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."

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Undesirable Break ...

Geylang International's Hasrin Jailani
Following his side exit from the RHB Singapore Cup on aggregate after the two-all draw with defending Cup holders Albirex Niigata (Singapore), Geylang International coach Hasrin Jailani is a worried man.

It wasn't the outcome on that evening bother him when he saw his Eagles surrendered a two-goal lead at half-time which was cancelled by the double from an impressive Atsushi Kawata in the second half.

In fact, he was pleased with the team's performance, nonetheless, his main concern is he will see several of his players away for national team duty soon.

"I will see seven of my players call up for the national team," said the former national midfielder after that match on the announcement which was released on the same evening prior to the last Friday game at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Dan Bennett (c) is back in Lions setup again 
Of which, it saw the return of veteran Daniel Bennett to the national setup after a three-year absence and naming of uncapped 'keeper Syazwan Buhari in national caretaker coach V Sundram moorthy's squad of 25 for their upcoming training trip to Japan.

Whilst, the 41-year-old rookie head coach is happy to see a number from his roster being selected for the Lions duty, he is, however, more concern of the break between now until their next game that might affect their momentum.

Said the one-time Woodlands Wellington man:"The break came at a time when our momentum is building up and with that came in between before our next game, it will have impact on our performance.

"With the unavailable of those players who will be away with the national team, I will have to field some Prime League players in the (New Paper) League Cup matches." revealed Coach Hasrin on his plan for the fixture-yet-to-be-announced mid-season tournament.

Home United struggled to regain composure since June
Such fear is not without a cause when one should take a look at Home United as a form of case study.

The Protectors were on a rampage before the last similar break with a pinnacle display had the defending League champions Brunei DPMM being ripped apart at Bishan.

Since then, things aren't look the same for two-time League champions who had failed to recapture the form that placed them on the pedestal in the title chase.

When asked after losing to Balestier Khalsa on 14th of June, if the less desirable form since the resuming of League action was due to the recess period when national team was away in Myanmar for the AYA Bank Cup tournament proven disruptive.

Robin Chitrakar, the Home United assistant coach refuted that suggestion by claiming it wasn't just his club facing this, but the rest of the League as well.

Indeed, it's a matter of who can get their act together quickly when it matters most like Tampines Rovers did when Akbar Nawas inherited the hot seat from Sundram and led the Stags to string of victories since June.

Tampines Rovers are on fire since June
Right after the crucial 1-0 win over Albirex at Jurong West in late June that halted the Japanese side's impressive ten-game winning streak and narrowed the gap between the two at the top of the ladder to four points in the title chase, the ex-NFA staff coach was asked if it would be a concern for him with the upcoming break that might be something unwelcome for the AFC Cup quarter-finalists.

“With this break, it might goes well for us or might not because it could break our rhythm, given the four competitions we are playing now but we will take one game at a time." said Coach Akbar during the post-match press conference back then.

Tampines Rover's Akbar Nawas
Former Woodlands coach Shasi Kumar weighted in his opinion on these discussed above when he questioned the scheduling of the upcoming League Cup tournament that coincided with the national team centralized training during the same period.

Said the former Gombak United player:"I don't see why the break should be more than two weeks and why should League Cup coincide with the national team duties? It shouldn't.

"It is putting clubs with ambitions to win the (League) Cup at a disadvantage. Why should it?" citing that teams affected by the Lions centralized training, which is due to begin on the 11th of July (same day as the League Cup tournament) will have to field a relatively younger side, as suggested by Geylang's Hasrin earlier.

"When it comes to national team commitments, there is no choice and clubs have to live with that. Such break is set in the calendar way beforehand, so clubs have to plan accordingly.

"But it should be planned way in advance, unlike how our S.League fixtures which are planned at the last minute year in and year out. So that has to change." added Shasi who led the Rams to the runners-up spot behind Etoile FC in the 2010 League Cup.

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