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."

Friday, December 19, 2014

[Annual Review] It's OK to say SORRY NOW ...

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Artwork by Bitstrips
At this stage, it's OK to admit the shortcomings, face the truth. It is not as if anyone would ditch you or left you in the lurch when you seek for help NOW.

Rather, people would be appreciative for the courage shown for that admission and willing to give a helping hand, instead of having a mindset that is blinded by those self-comforting thoughts.

However, hat off from most of us out there when every time darts were thrown for putting up a resistance after scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find any excuse that was available then.

Probably, like a Hokkien saying 「好料墊底」(essence is always at the bottom of the barrel) and that's why, despite not that convincing, things remained status-quo even after all those blueprints and programs were laid on the table.

Recent faux pas by S.League CEO Lim Chin (right) is damaging
If things went our way weeks ago, it would only inflate that fake ego that long already deflated after the last edition and it wouldn't be surprised to tell us things are still in the groove to set things on despite the setback (isn't that not the case all these while).

Anyway, what is needed is more than just a fresh coat of paint on the wall, not some fanciful wallpapers to patch things up (didn't I say that in the first place?)

Losing to Malaysia at home = national disaster
Coach Stange (2nd from right) grilled after loss to Malaysia
It's like we kept hitting the "reboot" button when we hit a setback and the "reboot" button being the Asean Football Federation title (i.e.: presently known as the Suzuki Cup or Tiger Cup, as it was once called). I just felt that we had won four times, thus proven ourselves at this level when we last did in 2012.

However, this time round it seems like hitting the "reboot" button is inevitable again and I'm kind of sick of this repetitive process.

To make thing even worse, it is not heading back to the drawing board as simple as it was, simply because we don't even have a drawing board now, we don't even know what is a drawing board, how it look like as a drawing board and how to use a drawing board.

It crossed his mind before but calls had already made now (credit: TODAY)
The recent debacles, mishaps, embarrassments whatever you named it is nothing uncommon and we should be ashamed of ourselves for not able to move out of the doldrums and keep mesmerized us with those fantasizing myths that only fools rush in.

Hence, recently there were talks of having some programs or visions to revamp the things from the school levels onwards, I would like to say before the actual details are to be announced, please kindly refer to those past programs like the Goal 2010, the Strategic Plan to see if there's anything identical?

If not, it will not be surprise the vicious cycle will remain as it is now.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

[Guest Column] Lack of proper CRM

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Mr Gale Gan was formerly the Marketing and Media Executive of Tanjong Pagar United (TPUFC). He started his S.League involvement as a photographer with KallangRoar in 2007 and joined Geylang United in 2011. The following post is a contribution by him on the topic of CRM (Customer Relationship Management), which in his opinion is something has yet to make its presence in the local football industry.

Fans are always a crucial part of the game (file picture)
If you see happy customers returning to consume your product no matter how much it costs, it will mean your business is successful one way or another. Of course, the best combination will be having a good product and good customer relations management.

Sad to say that in terms of football here, we are still very backward in that mindset. Supporters are basically the customers in football as they pay to support their clubs.

Here, the people in charge seem to have totally missed that open goal and have been trying to herd supporters around like they were a flock of sheep.

One of the freebies given out is now my bookmark
The people in charge of the league here have not only failed to offer the league as a product, but also failed to provide proper customer engagement to the paying supporters. By that I certainly do not mean giving them freebies just like that.

If we have an argument that the 'standard of play' is not good enough to attract, then the other best way, as non-technical people, is to ensure that the well being and interests of the paying supporters are well taken care of.

In my two and a half years at TPUFC, there have been several cases where first time visitors were impressed even when we are not doing well on the pitch.

One of the merchandise by the Jaguars (file picture)
I stacked up some stuff each time I visited Taipei to watch baseball 
These visitors, who paid for their own tickets, then proceeded to consume matchday products, like F&B and official club merchandise. This is the first step of their investment into the club. That is what will turn them into supporters.

When they invest their emotions and money into the club, they will then automatically become unofficial ambassadors for the club.

This will then see them, as new supporters of the club, to try to recommend the club to their peers to attend games.

This will translate into gradual revenue increment for the club and most importantly, boosting of the image, since the image here is pretty bad thanks to some administrators.

Yes, we need businessmen to get involved in football. But what we need are not simply businessmen. We need businessmen who know their football, who understands what supporters want.

If first time visitors come to you and gets turned off, they will not come back anymore. If you think it is only loss of revenue from 'a few people', then please re-read my entire post.
  • Views expressed may not necessarily be that of the blog owner

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

"Matchpix" - October/November 2014

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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)
  • Thank You Aleks 31/10/2014
Aleks watching the video tribute
It was an emotional evening when the time has come to call it a day for Aleksandar Duric and thanks for being the perfect model since I took up football photography. A tribute prior to the kick-off and after the 2-1 win over Brunei DPMM FC had the big man in tears as we saw the last of him in action on a football field. Thank You, Aleks.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • Singapore Cup Final: Balestier Khalsa 3-1 Home United 7/11/2014
Hoist the Cup, Tigers!
As what Balestier Khalsa Football Club's chairman Mr S Thavaneson said this is "significant victory" for the club for being one of the founding members of the league. And more significantly, the victory by the Tigers symbolized a "breakthrough" in the domination of this Cup tournament, long held by those big clubs in local football.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • S.League Awards Night 2014 9/11/2014
The Woodlands supporters
My first awards night outing after the last I attended back in 2011 (when I was one of the nominees). The ITE campus has been the venue of the annual gala for the last three years and was held at the campus auditorium with the event graced by FAS adviser A/P Ho Peng Kee.

Other than the usual awards, appreciation to the partners, sponsors, one of the highlights of the night was the tribute to Aleksandar Duric.

However, the biggest spotlight was reserved for the three ladies who performed the pole-dancing segment much to the awe of those at the hall.

(P.S: Be warned that some of the shots may NOT be comfortable for some viewers)

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  • [CASTLEWOODS LIVERPOOL MASTERS] PRE MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE 12/11/2014
(L-R) Aleks chatting with Emile Heskey
The pre-match presser was held in The Westin days before the match with nice gesture by the organizers to fly Aleksandar Duric's brother in to see him "in action for the first and last as a player" from Bosnia. The two brothers have not met for close to a decade.

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  • CASTLEWOOD LIVERPOOL MASTERS - 15/11/2014
"Abang" strung off his moves on the field
Stars of the yesteryears came together on a wet Saturday night at Jalan Besar to pay tribute to the recently-retired Aleksandar Duric with the visiting Liverpool Masters walked away with a 3-1 win over Singapore Masters.

More significantly for me is the appreciation to snap some of these football legends whom I watched them in action on television during my formative years.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES


  • AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 - Singapore 1-2 Thailand 23/11/2014
Thai players shown appreciation after their win
The Lions got off to a bad start with a 2-1 loss to the War Elephants in their first full international game in the new National Stadium. Unlucky was what Coach Bernd Stange uttered at the post-match presser and said it would be "higher pressure" for the team now to qualify for the next phrase.

At the same time, I was struggled to get the right settings for my pictures too.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 - Myanmar 2-4 Singapore 26/11/2014
Aiming for the throw in 
The win over Myanmar came with a heavy price that will see a number of key players out of action with notable absentees like Baihakki Khaizan (suspension) and Shahdan Sulaiman (ankle injury). A massive tweak is probably the main option for Coach Stange in his first "Causeway Derby"against Malaysia on Saturday.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 - Singapore 1-3 Malaysia 29/11/2014
Malaysia silenced the home crowds but not their own fans
Honestly speaking, even if we made it through the semi-finals with the present squad we had, it would be a tough task ahead despite the assurance given by Coach Stange, who is facing a huge criticism for his handling of this tournament that proved to be a fatal disaster.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

Sunday, November 30, 2014

AFF Suzuki Cup: 3-1 as Hapless Singapore CRUSHED out by Malaysia at Kallang

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We are OUT and LOST the Cup ....
Malaysia were clearly the more dominant side with their possession and fast closing up play that barely gave Singapore a breather in the first half.

The absence of Shahdan Sulaiman in the engine room was pretty obvious with the Lions lacked the creative flow upfront to deem Khairul Amri a lonely figure facing Malaysian custodian Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in the box, as both Fazrul Nawaz and Faris Ramli on both flanks looked ineffective to prick open the stubborn wall of the visitors.

Hariss (right) shield the ball from "Mat Yo"
Much credit to Hariss Harun whom Coach Stange made the right decision to keep him in the usual holding position to keep things checked in the midfield to lighten the load of the otherwise stretched Singapore defence.

However, the game of football is all about scoring more goals than your opponents in order to win the game, which the Harimau Malaya did it just right to seal the night.

And it proved to be a sucker punch for the home team when the first goal of the night came from ace striker Safee Sali just past the hour mark.

Safee (10) let his feet do the talking
With the tattered Republic backline fully exploited in the box, the unmarked Selangor-born striker, who seems undisturbed for embroiled in a pre-match incident that went viral on social media, stabbed home with text book finishing from inside right.

A glimpse of hope was given to the near capacity faithful crowds when Amri finally broke the duck in 82nd minute amid a defensive slip-up in the Malaysians' six-yard box to tap home from close range.

But the fairy tale ending didn't end in favour of the men in red when a controversial penalty was awarded in the stoppage that drew a huge protest from both on and off the field.

However, the referee stood firm in his decision and for the second time in the tournament, Singapore found themselves conceded a goal from the spot in injury time with Safiq Rahim making no mistake during the execution.

Fazrul (10) should be in box not flank
Safuwan (21) switched to upfront in 2nd half proved costly
Adding salt to the wound was what it happened in a last ditch attempt to seek for the elusive equalizer, the entire Singapore team committed themselves in the Malaysian half that saw another recalled Malaysian veteran placing the icing on the cake for another exploitation on the porous defence when Indra Putra Mahayuddin netted home the third goal for his side.

With that strike had effectively knocked the south side of the Causeway out of the tournament and any hopes of retaining the regional supremacy.

A relieved Malaysian coach Dollah Salleh greeted the waiting press after the match after this significant win that is considered quite an achievement for the man who spent part of his growing years in Sembawang area.

Coach Stange's contract ends next year in 2015
Said the former Pahang FA coach:"We gave away the cheap goal (Amri's then equalizer in the 82nd), which I think the 'keeper should have save it and thought we were finished then,

"I knew that Singapore will play a defensive game and told my team to be careful during the counter-attacks."

"In the first half, we were attacking but nothing came out and I say to my players at half time the need to push four, five players into the 18-yard box in order to score and win the game.

"I attributed this win to our attitude that we never give up and the boys knew they had to score one goal to win this game and we fought till the end." concluded Coach Dollah who only took over hot seat in June.

Police keep things in order after the match
Facing the defeat to their fiercest rivals in their new home is indeed a bitter pill to swallow when Singapore coach Bernd Stange took his seat facing the grilling media after the match that was marred by missile throwing incidents targeted the match officials.

"Today, both teams started slow with not many opportunities in the game and we didn't play for a draw." said the former Belarus national coach in his opening statement.

"We did some risky changes that brought us back to the way and scored the necessary goal (by Amri), but unfortunately we conceded a penalty in the injury time and it turned into an empty dream for us,

"I feel sorry for the fans who turned out to support us for failing to deliver more, although I am not so disappointed with the performance and we have to take the right conclusion for Singapore football (from this match)."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

AFF Suzuki Cup - Lions braced for a Tough Derby after a tattered 4-2 win over Myanmar

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Hariss's double raised the roof of Kallang
Singapore salvaged their AFF Suzuki Cup title defending hopes with a nail-biting 4-2 win over Myanmar at Kallang last evening.

Much of talks before the game surrounded the White Angels' Serbian coach, Raddy Avramovic, for his familiarity of the team that were largely groomed by him for a near decade before he stepped down after leading the Lions to their fourth Asean title in 2012.

It was probably that familiarity that had the Myanmarese came back strongly in the second half to narrow the gap to a goal deficit after trailing three-nil before the interval.

As explained by Coach Raddy in the post-match media conference.

"The plan was to keep Singapore off our field in the first half and attack them in the second," said the former Notts County custodian.

"I thought we conceded three easy goals and with this result, we will have a difficult game against Thailand (on this Friday) and it's Christmas came early for Singapore (with this win), but it also shown my team can compete with the rest (in Asean)."

Sahil Suhaimi (32) closed up on Kyaw Zayae Win (7)
However, judging from other factors that came along with the hard fought win, it's still too early to say if Santa Claus has already delivered as what Coach Raddy claimed.

First and foremost will see defence lynchpin Baihakki Khaizan sit out of the penultimate showdown against Malaysia after collected his second yellow of the tournament that warranted a match suspension, following by that saw Shahdan Sulaiman suffered a fractured right ankle as the result of a nasty collision in the box with Khairul Amri in the 20th minute.

Baihakki is out for the next game with this yellow 
Shahdan (sit on ground) fractured his ankle 
Tampines Rovers' Ismadi Mukhtar was on the casualty list too for a strained groin that ruled him out of action just minutes before the end of the first half.

In spite of the mishaps that had taken place and overshadowed the Lions' first ever international win in the new National Stadium, Coach Bernd Stange remained unfazed and kept his trademark optimism in his meeting with the press after the match.

"We have to find a way to fill up the hole left behind by Baihakki," said the German tactician on the impact of not having the 30-year-old defender available on this coming Saturday's Causeway Derby match against the Harimau Malaya.

"Also Shahdan who is definitely out for the rest of the year (for the fractured ankle), but we shall see how it goes first thing tomorrow morning,

"We will have to stay positive and focused all our thoughts on recovery for the game against Malaysia." added Coach Stange.

Goal mouth action in second half
Amri on the ball 
A victory against their fiercest rivals from across the Causeway is a must for the Lions should they harbour any thoughts of making to the semi-final stages, despite the adversity the team are facing which Coach Stange insisted he has a "strong squad" in the disposal to tide things over.

Which one of which the things he may need to fine tune is the inconsistency in the display during the match that he described a "game of two halves" that saw the designated away side scored a brace in the first period with goals from Shaiful Esah in the 15th minute that totalled up with a double by Hariss Harun in the 35th and 41st minute.

Zul Arifin (C) could tag up with Hariss (R)
"3-2" as Kyaw Zayae Win converted the penalty
Buoyed by their partisan supporters, Myanmar fought back to reduce the deficit 10 minutes after the restart with a Kyaw Zayar Win's effort from inside the box and a spot kick converted successfully in the 62nd minute by Kyaw Ko Ko.

Just as it thought the fighting spirit of the Myanmarese will carry them forward, an own goal by Khin Maung Lwin in 75th minute placed a two-goal cushion for the Lions till the end of the match.
Lions shown appreciation after the win 

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