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, May 20, 2015

Cheetahs Finally Off The Hook...

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Chupe is the hero of the night for Hougang
On the final week before the League adjourn for another recess due to the RHB Singapore Cup and the SEA Games, Hougang United finally broke their win-less duck by notching one-nil win over Geylang International at home.

The solitary goal in the 72nd minute by Equatoguinean striker Francisco Salvador Elá, popularly known as Chupe, was all the Cheetahs needed to seal the all three points in the match that saw the visiting Eagles dominated much of the proceedings, especially in the first half when the visitors were having much of the possession in play but failed to take their chances well.

It was something acknowledged by Eagles' coach Jorg Steinebrunner when assessing his team performance of the evening.

Close shave for Hougang's 'keeper Ahmadulhaq Che Omar
 Said the German coach:"We should have done enough in the first forty-five, if not for them (Hougang) who parked a bus or a double-decker in the box." in reference to the defensive tactics deployed by the hosts.

"In the second half, we still have some chances but we gave away the ball too cheaply and after that (goal was scored), it was back to ten men in the box,

"It was a game we should not lose today that I am disappointed when we should be more smarter in our decision making and it was a lapse of two minutes that cost us the points where we supposed to look a little bit more composed." summarized the former Woodlands Wellington defender who is having an impressive showing from the bench so far this season after notching notable victories over the "Big Three" (i.e.: Tampines Rovers, Warriors FC and Home United) in recent weeks.

Another Eagles' attempt foiled in the box
 No doubt about it, the hard fought win over such an in-form team is something to savour for Hougang's coach Salim Moin who had to endure 990 minutes (plus stoppage) since the start of the campaign to have a taste of victory that also saw they leapfrogged over Courts Young Lions on goal difference to lift themselves from the foot of the league table.

"I always believe in my players who worked hard, well-organized and were awesome in this game." lauded the former Singapore international on his boys' performance after the game.

"It's all about having self belief in ourselves despite losing (in the past matches) and we can see it that really paid off even when we have a players down with cramps towards the end of the game."

Muhaymin Salim in agony before he suffered cramps
 However, the Cheetahs knew that they have little time to celebrate further when they are due to begin their Singapore Cup campaign in a week time with Global FC from the Philippines will be their opponents in the knock-out tournament, in which Coach Salim hopes his team will raise to the occasion when they face the Filipinos.

Said the former Gombak United coach:"Cup competition is a different ball game and I think it will be a good fight between us and Global FC who have a few good foreign players when I saw they played recently against Pahang in the AFC Cup, we just need to tune up certain game by playing the same formation since we don't know their strength and I hope my players will raise to the occasion."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Event] Barclays Asia Trophy - Tickets NOW ON SALE!

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(L-R) Ian Wright, Mamady Sidibe and Graham Stuart
Into its seventh edition, the Barclays Asia Trophy will be heading its way to Singapore this coming July.

This pre-season friendly tournament takes place every two years and is the only Premier League-affiliated competition to be held outside England, the past editions saw the tournament in cities like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Hong Kong (who hosted the event thrice in 2007,2011 and 2013).

Past tournaments saw the likes of newly-crowned Premier League champions Chelsea, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Manchester City took on local sides like Kitchee (in 2011) and South China (2013) in Hong Kong, while facing Malaysia national team in 2003 and Thailand U23 national squad in 2005 at Bangkok.

(L-R): John Dykes, Richard Masters and Zainudin Nordin
Everton will be making their second appearance in this tournament after they were last featured in the 2005 edition in Bangkok.

Joining them in this 2015 edition will be Arsenal and Stoke City, both making their debut in this competition that will be officiated by Premier League referees and assistant referees with assistance provided by the Singaporean officials, according to the press kit issued by the organizers.

As part of the promotion campaign to drum up awareness for this event that will be staged on 15th and 18th of July, former Premier League players Ian Wright (formerly of Arsenal), Graham Stuart (Everton) and Mamady Sidibe (Stoke City) were in town recently to make their appearance at the launch of the tournament at The Float @ Marina Bay.

V Sundramoorthy (extreme right) listening to questions from Dykes
Both Sidibe and Wright trying out their "chapteh" skills
Joining them in the Q & A session that was hosted by renowned TV host John Dykes was Tampines Rovers coach V Sundramoorthy, who was earlier nominated as the coach of the "Singapore Select XI" side, the local team to be featured in this four team knockout competition.

Earlier on, Mr Richard Masters, Premier League Director of Sales and Marketing and President of Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Mr Zainudin Nordin also took onto the stage to share their views on those upcoming matches that will be played at the National Stadium with stars like BPL stars like Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Leighton Baines, Charlie Adam, etc. expecting to parade their skills at Kallang.

TICKET ON SALE NOW 
Tickets (ranging from S$25 to 155) are now on sales at the following channels:
  • www.sportshubtix.sg
  • Sports Hub Tix telephone booking hotline – (+65) 3158 7888 (10:00 am to 8:00 pm daily).
  • Box Office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub.
  • All Singpost Outlets island wide.
Supporters from the UK are advised to contact their club directly to enquire about tickets.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

[Guest Column] - LWS to further erode the dwindling fans' support for S.League?

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Since the start of the season, there were several S.League matches which were delayed from starting on time or had to halt abruptly before resuming due to the activation of the Lightning Warning System (LWS), following is an article contributed by Corinthian, a long-time observer of Singapore football, on his thoughts on the safety initiative.

The incidences of potential storms that require LWS to come into service seem to be quite prevalent again and as we've seen over the last few seasons, it's not just during the rainy season that this Sport Singapore public safety mechanism is being activated. 

The LWS is "calling shots" at the S.League game, not the referees these days
I do wonder why FAS (Football Association of Singapore) don't take on the authorities and argue for an exemption from this arbitrary ban which is treating professional sports in the the same way as public activities in our stadiums and in so doing take accept full responsibility for their actions as a professional sports operator.

If it was a truly professional league I'm sure it would; but by meekly accepting this situation, which arises by virtue of its dependence on hiring stadiums on behalf of its clubs, since none of its clubs own any themselves, it is showing how feeble it is.

Are the S.League authorities really too dumb to realise that this inflexible system is slowly, but surely, turning away the remaining fans who may soon be lost forever?

And by being more assertive and pro-active instead, this parlous state could have been avoided and people might have shown more respect what is these days perceived as a puppet-like organisation, rather than one run as a professional business.

As it stands FAS appears to have lost the trust and support of a sizeable constituency and seems in a state of shock, unwilling or unable to make any meaningful moves in any clear and decisive direction.
 
The typical reason saw the activation of the LWS (credit: Abang Aidi Abadi)
The meek acceptance of the LWS restrictions is but one manifestation of its obvious powerlessness, or inertia if you will, and the S. League is showing every sign of simply melting away until soon nobody will even remember that it ever existed.

Nobody is suggesting that LWS is not a sound way to handle approaching storms, at least for individual athletes, for citizens exercising under their own steam, or for amateur sporting bodies conducting meetings or matches in the nation's stadiums, which are almost all controlled by Sport Singapore.
"Are the S.League authorities really too dumb to realise that this inflexible system is slowly, but surely, turning away the remaining fans who may soon be lost forever?" - Corinthian
The S.League could surely conduct its matches under the direction of its own Match Commissioners and match officials -referees and referee assessors, perhaps - using their own common sense and their own initiative to take on the responsibility for both public and player safety, to avoid these constant and prolonged precautionary stoppages which are killing public interest and support.

  • Views expressed may not be that of the blog owner.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

"Matchpix" - March - April 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)

  • AFC CUP - Balestier Khalsa 0-1 JDT 10/3/15
Balestier (orange) denied a point in dying minutes against JDT
Balestier Khalsa were just seconds away to clinch their first historical point on the continental level before a slip up at the back cost them the game dearly.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFC CUP - Balestier Khalsa 2-1 Kingfisher East Bengal 17/3/15
Jonathan Xu (13) scored one of the Tigers' goals
Tigers upset the Indian football powerhouses to collect their first points in Asia in maximum fashion.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • Friendly: Singapore 2-2 Guam 31/3/15
Guam's 'keeper rose to claim supremacy
Switched to AWB for this compilation and thought the colours look okay under this setting that I don't need much fine-tuning of the tone when editing the pictures.

And kind of surprise to see some shots actually look sharp from a distance away, for me, at least and shall try out at other places too.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFC CUP - Warriors FC 0-1 Bengaluru FC 14/4/15
Ooops...
The continental excursion for the most successful Singapore club came to an abrupt end with this 1-0 loss to Bengaluru FC at JBS.

The highlight of the game was the faulty scoreboard.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • S.League - Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Tampines Rovers 22/4/15
Tigers and Stags tussled before a corner
It's been a while at Toa Payoh that I forgotten my settings and it was only after the resuming of the match at 9.45pm, I got my settings back and left the ground to reach home at close to 12MN... thanks to LWS who is there to ensure our safety - that's the paramount.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFC Cup: Balestier Khalsa 1-2 Kitchee SC 28/4/15
Where is my "head"??
I can't recall when was the last time I snapping shots under the rain and I can tell you it's not easy and unbearable when the raindrops kept falling in which I had to priortize my camera, rather than myself.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[AFC Cup] Tales of the Two...

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Balestier Khalsa's maiden Asian venture is laudable
By all accounts, it is nothing glamorous about when your team are anchored at the foot of the group with only three points from five matches played and zero chance to make it to the next phrase.

However, observers shall not pick on Balestier Khalsa for what they accomplished till this stage.

After all, it's considered a massive achievement for a club of this magnitude to compete at this level on a shoestring, as compared to the other Singapore representative, Warriors FC who are playing their fourth AFC Cup tournament with a much bigger war chest.

But coming to the closing stage of the group stages with one more game to go, the defending S.League champions found themselves languishing at the bottom of Group E with a duck to account for, as compared to the Tigers who secured a win over Kingfisher East Bengal at home.

Alex Weaver struggled to compete on the continent front 
Many observers pointed out much have to do with the approach of the coaches of both teams in the continental level, with Balestier's Marko Kraljevic's pragmatic approach has worked well to stretch their Group F opponents to the max when playing at JBS, while Warriors found themselves being raided both home and away with questions asked about the discrepancy of this level with their domestic form.

For the answer to that query, only someone would have the answer and for the Tigers, for having subjected to many criticism off-the-field at the start, shall work hard to ensure the momentum flows.

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