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Showing posts with the label S.League

Sweet Yet Sour Toa Payoh Stadium

Many motorists would be forgiven if that unassuming small stadium located next to the huge SAFRA clubhouse failed to grab their attention when they drove past it after entering Toa Payoh from the westbound Pan Island Expressway (PIE). OFTEN FORGOTTEN OBSCURITY After all, the awkward positioning of that above-mentioned brutalist arena along the busy Lorong 6 stretch does no favour to help any random visitor to have a clear visible sight of it when there is a car park in front of it. The brutalist facade of Toa Payoh Stadium Nonetheless, the 3,800-capacity Toa Payoh Stadium has a special place in local sporting folklore for being part of the then newly erected Toa Payoh Sports Complex which served as a venue for competition and training of the 1973 SEAP Games - the first major sporting event hosted by the then newly-independent Republic of Singapore. PELE VISITED TOA PAYOH STADIUM IN 1974 It was also this stadium that etched its presence in Singapore football when the legendary Pele c

The 30,000-Seater Stadium We Never Get to See in Tampines

Long before Lion City Sailors established themselves as the country's first privately-owned football club, there was at one point more than thirty years ago that one football club haboured a similar ambition to transform themselves into one as well. When the news of Lion City Sailors planning to have their own stadium surfaced in November 2021, I remember reading something similar in the papers back in the 1990s when I managed to retrieve that old news report from the archives recently. BLUEPRINT OF TAMPINES ROVERS "SPORTS CLUB" It was part of the ambitious blueprint of a National Football League ( NFL, now known as Singapore Football League ) Division One club - Tampines Rovers Sports Club ( hereafter to refer as "SC" in this article that is not to be confused with the Singapore Premier League club Tampines Rovers Football Club which later in this post will explain why ), when the news was first broke out by The New Paper back in January 1992 . TNP broke the

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The outcome of the poll  In a recent poll conducted on the platform's IG story, 89% indicated their wish to see a Singapore Premier League "All-Star" game. There were a few such games that took place during the S.League era in the form of "local" vs "foreign" setting, for example, 1998's "The New Paper Cup" and the "Tiger Beer S-League All-Star Challenge" in 1999. WHITBREAD SCORED THE WINNER IN 1998 "The New Paper Cup", which included the initiative of "Save Jurong Campaign", saw the "Rest of the World" (foreign) beat "S-League Locals" 3-2 after extra time with the winning goal scored by the then outgoing national coach Barry Whitbread, who doubled up as "Rest of the World" player-coach, at the demolished Jurong Stadium in front of more than 5,000 paying fans back in 28th November 1998. FAHMIE VOWED TO SNIP HIS PONYTAIL The following year saw the staging of the "Tiger Beer S

Free Tickets - Boost Or Bane?

It used to cost $5 for more than a decade Years ago, before an S.League game between SAFFC and Etoile FC at Jalan Besar Stadium, I met someone I know just outside the ground, along King George Avenue, and had this brief conversation (as below). Acquaintance: "Do you have a free ticket?" as he was aware of my involvement in the scene. Me: "Nope, I don't have it" Acquaintance: "Cannot be, last time my who worked as a photographer, always have free tickets to matches" Me: "Time changes as different people are calling the shots now." A scene like this is not uncommon, but it is already becoming an annoying problem which I attributed to the liberal policy of giving complimentary entry that led to this kind of problem. A League Cup match played at Jalan Besar Stadium Perhaps, in the first place, such goodwill was to gather more awareness by offering free admission to fans to certain games. But the dangerous part of this giveaway has developed into

Ibrahim Corner And The "Curva" Culture in Singapore Football

Snapped this before I was ushered back to the main stand No one, except for Sembawang Rangers fans, knows why it was called the "Ibrahim Corner" at this part of Yishun Stadium, where I took my place here prior to the start of the S.League match between Harimua Muda and Albirex Niigata (Singapore) back in March 2012. But one thing is for sure, for many Stallions faithful in the past, this stand facing the main stand of the stadium holds many memories for them. This was the place where local football used to have some of its most passionate supporters congregated during the Stallions' home games in yesteryears until the club decided to pull out in 2003 because of financial difficulties. One of the things I remembered of these Sembawang supporters was in 2005 when they turned up in numbers at Ibrahim Corner to show their support to former Sembawang Rangers coach Vorawan Chitavanich, who was in charge of Tampines Rovers, at a league game against the Young Lions at this sta

Third Time Lucky For A Players' Union?

In a poll conducted on this platform's IG Story months ago, I asked if anyone is aware there was once an organization representing the players. The outcome of the result revealed a majority are not aware of this when there was once an organization meant for this purpose. Rahim Omar (pictured, as credited) It was during one of those random searches online for materials, it came to my attention of a meeting that gathered a group of disgruntled footballers in the early 1960s that piqued my interest to learn more about this short-lived organization. On 15th August 1962, a pro-tem committee was formed with renowned footballer Rahim Omar named as chairman of this committee. According to The Straits Times report that was published on the following day, the main objective of the group was to "seek better treatment for the players, who had in the past been duped by false promises". Among those who attended the inaugural meeting were Quah Kim Beng, Umar Rahmat, Ivan Vass, etc. wi

Honeymoon Period is Over for Coach Yoshida

To sum up, what went wrong in Saudi Arabia for the Singapore National Team is pretty straightforward when the writings were already on the wall prior to the resumption of the campaign. Before the halt of the FIFA World Cup/AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers almost two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything was rosy for the perennial underachieving Lions. Coach Tatsuma Yoshida's (filed) honeymoon period is over  Under Japanese coach Tatsuma Yoshida, the four-time Asean champions found a new lease of life by chalked up two wins, one draw, and two defeats in Group D of the joint qualifiers - a performance that was lauded by many in a group that included regional heavyweights like Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances saw the Lions and the rest of the region endured a lengthy international break since the postponement of the qualifying matches last August was announced by both FIFA and AFC, that positive momentum enjoyed by the Singaporeans had t

Tigers Heading Back To Toa Payoh For A Short While ...

Following up on the update by this platform weeks ago that reported Balestier Khalsa will play their 2021 Singapore Premier League (SGPL) home fixtures at the Toa Payoh Stadium after the field at Bishan Stadium, where the Tigers ground share with Lion City Sailors (previously known as Home United) since 2019, is closed for returfing. Toa Payoh Stadium (file picture) Works, apparently, are underway to see the field at the Toa Payoh Stadium getting ready for the upcoming SGPL season which is speculated to kick off at the end of February. In a social media post seen by this platform, officials from the Football Association of Singapore, Sport SG, etc. came together to ensure the natural grass surface of the Toa Payoh Stadium meets the requirements of the only professional sporting competition of the republic. NOT A PERPETUAL MOVE BACK HOME FOR TIGERS However, it is understood that Balestier's shifting back to the aged arena at Toa Payoh Lorong Six is not a perpetual one, even though

Ground Hopping Continues ...

Bishan Stadium is under the re-turfing process This is the current condition of the field of Bishan Stadium, the designated "home" ground of two Singapore Premier League (SGPL) clubs - Lion City Sailors and Balestier Khalsa, as seen from the nearby Bishan Sports Hall days ago. It was learned that such re-turfing of the natural grass surface would take approximately five to six months to complete and the process began late last year. NEW SEASON K.O. IN LATE FEB One recent Straits Times article suggested the Community Shield, the annual pre-season opener for the SGPL, will be staged on 20th February. If it is what the mentioned broadsheet suggested, the 2021 SGPL season is likely to kick off on the following weekend based on past scheduling of fixtures. However, given the present condition of the Bishan surface, it is understood Balestier Khalsa will play their home fixtures at Toa Payoh Stadium while LCS will be ground sharing the newly-refurbished Jalan Besar Stadium (JBS) w

"United" All Over The Shop - Trend OR Reality?

Called it an obsession or mere British influence when it is not uncommon in this part of the world to name a football club as whatsoever "United". Just look around the region, you already have Buriram United, Bangkok United, and Muangthong United in Thailand where national custodian Hassan Sunny used to play for the dissolved Army United . Down south in Malaysia, there is a team rebranded as Kuala Lumpur United which is formerly known as Kuala Lumpur FA - the team that once boasted the likes of the Singapore triumvirate of Fandi Ahmad, Malek Awab, and K Kanan in their 1980s heydays. BRITISH INFLUENCE RESULTED IN "UNITED" EVERYWHERE? On the other end of the Causeway in Singapore, names like Farrer Park United and Toa Payoh United were some of those listed in the then-newly formed National Football League (NFL) in the mid-1970s. Moving into the mid-1990s, these were the names to mark the start of the professional era like Geylang United (which later changed to G

[Annual Review] - Stay At Eight To Ensure Competitiveness For 2021

Was not thinking of penning this annual review since it was a shortened season due to the ongoing pandemic. Nonetheless, I decided to come up with a short piece, to sum up my thoughts on the extraordinary year that not only affected local football but also our daily life as well. First of all, congratulations to Albirex Niigata (Singapore) for regaining the Singapore Premier League (SGPL) title which they last won in 2018 as part of their clean sweep of local major honours. A PACKED 2021 CALENDAR - A HEADACHE FOR FAS AND CLUBS The ongoing Covid19 pandemic resulted in a number of competitions, both regional and domestic, being postponed or canceled thus it is likely to see a packed footballing calendar next year. Not only will we see Tampines Rovers, Lion City Sailors, and Geylang International taking part in continental tournaments like the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup, but the AFF Suzuki Cup is also scheduled to return next year  (though in December 2021 at the latest update p