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1977 - The Best Year In Singapore Football?

It was probably one of my earliest vivid memories when as a child watching a player in a light blue jersey dribbling a ball on television at my maternal grandfather's home. As I grew up, it was made clear to me that it could be one of the Singapore national team's matches held at the old National Stadium that had all the eyeballs of many households around the island glued to the screen to cheer the Lions on. The Admiral Blue jersey worn by Samad Allapitchay (left) is one of my earliest memories (Asian Soccer)   Based on my intuition, the moment could be somewhere in 1977 - the year which is still fondly remembered by many as the heyday of Singapore football. Interestingly, this blog posted a few posts related to occurrences that happened during that year which witnessed some of the highs and lows of the local game. So here is a recap of some notable incidents in that year. FANS CALLING FOR UNCLE CHOO TO BE REPLACED  In the weeks leading up to the new calendar year, a petition

[Annual Review] - Having The Same "Fried Rice" Served (again) by Perry Ng, etc.

Why are we repeating? I have to be brutally honest on this - I really see no point in coming up with this year's "Annual Review" when most of the stuff that I going to talk about are mere repetitions all along. YOUNG LIONS Seems like much of what happened in the past twelve months stayed largely status quo with the Young Lions remaining bottom at the Singapore Premier League (SPL) table for another year. To make things worse when the bulk of the Young Lions that formed the SEA (South East Asian) Games squad got hammered 7-0 by arch-rivals Malaysia  (highlights below from Mediacorp Youtube channel ), it triggered a massive public outrage on how things went bad to worse. The above-mentioned coupled with that disastrous AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup outing months earlier did little help but more damage to the beleaguered sport which used to be a focal point of the nation in the long-gone past. CONVENIENCE SOURCE FOR MEME Instead, local football relegated itself to be a sour

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Based on those " recommendations ", it is not hard to tell a thing or two where and why our SEA Games footballers failed to perform up to expectations. Coach Raddy was the last coach to guide Singapore to success • SPL NOT UP TO MARK When one of the findings mentioned 'tournament (SEA Games) was played at an intensity “beyond that of the” SPL.' , it has proven that SPL (Singapore Premier League) does not provide the necessary environment and pace to gear our players to play at a higher level usually demanded at the international levels, be it the SEA Games or any international tournaments. • RADDY ALREADY SAID SO Which the reason why former national coach Raddy Avramovic once said the importance of our clubs to do well in regional tournaments such as the AFC Cup, as players would gain the necessary exposure at club levels by playing in those tournaments and would adapt the pace easily when they came to play for the national team, if selected. • POOR FUNDAMENTALS   On

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So long it's not called "pussy cat" I must be probably one of the rare few in Singapore to nickname the Singapore National Under-23 squad as "THE CUBS", whereas most would call them "YOUNG LIONS". For a good reason, I thought "CUBS" should be the appropriate one in this context, even though some opined those national teams in the teenage group should be called that. Simply because "YOUNG LIONS" is a team playing in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) and not a team representing the Republic in international tournaments. To nickname the Singapore National Under-23 as "YOUNG LIONS" would only give a wrong interpretation that the SPL team of the same name is THE ONE representing Singapore in overseas competitions when it is not (even though the bulk of the CUBS were selected from the YOUNG LIONS on many occasions). After all, the function of "YOUNG LIONS" is for developmental purposes in a professional setting. While

[AFF SUZUKI CUP 2020] Glaring ERRORS In The Official Programme

Plenty of blunders were made in the official tournament programme of AFF Suzuki Cup 2020, according to a friend of mine. In a series of text messages, my friend highlighted these mistakes with illustrations forwarded for my reference. "TWO-LEGGED" ONLY STARTED IN 2004 On the "Roll of Honour' page of the programme (as illustrated), said my friend: "From 2004 , the knockout stage is played over two legs on a home-and-away format.", pointed out using those emojis on the glaring mistakes made such as wrongly listed Singapore beat Vietnam "on aggregate" to win her first international honour - the Tiger Cup in 1998 . "My friend" claimed this was a 1997 SEA Games team photo The next things being singled out were the wrong Singapore team photo used in introducing the tournament history and the name of the tournament. "(It was the) wrong (Singapore team) photo used on 1996 First ever “AFF Suzuki Cup”, (it) should be (called the) Tiger Cup. I

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

[REPOST] When "PROFESSIONAL" Was A TABOO

Nowadays, there is nothing wrong when we think of any player who doesn't perform in the modern game by labelled him being “unprofessional”. However, it was a different thing back in the old days, when the word "professional" was TABOO. Simply because players in those days were strictly amateur (as featured in the movie " Kallang Roar ") and any form of engagement with monetary reward was strictly prohibited. I was told by a former national player from that era how he was implicated when a boot manufacturer used his name without his knowledge in an advertisement that almost jeopardized his place in the national team. AFC's Teoh claimed Quah Kim Song "is a professional" in 1977 (NLB archives) Another player from that era almost saw his place in the national team gone when he was alleged to break the code of conduct as an amateur by an official of the game's continental governing body months before the South East Asia (SEA) Games.

[SEA Games] "unavailable" and "sold out" OR "Yes" and "No"?

"Do I need a copy of dictionary beside me when I intend to buy a ticket online?" That was what that gone through my mind after not once but thrice received the similar reply (twice verbally and once online) in regards to the ticketing terms defined by the ongoing SEA Games organizers in my futile attempt to get some tickets to those football matches that involved Singapore U23 side (Cubs). Those terms are "unavailable" and "sold out" . Collage of Screengrab via Official Ticketing Site At the time of writing this, the match between the Cubs and Indonesia on 11th June is declared "SOLD OUT" when I logged on over the past weekend. Whereas, ticketing status for match against Cambodia tomorrow (8th June) is defined "unavailable", similar to that of match against Myanmar when I called to clarify days earlier. On both occasions, the hotline staff replied "tickets are not available for sale as for now, until the organizers d

THE CUBS RIPPED APART 8-1 ....

Cubs (in red) struggled against the Japanese  Sometimes, one can't be faulted that skepticism  is aroused instantly when things don't deliver, especially when the subject is proclaimed for better things to come. Fresh from their training trip to Turkey that saw them chalking up losses on margin against their peers from German side Hamburger SV, Spartak Moscow of Russian and Yemen U21 with a draw salvaged against Uzbekistan U21, things remain positive and was lauded as a good learning experience for the team's preparation for the upcoming SEA Games in June. So literally, here came this match that the visiting Japanese U22 national side showed their class and gave their hosts - SINGAPORE NATIONAL U23 TEAM , a lesson that will etch in their minds that would not be easy to erase in the near future. Down by five goals at halftime against the Japanese Olympic squad, the Cubs found themselves barely able to make their way out of their fortress during the first 45 with th

Aide: SEA Games is the priority for Young Lions now...

Adam Swandi scored in the 75th minute  True enough, to do well in the 28th South East Asia (SEA) Games football competition in coming June will be the utmost priority for the perceived national developmental squad - Courts Young Lions in the first phrase of this season's S.League. Speaking to the media after conceded a three-one defeat to the visiting Johor Darul Takzim II at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Coach Aide Iskandar confirmed the notion by added during the first six-month of the domestic season will not see any of their foreign signings feature in action. One option to allow their foreign signings (i.e.: Canadians Jordan Webb and Sherif El-Masri) to gain some match fitness is to loan them out during the preparation period, as the former national skipper explained. Suria Prakash (middle) burst through the attention "One of the options we can think of is to try our best to loan out of our foreign signings during the first six months of the season. "This

#sleague Turkish Delights for National Cause?

(This entry is formulated based on the media release issued by the Football Association of Singapore) It can't be more bizarre than this when a media release (dated 11th of January 2014) issued by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced the Courts Young Lions (CYL) will embark on a Turkish pre-season tour for their S.League preparation. Led by coach Aide Iskandar, who led the Cubs to a SEA Games bronze medal last December , the contingent will be taking on opponents, including Azerbaijan Under-21s, Denmark Under-21s and Czech Republic side Slavia Prague in Antalya. El-Masri (no32) re-signed for CYL The said release also confirmed the re-signing of one-time Canadian U23 international Sherif El-Masri and recruitment of Jordan Webb (from Home United) to the developmental squad with both of them, reported to be on the radar of the Foreign Talent Scheme (FTS) , joining the month long tour. “Such a training camp matches the FAS Strategic Plan’s objective to expo

[Aftermath of Singapore 1-1 Malaysia] Beware of the "Grenade" pass in the SEA Games

The Cubs are through to the SEA Games semis (file picture) Should Singapore U23 want to ensure any chance of a medal at the SEA Games football competition, it will have to fix the Achilles Heel in giving away crucial dead-balls in injury moments. In spite having their berth confirmed in the semi-final of the most coveted event of the biennial meet, the Cubs, for the second time in four games, saw victory slipped away in stoppages that left that bit of a sour taste in their 1-1 draw against "Auld Enemy" Malaysia in Naypyidaw. Defender Afiq Yunos's close range tap-in in the hour mark placed the Cubs on the lead position before a well-taken free kick by Md Rozaimi in the injury time save the Harimau Muda's campaign. A victory against the defending champions would be seen as a major morale booster for the Cubs who had not had a smooth-sailing preparation besieged with hiccups , as compared to the consistency enjoyed by the Harimau Muda . Finished the group sta

[Instant Reaction] Vietnam 0 -1 Singapore: Cubs rescued their SEA Games mission by skin of teeth

Sahil Suhaimi's (3) goal ensured Cubs' win (file picture) It was a hard fought win for the Singapore Under-23 in their 1-0 victory over their Vietnamese counterparts in their Group A SEA Games match. With this result, the Cubs propelled to the top of their Group on an undefeated record after this win and a draw earlier against Laos on Sunday . Once again, the Aide Iskandar's boys shown their bluntness in front of goal with just a goal registered on the record through their leading scorer Suhil Suhaimi's deflected strike that settled the difference in the injury time of the first half. Other than that, there wasn't much to crow about with the remaining of the match that seems far too familiar, except it was fair to acknowledge that Vietnam were by far the better side of the two with the intensiveness of their game coupled with some clever plays that threaten to punish the Singapore side in their box on several occasions. But football is such a cruel game

[Instant Reaction] When Cubs can't score, it's harder for a SEA Games glory...

Screengrab of Live streaming off Youtube If anything is a gauge from the last two matches played by the Singapore Under-23 against the Philippines last Sunday (6-0 win) and their SEA Games opener against Laos that ended 1-1 moments ago, I think it wouldn't be too surprising to those who tracking the Cubs preparation in recent weeks. Clearly, the writings are on the wall that Aide Iskandar's boys can't do one of the basic things in football - TO SCORE. If there's anything positive to gather from the match in Naypyidaw, it would be the passing, possession play that led more patient and systematic buildup of attacking moves without giving away the ball too easily with closing down of Laotians advancement swiftly in the match. Things were made easy right from the start when the Cubs were on a numerical advantage after the Laotian skipper was sent off for a violent play on Shafiq Ghani but that did not translate the much-needed boast for them. Instead, it became a

"Matchpix" - November 2013

(P.S: If you access this site via "come.to/matchpix", please click the "Facebook" icon after you click "HERE" when you want to view the album as that will redirect you to the album, thank you) S.League - Home Utd 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S) 4/11/13 Runners-up medals at presentation The outcome of the match determined the positionings behind Tampines Rovers Football Club - the champions and saw Home United Football Club outmuscled Albirex Niigata FC Singapore 3-1 to claim the second and third spot respectively with a stunner by Sirina Camara. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES Singapore Cup Final - Home Utd 4-1 Tanjong Pagar Utd 8/11/13 Off to Asia again for the Protectors Home United Football Club claimed the other ticket to Asia with an emphatic 4-1 win over Tanjong Pagar United at the JBS. Clearly for all to see the tough fitness regime imposed by Korean coach Lee Lim Saeng paid off that saw the Protectors overcame

Everything looks alright except for the Cubs to score

Watching the game from the stands Let's not be too hard on the Singapore Under-23 when the 6-0 scoreline could have on a double-digit shutout over the Philippines in the fund raising match for victims of Typhoon Haiyan graced by the presence of Her Excellency Minda Calaguian-Cruz, the Philippines Ambassador to Singapore. Slated to be the last warming up prior to the team's departure to the SEA Games in Myanmar, the Cubs did show the type of "passing-and-dominating" style of football, preached by Lions coach Bernd Stange, right from the start but faltered when it matter the most - putting the ball to the back of the net. Having most of the possession that broke down the Young Azkals fortress on several occasions, the Cubs were left frustrated on those rued chances that they created with Sahil Suhaimi missing the sitter from eight yards away in the 18th minute accounted as the biggest miss of all. Doing my part for the charity Pounding on the momentum thou