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, 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.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tremendous Team Spirit Behind Warriors Comeback Win Over Stags, said Weaver

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Watched the game from the media tribune 
Warriors FC bounced back from their midweek debacle to claim maximum points in 3-2 win over arch-rivals Tampines Rovers at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

A pleasing Alex Weaver walked into the room before attributed the factors behind the comeback win over the Stags.

"Two factors behind the win tonight," said the Warriors tactician. "First, we have tremendous spirit in our team."

"And good teams win games when they don't dominate the game. Secondly, it's the attacking strength in our team that I thought we did relatively well other than the two sloppy goals we conceded."

First of that two sloppy goals came in the 21st minute when veteran ace Indra Sahdan made no mistake from a ball centered from the left by Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi with a jaded Warriors' backline gifted with that assistance.

As suggested by the Englishman that Tampines being the more dominant side in the first half, but failed to capitalize on that advantage to build up from that and duly punished by Fazrul Nawaz just at the stroke of half time.

The unmarked 30-year-old striker has been on song since making his return to Warriors weeks ago, placed his name on the scoresheet by heading home from close distance by latched onto a ball floated in by Croatian import Miroslav Pejic from the right.

When Fazrul with his trademark scrum cap, which he wears it during matches since last year due a skull injury sustained a year before that, scored the winning goal (his fifth of the season) in the 83rd minute, it was nothing more than compliment paid to him by Coach Weaver during the post-match press conference, when asked the significance of having the predator in his team.

"Fazrul is the best Singaporean striker in the S.League and you just need to put him inside the six-yard to do his stuff." declared the former Hougang United coach.

"Furthermore, we did well in soak up (the Tampines' attacks) when I felt we didn't settle in early and were not tightened up in midfield, but it's just six games into the season, folks and we have done nothing yet." added Coach Weaver for suggesting that the best have yet to come from his team who are out of running in the AFC Cup now.

Coach Weaver in his customary warm-up attire - white shirt (file shot)
Probably, it was that reason when saw the Warriors made eight changes for this titanic showdown with only skipper Daniel Bennett, Hafiz Rahim and custodian Daniel Ong being those started against Bengalaru in early this week.

"I felt they (Warriors) fielded their strongest team when playing against us, since they are already out of the AFC Cup." said Tampines Rovers' coach V Sundramoorthy after the match that saw them stay put in fifth position in the standings.

"It's not a positive result when we were up against a good team that we just have to keep working hard with twenty one games more to go, we tried to minimize the opponents but it was hard run out there,

"And we kept conceding soft goals like we did tonight, which it's more on individual coverage in our defending that is something we need to work on, other than that we had more possessions in the first half to score more goals."

Indeed, the Stags were all over the Warriors half in the first period of the game that other than the Indra's strike earlier, they could only find themselves celebrating in again the 51st minute when former DPMM star Tosi textbook-ed in from near post after a brilliant run from another former Wasps import Roberto Alviz who crossed it over for the Brazilian to settle the rest.

But the designated home team, despite by partisan support from students of Temasek Polytechnic, failed to trouble the defending league champions further and paid the price for the lapse of concentration when Nicolas Velez levelled the score 2-2 in the 72nd minute that eventually led to final nail of the coffin nine minutes later.

A brilliant save from Ong in the dying seconds of the match off a half volley by Tosi was instrumental in the hard fought win by the most successful club in Singapore that Coach Weaver personally went up to him after the final whistle to show his appreciation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

[AFC Cup] Warriors CRUSHED and ANCHORED ...

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Robin Singh (9) celebrated after scored the winning goal
Despite starting off their campaign on competitive mode early ahead the rest in Group E, Warriors FC found things tough going since the second-tier continent club tournament campaign started by chalking up losses against Persipura Jayapura and coupled with away losses to Maziya in Maldives and Bengaluru FC in Bangalore.

With this 1-0 defeat from this returning fixture against Bengaluru, it marked the certainty to see the defending S.League champions' AFC Cup campaign come to another forgettable end, as they failed to progress out of the group phrase for the second time on a roll.

Robin Singh body-checked by Vidosevic
Curtis Osano headed the ball away 
Adding salt to the wound, the fourth straight loss on the Asian level had anchored the most successful Singapore club at the foot of their group with other result on the same evening did no favour to them.

Coming into this game with a number of regular starters not available due to injuries, suspensions and non-eligibility, Warriors' coach Alex Weaver fielded a number of youngsters like Marcus Wheeler, Hazim Faiz in the starting eleven whose performance won applauses from Weaver, himself.

Said the former Hougang United coach:"We fielded five, six young players due to suspensions and ineligibility who played well tonight which I am proud of their effort shown tonight,

"And there are players like Emmeric Ong, who played in the position of Tom (Thomas) Beattie, and our 'keeper Daniel Ong's performance tonight would make it harder for Neezam (Abdul Aziz) to claim his place back, but what's important is the need to keep their feet on the ground."

"For the effort shown and the work rate we put in this evening, I think we performed better than Bengaluru." opined the Englishman during the post-match press conference.

Hazim Faiz (right) one of the young starts in the game
Vidosevic steered the ball away
That notion was, however, disputed by Weaver's counterpart, Ashley Westwood when he took over the session.

"We definitely work harder." said the 39-year-old,"It's about put up your best team in every match and to win away from home is a bonus and the hardest part is to put the ball at the back of the net and I glad Robin (Singh) got it in."

"It's a good win for us and it was a nice, solid performance where we had the control of the game, the next target for us is to get points in our next match and qualify for the next round, that's our aim." added the former Sheffield Wednesday defender.

A 50/50 aerial duel
In a largely uninspiring match with little much to cheer about other than those wasted opportunities and also saw the hosting side being pressured for most of the time in second half, the solitary goal came in the 76th minute when 24-year-old striker Robin Singh placed his shot with a low driver to break the ice.

That strike was deemed enough to seal the fate of the Warriors whom were led onto the field by coach Weaver for a lengthy post-mortem after the final whistle before adjourned for his meeting with the press.

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