOO.

Simply because players in those days were strictly amateur (as featured in the movie " Kallang Roar") and any form of engagement with monetary reward was strictly prohibited.

I was told by a former national player from that era how he was being implicated when a boot manufacturer used his name without his knowledge on an advertisement that almost jeopardized his place in the national team.

AFC's Teoh claimed Quah Kim Song "is a professional" in 1977 (NLB archives)
Another player from that era almost saw his place in the national team gone when he was alleged to break the code of conduct as an amateur by an official of the game's continental governing body months before the South East Asia (SEA) Games.

On 26th of August 1977, The Straits Times reported Singapore star Quah Kim Song "is (now) a professional", a claim made by Dato Teoh Chye Hin, the then secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) following the ace striker's appearance at CK Tang, a local departmental store to sign autograph and witnessed distribution of tee-shirts apart from being featured in an advertisement to announce the aforementioned event.

Such an act, in Teoh's opinion, had breached the conduct as an amateur and led to a speculation on Quah's eligibility to represent Singapore in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games that year.

The likelihood of his main front man being banned from taking part in the biennial showpiece had the then national coach "Uncle" Choo Seng Quee worried.

Quah was involved in this CK Tang event that triggered the storm (NLB archives)
In a separate report on the broadsheet on the same day, the legendary tactician emphasized the importance of Quah by highlighted "He's our best forward and will be hard to replace him."

The then 25-year-old said he "was prepared for it" when he entered the contract with CK Tang - a decision he made after consulted several Football Association of Singapore (FAS) officials who "warned" him of the "consequences" of having the revoking of his amateur status , as reported in another article on the same page.

The whole issue dragged for weeks before a sudden "U-Turn" was made in Teoh's stance when he retracted his earlier statement on 23rd October 1977, after he claimed he "is now aware of the circumstance (then)."

Not taking anything for granted, the FAS decided to take one step further by seeking necessary guidance from FIFA on this matter and was given the mandate by the world governing body to decide the matter themselves which they did on 3rd of November by ascertained Quah's status an amateur to close the case.

FAS ascertained Quah's status as amateur after seeking advice from FIFA in November 1977 (NLB archives)
Unfortunately, it was not a good SEA Games outing in the Malaysian capital for the national team where they lost to both Burma (5-1) and Thailand (2-0) in the football tournament.

(P.S1: This is a repost of the original entry posted back in 2010 which was deleted due to some technical reasons with some details added in this reposting.)

(P.S 2: All images were reproduced from NLB online newspapers archives, should anyone think it is inappropriate to have any of the media shown on this blog entry, please kindly email me as soon as possible and I will remove them upon request.)

(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)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Baby Step Forward Amid Voracious Skepticism

I am wondering if was it because we played both Mauritius (FIFA ranked 155th) and Fiji (165th) in our recent friendlies that the ridiculing of our football continues by some skeptics?


Granted the fact that both the aforementioned countries are not known for their football powress with someone even thought it was a rugby match when we took on the Fijians last evening, the two virtually unknown sides did, however, give Singapore national team some much-needed workouts in preparing for the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.

Baihakki Khaizan (5) restraining Fijian captain Roy Krishna
Instead of the "usual who" kind of opponents, I thought it was a refreshing change to see games against teams which allowed the Lions to expose to some robust kind of football aided by the opponents' much superior physical frames.

It was probably this kind of exposure that made a good introduction to a different level of football between the domestic and international one for debutantes like the Suzliman brothers with elder Zulfadhmi grabbed some of the limelights with his decent performance against Mauritius on the last Friday at the Bishan Stadium.

Ikhsan Fandi (center) scored in both Mauritius and Fiji game.
Barring the early slip that resulted the opener by former Etoile FC striker Jonathan Justin, the pairing of Safuwan Baharudin and Irfan Fandi, who was replaced by Baihakki Khaizan in the second half due to an injury, helped to stabilize the fort and covered Izwan Mahbud (later Hassan Sunny) well in the same match.

This departs from the "tendency redeployment" of Safuwan in the middle of any game to help out in the attacks during the time of previous Lions' coach V Sundram moorthy, thus enabled the Pahang defender to concentrate on his defensive duties.

Such stability was crucial to see Singapore picked themselves up quickly after the early jitters in the Mauritius game to see a much better performance in the second half on a wet, soggy surface to level the game through Ikhsan Fandi's first international goal in the 75th minute.

Shahril Ishak (17) met with resistance from Fijian's defenders
Hariss Harun (14) tussling with Fiji's Dave Radrigai (24)
"This was the best performance by the Singapore national team in two years," said a fan who wanted to be known as UAQC on his assessment after the match against the 'Les Dodos' (the nickname of Mauritius team). "I am impressed with the performance by (left back) Shakir Hamzah who shown the courage to take on players bigger than any of our local players."

"Credit must also gave to Shahril Ishak too, as he transformed the game after he came on in the second half, like the ball he set up for Ikhsan to level the score (in the 75th minute) which proved experience is still vital in this preparation for Suzuki Cup." he added.

The following game against Fiji not only saw national interim coach Fandi Ahmad made couple of changes in the starting eleven and also witnessed the international debut of the highly-rated 18-year-old Jacob Mahler in middle of the park.

Partnering skipper Hariss Harun in midfield, the Young Lions midfielder did not appear intimidated by those stocky built Pacific islanders.

In fact, so impressive was Mahler's debut that his performance even overshadowed that of the JDT stalwart, some observers claimed.

Mahler repaid faith shown on him by "Abang"
Said UAQC after the Fijian match:"Mahler was outstanding in this match with his display of composure despite being his first cap for Singapore."

"I would say he (Mahler) did well to make Hariss (Harun) looked ordinary in this game with his linking up in the attacking moves as soon as he disrupted the Fijians' momentum." the assistant engineer commented after the Lions won the match 2-0 with goals from Hariss and Ikhsan.

The win over the Bula Boys (the nickname of Fiji team) was the first for Coach Fandi since he took over the national hot seat back in May on interim basis and up next will see the Lions take on Mongolia on 12th of October before heading off to Phnom Penh to play Cambodia on 16th of October as part of the Suzuki Cup preparation.


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