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ASL - Duplicate Redundancy

Things aren't actually set in the groove for former Central Singapore District mayor Zainudin Nordin in his attempts to push start his ambitious Asean Super League (ASL) project despite there was a speculation that an "announcement" was supposed to be made last month.

Zainudin Nordin (extremely right, file picture)
With the latest developments in the region, it cast further skepticism if the pet project of the one-time Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC (Group Representation Constituency) would ever take off.

After all, approval from Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the continent's governing body, is mandatory before the ASL can be launched under the condition that the latter is able to fit itself under the competition structure of the former.

Key amendments to both AFC Cup, the continent's second-tier club competition, and the AFF Championship aka AFF Suzuki Cup, which is soon-to-be-announced, are seen by many as a setback to the man lauded in past for his role in materialized overseas stints of Adam Swandi (to FC Metz) and Safuwan Baharudin.

A reformed tournament format in this season's AFC Cup will see eligible clubs from the Asean region come together with the eventual winning team of this zone progress to the next phase of the tournament.

The Asean Zone of 2017 AFC Cup (via AFC media release)
The AFF Suzuki Cup, the biennial regional showpiece featuring national teams from the Asean bloc, will see its group stages format tweaked into two groups of five teams each, with every side to play four games on a "home-and-away" basis (two home and two away fixtures) within their group, instead of the present setup of having two countries hosting a group of four each.

The revelation of those changes coincidentally took place one after another early last month following some "shot-in-the-arm" reports placed the ASL project back on the pedestal.

Nonetheless, given the similarities of the triumvirate especially that of the revised format of the club-based AFC Cup, many critics pointed it is unlikely to see the already packed  calendar dovetail seamlessly to accommodate the ASL.

Izwan Mahbud will have another shot in Asian level
Some even went on to suggest if the fine-tuning was a way to show the decision-makers’ unpleasantness over Zainudin's "one-man show" in the recent AFC Congress in Goa, India where the then Singapore representative was the only one to vote "YES" and whereas the rest voted "NO" in a motion on the meeting agenda which resulted the abruptly end to the congress as an act of solidarity against the perceived interference from FIFA.

It's anybody's guess on the above-mentioned outcome given the chain of occurrences during the same timeframe.

However, one thing for sure is nobody would want to see a duplicate redundancy and one ought to convince the tangibility of a product before a huge sum is committed.

Just like how he described his bad experience upon his arrival at Changi Airport last month from another trip, the man, who is one of the candidates for the upcoming FIFA council elections, shall be aware that he will be bracing for more unforseen uncertainties ahead.


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