Skip to main content

[Guest Column] Somehow along the way, we seemed to have lost our way

Days after I posted the entry titled "Hello! #sleague is NOT a FARM LEAGUE!", I received a mail from Mr Foo Mao Chian and with his permission, I reproduced the content of this said mail.

I share your frustration with the direction FAS is taking Singapore football and the way the S.League is being run.

S.League kicked off in 1996
The league started out in 1996 as a competition between clubs representing regions in Singapore (with the exceptions of Police and SAFFC). Fans were encouraged to identify and support the clubs representing their kampung.

Somehow along the way, we seemed to have lost our way.

Foreign teams, who Singaporeans have no sense of affinity with, joined the league. To make matters worse, these foreign clubs were generally badly run, players ill-disciplined and some were even corrupted and playing standards have overall been poor.

And then FAS started the CYL (Courts Young Lions) initiative, which deprived the clubs of the young talents that they nurtured.

I have tried to understand the rationales behind FAS' decisions on foreign teams and CYL initiative. For former, I suppose it is to inject a greater sense of partisanship and increase the number of matches clubs play in a season. For the CYL project, it is a platform for potential national players to hone their craft together.

Come and Go after a year.
However, there are certainly other ways to address these issues that FAS should have looked at more intently, e.g., encourage the majority ethnic group to take up pro football to increase the talent pool rather than wholesale bringing in of foreign teams.

Instead of the CYL, S.League could limit number of foreign players per club and mandate that each club field x number of under-23 players in a match as a way to expose promising youngsters to top-level football.

Balestier's Poh Yifeng's brief Lions stint in 2012

They then took further steps to rob S.League clubs of talents by drawing the core of the national team to form the LionsXII to participate in the Malaysian league and cup competitions. Up next: extracting more top local talent to form a franchise team to play in the ASEAN Super League.

If the FAS has achieved anything at all through these, it is not in raising Singapore’s football standards or world ranking. Rather, they have succeeded in turning the S.League into a multinational league that has no clear identity and nurture no rapport with most local soccer fans.

It is time to hit the reset button. Are we on the right track or has the project has been hijacked along the way for other agendas, to serve as a nursery league that benefits foreign teams and a cultivating ground for unearthing talent for the glory of the LionsXII and the future ASL team?


  1. I totally agree with this article.

    Ever since the participation of foreign teams and Young Lions in our DOMESTIC S League it looks more like a joke. Just look at the better established leagues around the region like Japan, South Korea, Australia, China or even Thailand and Indonesia Leagues. Do they have foreign teams or U23 national teams participating in the country's top DOMESTIC league? (I understood Japan's J3 league have a U23 team) and in my opinion it is not logical to have foreign teams and national youth teams in our DOMESTIC league as our cases is different from Welsh teams playing in BPL or Monaco in French Ligue 1 etc.

    I think it is better for FAS to revamp the DOMESTIC S League and DOMESTIC cups. Get rid of all the foreign teams and Young Lions and make it into a 10 teams S League with all TRUE BLUE local teams. I can accept the existence of SAFFC and Home United in the league though but they should bond better with the community as well. Also FAS should do something to revive clubs like Jurong FC and Sembawang Rangers.


Post a Comment

While I allow comment/feedback to be posted using Anonymous mode but comments containing discrimination of race, derogatory terms and seditious remarks will NOT be tolerated and will be deleted, if necessary, at the blog owner

Please do not abuse it, thanks

And the blog owner WILL not be responsible for comments by visitors except those of his own

All comments are subjected to moderation and publish upon determination, thanks

Thank You for your kind attention

Ko Po Hui