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Wanted: Early pace-setters

(Picture on the left: with the league trophy, it's very pretty heavy, precaution required if you ever got a chance to lift it!! Many thanks to Mr Samuel Panthradil for making this picture possible in Oct 2005)

Although the ultimate target is the league championship, it's equally important as well to be the early pace-setters too.

Being the team that set the momentum right from the start is so important that it could decide whether the big guns would eventually catch up and grab the prize OR the team itself able to last the whole campaign and create a surprise of its own (which is or was never the case anyway).

Young Lions did it in 2006, Super Reds were the stars of last season and on both occasions SAFFC, with all its might and discipline, were crowned the champions in the end.

It's fair to say that the fact pace setters WILL NEVER be crowned as the champions, still its role is significant in creating the buzz that is necessary to keep everyone at the edge of their seats.

So who would be? Here some whom I can think of.

"Yes, we can" as Sengkang Punggol gathered around before the start of their match.

The possible inclusion of national skipper Indra Sahdan Daud may make Sengkang Punggol an instant pace setters but not necessary title contenders, despite several major signings during the close season.

Lim Tong Hai, Geylang's head coach for the second time, awares of the challenges ahead in getting back to the "top"

Geylang United are equally eager to end their years of "wilderness" when chairman Patrick Ang declared it's time for the Eagles to "get back to where they belonged".

Tampines Rovers' coach Vorawan Chitavanich's pledged to end the title drought (above in white top) with his new set of players, although he stop-short in commenting his future what if he failed to do so, is another potential candidates.

Or could it be the likes of Woodlands Wellington?

The Woodlands Rams, with its scaled-down budget, had assembled a relative decent squad with likes of Precious Emuejarye, Rezal Hassan, Jamil Ali etc. (anyone disagree? Please voice out) thus it would be interesting to know how new gaffer Nenad Bacina, with his fresh approach, can create wonder out of this team.

Or Balestier Khalsa is the unlikely one?

For years, the unglamorous Tigers been prided itself as a "grooming" and responsible to revive the careers of players such as Akihiro Nakamura (now Tampines Rovers after years at Woodlands) and Norikazu Murakami (released by SAFFC last season though).

Balestier's Coach Nasaruddin briefing his players

The Toa Payoh-based outfit for years stubbornly refused to make any big signings and placed its faith on youngsters but inevitably developing players for other clubs (as they will never stand a player's way if they decided to leave the club).

But the fact that Balestier is probably the only club that started their preparation as early as in last December by having a bulk of their players passed the compulsory Beep test then bore the testament this is a club know what's it's doing even in times it doesn't seems to be in sync with the rest.

But at the end of the day, while everybody is wondering who will be the champions, yours truly is equally curious who will lit up the pace as well just like Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway did for Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister (picture above, courtesy of "road of stone" ) in become the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes in 1954.


  1. Some great archive pictures there Pohui and new ones as well.

    My question is this; how will Home United make the transition to Clementi Stadium?

    Will the move make them feel less 'at home' and affect their usual confident approach? I suspect it might.

    Hard to see anyone but the Warriors winning again unless Tampines jumps out of the blocks faster than Carl Lewis...


  2. Hi "Greenrover",

    Clementi Stadium, IMO, is a rather obscure positioned.. that's one main concern hi-lit by coach Sivaji.

    It will be interesting if the residents around Clementi mind turning up at the ground, even if the Protectors are there for a short while, to lend their support.

    Vorawan seems confident with his squad this year and may opt for some rotational system this season, which I hope it works as 2 years of barren spell is something not to Uncle Teo's liking.

  3. I think uncle Teo is not so active in football now as he has a new toy to play with - Formula 1.


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