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[Annual Review] - Just Three of These Topics Only

Good day to all,

It is the time of the year again when I will share my annual review.

For this time round, I will just focus on the following topics, as listed following in the BOLD text:- Privatisation, Young Lions, and Balestier Khalsa.

PRIVATISATION 

One of the things I realised is with the move to privatise the Singapore Premier League in the progress, I certainly hope the decision-makers do not rush to complete the process.

The public must be informed of the "privatisation" progress
The public must be informed of the "privatisation" progress

After all, we have seen the example of how the S.League was established in which the pioneering eight clubs were not given ample time to lay a strong foundation on and off the field, and some eventually paid the price for it.

The Singapore Premier League is best to be seen as a cosmetic move to rebrand the so-called professional football league whose shortcomings are still obvious.

This is why the process of privatisation should be placed on a gradual and consistent basis to make sure "everyone" is aware of its evolution.

It's the "Singapore Premier League"!
It's the "Singapore Premier League"!

When I said "everyone", it means anybody regardless of age, gender, etc., as to this day, I still have people come to me and asked, "what happened to S.LEAGUE?"

I would usually reply:

1) S.LEAGUE is DEAD and now it's known as SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE

2) Beg your pardon, but are you referring to SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE? 

Last but not least, should there be a criterion in the privatisation I certainly hope the history of any applicant club would not be one of the main deciding factors to make the cut.

YOUNG LIONS 

Many things had been said about the sustainability and feasibility of the Young Lions project.

Let us not kid ourselves when the performance of the developmental squad, especially in this season's Singapore Premier League, is a clear indication that the present crop of players is not good enough.

Another bad day in the office for Young Lions
Another bad day in the office for Young Lions

Even though, supporters of this project still believe in the importance of having them play against older, experienced opponents to accumulate the necessary match exposure.

Not better how the glittering stats posted on social media tried to make some of the Young Lions players look good, we cannot deny they are the whipping boys in regional tournaments these days.

It is definitely depressing to see the Young Lions being thrashed week in and out and having to see Coach Nazri Nasir scrap the bottom of the barrel to find means to motivate the players.

This is why when Tampines Rovers chairman Desmond Ong told The Straits Times that “The Young Lions project has not met its objective of performing at the SEA Games (Singapore have not made the semi-finals in the last four editions). ... It would also not have been good for the players’ football and psychological development to be suffering massive defeats in most weeks.”, I couldn't agree more.

Coach Nazri struggled to improve YL's fortunes
Coach Nazri struggled to improve YL's fortunes

When losing become a normal thing, it will be detrimental to one's self-confidence that not just in football, let us hope it doesn't spill over to other aspects of the players' daily routines as well.

I still believe one option, as blogged in 2019, that we can look into is how to get the armed forces and police involved in the professional league like in the past with the re-introduction of the SAFFC and Home United model which allowed NSFs (Full-time National Servicemen) to play top-tier alongside those experienced players who will act as their mentors. 

BALESTIER KHALSA

Many would say Lion City Sailors is the biggest disappointment, but I thought Balestier Khalsa should share that "accolade" too.

Everything seems promising before the start, given how the Tigers made their statement on social media but to see them stuck in the old spot (finishing seventh for the second year in running) is just disappointing as well.

Hopes were high for the Toa Payoh-based side when they recruited former Tampines Rovers head coach Akbar Nawas to replace Marko Kraljević at the start of the year.

Coach Akbar failed to replicate his Midas Touch
Coach Akbar failed to replicate his Midas Touch

After all, Coach Akbar impressed many in the local fraternity when he guided Indian side Chennai City FC to the I-League title in 2019 following his stint with Global Cebu in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, that Midas touch failed to replicate on the Tigers and saw Coach Akbar leave the club in August to join Thai second-tier side Udon Thani.

Save for the saving grace of finishing fourth in the Singapore Cup, a mid-table finishing below the top three would be something decent for the 2013 League Cup winners, at least.

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