Monday, September 28, 2009

Singapore U23 6-0 Cambodia U23

Under-23 Friendly International

Cambodia U-23 0
Singapore U-23 6

Scorer :Khairul Nizam 35', Gabriel Quak 41', Fadhil Noh 57', 67' and 73', Fairoz Hasan 87'

Sutee depart Tampines for A-league

Tampines Rovers Thai winger Sutee Suksomkit is set to depart the two-time S-league champions.

The 31-year-old, who has 60 caps and 16 goals for Thailand to his name, will join A-league Champions Melbourne Victory subject to passing a medical, obtaining a visa and approval from Football Federation Australia.

The Thai Midfielder,will be paid A$15,000 per month for 3 months as a guest player.

He will go to Australia on October 5th.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ridhuan move to Arema but Hassan is staying

Tampines Rovers have lost yet another player to ISL with winger Ridhuan Muhammad signing with Arema Malang, where he will be joining former Stags teammate Noh Alam Shah.

He is expected to get S$8000 a month with Arema Malang.

But this will be the end of the exodus for Tampines Rovers, until the S-league window open, as keeper Hassan Sunny's move to ISL club Persib Bandung was blocked by the league administration.

It was because the Stags have only 16 S-League full-time players registered - the minimum for S-League clubs - after the departures of Alam Shah, Ridhuan and Fahrudin Mustafic.

The S'pore national keeper had been confident of a move to ISL as he had remarked to the media he was 70% sure of a move to Persib Bandung but it seem he had counted his chicken before they hatched

Any move to ISL will have to wait until November and it may be too late then for Hassan Sunny.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

RHB Singapore Cup 2009 semi-final

First semi-final, first leg

Monday 5 October
Albirex Niigata FC (S) VS Geylang United FC
Venue: Jurong East StadiumTime: 7.45pm

First semi-final, Second leg

Friday 9 October
Geylang United FC VS Albirex Niigata FC (S)
Venue: Bedok StadiumTime: 7.30pm ('Live' Telecast Match)

Second semi-final, First leg

Monday 26 October
TTM Samut Sakhon FC VS Bangkok Glass FC
Venue: Jurong West StadiumTime: 7.45pm

Second semi-final, second leg

Thursday 29 October
Bangkok Glass FC VS TTM Samut Sakhon FC
Venue: Jalan Besar StadiumTime: 7.45pm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baihakki not joining Persija yet

Baihakki Khaizan will not be joining Persija Jakarta yet according to the TODAY paper.

It seem Geylang United want a transfer fee (and correctly in my POV as nothing come for free and Geylang need cash to rebuild for this is only way for S'pore football to move forward) for the release of their central defender who still has a 6-month contract with the Bedok club.

The Eagles will not released Baihakki to join Persija for pre-season training if the ISL club do not pay up.

Stags skipper signed for Persija

Tampines Rovers midfielder and skipper Fahrudin Mustafic is joining Persija Jakarta.

The 28-year-old has chosen Persija Jakarta over Arema Malang, who was also chasing the S'porean international, as he wanted his family to stay in the nation capital which he believed will delivered a similar lifestyle to S'pore.

The player is reportedly getting an increase to S$12000 on his salary and like Baihakki, who is also joining Persija, he will have a condominium and a chauffeured car thrown in as well as a maid to take care of his wife and newborn child.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

S'pore central defence join ISL

S'pore central defence pairing of Baihakki Khaizan and Precious Emuejeraye have joined the exodus to the Indonesian Super Liga.

Baihakki will be joining Persija Jakarta while Precious is joining Copa Indonesia Champions, Sriwijaya.

Baihakki Khaizan will be departing Geylang United in October and will not be playing in the RHB S'pore Cup Final if Geylang United reached that stage with the Eagles currently set to play against Albirex Niigata (S) in the semi-final.
As for Precious Emuejeraye, he will be staying until the end of the season with his current employer Woodlands Wellington and Rams coach Nenad Bacina is delighted with Precious loyalty as he is valuable asset to the Northern club as they looked to finish on a high toward the end of the season.

Baihakki will be doubling his pay with Persija as he is expected to get S$8000 a month with a Condominium and a chauffeured car thrown in.

To ease Baihakki fear about stories of unpaid salaries in ISL, he will be getting a 6 months pay advance.

For Precious, he is reported getting Rp1.3billion which is S$188000 or nearly S$15ooo a month to join Sriwijaya.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Speak up, Zainudin

With SPH seeking a return to Malaysia Cup once again with the change of the leadership at FAS and now, Noh Alam Shah attack on the domestic scene, FAS president Zainudin cannot keep his mouth shut any longer. (By that, I mean not just talking to Noh Alma Shah)

I was prepare to give him the space time to speak on issues to the public like until the end of the season S-league Night or next season opening day but now, with his organization under attack, he need to be seem and heard and not just his deputy, FAS general-secretary Winston Lee, who is taking all the heat.

In truth, FAS general-secretary post is more important than FAS president as the general-secretary hold the real power as he run FAS day-to-day activities with the president more of a figurehead.

But this is not how it is seem by the man on the street and up until now, Zainudin has not spoken in defence of the S-league or even the National Team.

It is understandable, S'pore is in a recession and, as Central Mayor, he has much on his plate.

However, remembering the era of Mah Bow Tan, I will not stand for it longer than necessary if the president do not come out sooner rather than later.

Before going on, we go back to Mah Bow Tan for the reason I had such a negative view of his era which was his failure to defend his organisation or it products - S-league - as he preached the 'co-operative era' with the media.

He wanted both to work together to build up S'pore football but it ended up, as expected, with SPH media seeking a return to Malaysia Cup and Mah Bow Tan was nowhere to be seem or heard.

As the head, his subordinates must be wondering if it was worth defending S'pore football or S-league when, as President, he did not come forward at any junction to defend his organisation first.

It was a terrible decision to believe he could just contentrated on laying the groundwork for the National Team and S-league and let results speak for itself.

That was why it was refreshing, when towards the end of his regin, a loudmouth Englishman came to S'pore defence, when FAS was missing, with Steve Darby willing to hit back at SPH when their then-writer Jeffery Low wrote an article claiming the S-league game between Home United and Balestier Khalsa was fixed (without any proof).

Any other sport organisation would have leap to defend it product if it had been attacked, especially corruption, without any proof for we know the damage it could bring, like Steve Darby did, but then-general-secretary John Koh did nothing and Mah was to blame as he did not step out to lead.

That why the Ho Peng Kee era was, in comparison, sunshine as he was willing to defend his organisation and it product, for from the start, he make it clear S-league was here to stay and FAS is not returning to FAM arms and he is determined to make S-league achieved ACL.

That was leadership as the vision was set out and now they can focus on it.

The change in FAS was seem soon after the 04/05 Tiger Cup win as SPH make another attempt to showcase why we should return to Malaysia Cup claiming a speech by PM Lee on uniting S'porean mean football must 'sacrificed' itself and seek a return to Malaysia as it is the only way to unite S'porean.

This time, FAS was seem and heard as they defended it brand as they remind SPH that PM Lee speech was the reason why S'pore have to stay in the international areana as we were a nation, not the 14th state of Malaysia Federation, and the true success was from international scene.

Now, under you, Zainudin, surely you are not returning to Mah Bow Tan hide-and-seek era as your deputy is taking the leadership role, not you

Show leadership and speak up on your own vision for S'pore

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More S'pore internationals linked with ISL

Withe the Indonesian Super Liga 3+2 rules coming up next season, it seem virtually the entire S'pore national team is linked with Indonesian clubs even it may not be the case.

Like SAFFC Aleksandar Duric who was linked with a move to ISL but the 39-year-old was quick to rebut that as rumors as he has never been approached by any ISL teams.

But others may be true as Persija Jakarta has send their Technical Director Benny Dollo to S'pore to view players and the ISL club have thus far been linked with Tampines Rover striker Khariul Amri and winger Ridhuan Muhammad, Geylang United defender Baihakki Khaizan (They are competing with Arema Malang for his signature) and SAFFC defender Saiful Esah.

Persija Jakarta has a budget of S$4.5 million next season according to SPH Straits Times.

Even newcomer to the ISL, Persisam Samarinda, who was the Indonesian Prima Liga (Indonesia lower division) champions last season, has approached Sengkang Punggol striker Indra Sahdan but the 30-year-old has rejected any approach that will see him leaving S'pore as he is currently studying and does not want any distractions.

League record is Mirko last stand

With SAFFC Aleksandar Duric capturing yet another of Mirko Grabovac record, the ex-Singapore international and SAFFC legend, who is back in Croatia, must be hoping the talks on Duric retiring at the end of the season are true.

Even if it is not, Grabovac have little to worry about Duric getting his last remaining record which is highest number of league goals in 1 season - 39 goals in 33 league games - set in 2001 season.

For at his peak form two years back, Duric had only 37 goals in 31 games and now, the 39-year-old, while still scoring goals, is finding it more difficult against top-half teams and getting his break against the bottom-half teams thus limiting his options.

As for other challengers, they are even more unlikely to repeat the kind of form Duric found in 2007 or even Grabovac in 2001 as among all the players in the league, only Brazilian Peres De Oliveria has found the net as many time as them in the 30-goal bracket and that was back in 2003.

Therefore Grabovac league record will be staying for a long time to come.

Duric is Warriors all-time top scorer

As the Warriors crushed Geylang United 4-1 last night to march towards another league title, the club were not the only making history, as the Choa Chu Kang club seek an unprecedented fourth league crown in a row and their eighth overall, with marksman Aleksandar Duric getting a goal to become the Warriors all-time top scorer.

He has now scored 160 goals from the Warriors in all competition in his five years with the club.

The Singapore forward now hold a number of records in S-league history.

First, the record for being all-time top scorer at both SAFFC and Geylang United as well as being the Domestic All-time top scorer. He also has the record of being the only player to score 100 domestic goals for 2 different S-league clubs - SAFFC and Geylang United. Last but not least, he also has the record of scoring the most domestic goals (44 goals in 37 games) in one season.

Aleksandar Duric record
League - 125 goals/145 matches
League Cup & S'pore Cup - 21 goals/26 matches
Asia - 14 goals/24 matches

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Precious, another ISL target?

Jakarta Casual has reported Woodland Wellington defender Precious Emuejeraye is set to arrive in Palembang, Indonesia on Wednesday, 9 Spetember to finalise his move to Copa Indonesia Champions Sriwijaya.

However Precious could find himself returning to S'pore shore sooner than he expected as Sriwijaya is slated to play in the ACL playoff along with Thai Premier League Champions and S-league Champions(Expected to be SAFFC)

Eastern rivals dealt a blow

Eastern rival Geylang United and Tampines Rovers could be dealt a severe blow as the 2009 S-league come to an end.

Stags and Singaporean forward Noh Alam Shah has already confirmed he is leaving the S-league giant to join ISL club Arema Malang.

The Indonesian club has also targeted Geylang United defender Baihakki Khaizan and Tampines Rovers hardman Fahrudin Mustafic.

But Baihakki has other offers from other Indonesian clubs as well and he has not make up his mind.

As for Fahrudin, he has admitted it is a tough decision as it would prove diffcult to uproot his family to settle in Indonesia especially as his wife has just given birth in the Republic.

Duric equal another record

Aleksandar Duric has equal Mirko Grabovac record at SAFFC to be joint all-time Top GoalScorer of the Warriors

The forward achieved that mark when he scored a hat-trick against the Young Lions in a 5-0 mauling at Jalan Besar on 17 August, 2009.

He has scored 159 goals with SAFFC in all competiton (The same as Mirko Grabovac) and need only 1 more goal in the remaining 9 league games to overtake the ex-Warriors legend.

Aleksandar Duric record
League - 124 goals/142 matches
League Cup & S'pore Cup - 21 goals/26 matches
Asia - 14 goals/24 matches

Mirko Grabovac record
League - 135 goals/138 matches
S'pore Cup - 17 goals/22 matches
Asia - 7 goals

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kelong is still Kelong under any guise

Former Australian international Abbas Saad will be arriving in Singapore to get his ‘A’ license for coaching and it has got his fans drooling and hoping he return to Singapore.

But ridding myself of emotion, I had questioned in football forums if it was a good idea and was immediately told of the likes of yellow ribbon project (Singapore government will be delighted their project have so much publicity) and Abbas having served his crime etc

In other words, some were defending Abbas to the extent that he did no wrong like Abbas claimed as he mentioned he only ‘helped’ his friends and was ‘benefiting his team.

Unfortunately, Kelong is still Kelong in any other guise.

People are now willing to accept match-fixing in this case as it involved their idol and that show
how sentiments can cloud judgments.

That why we must keep our guard high as the Valencia keeper (Involved in Home-Valencia game) is already claiming he is 'framed'.

Looking at the Sunday Times interview with Abbas Saad, it is clear he believed he did no wrong as he continue to maintain he is 'helping' a friend only and had scored goals.

But match-fixing does need one side to give chance and the other to score so it is Kelong.

Yes, then it is wrong, no matter how beautiful one put it; like 'helping' a friend or ‘benefiting’ his team.

Before going on, I must emphasize I am not stopping any ex-match-fixer a chance back to the game to redeem themselves for it will not be the first time ever S-league saw a club employed a ex-match-fixer as coach for back in 98, TPUFC done so and the person never re-committed.

The difference in why I opposed Abbas is the belief of the persons involved.

One was sorry he ever did it while the other (guess who) does not believe he is ever wrong.

Abbas continue to maintain he is not wrong and that is the problem as players and coaches are at the front line of the battle against the bookies thus can one image an S-league coach claiming kelong is not wrong as long as it benefit his team.

He is breaking kelong into 'bad' kelong & 'good' kelong based on
1) benefiting his team (but nevertheless harming the other side and maybe oneself in future as they cannot always fixed it in your favour)
2) helping his friends (or in truth the bookies)
3) the fans are all winners (which is the most bullshit as asked the Selangor fans in Malaysia if they felt cheated out of a Malaysia Cup Final thanks to the kelong in the semi-final so there are losers and it could even be Singapore one day as I already wrote; the bookies cannot always fixed it in your favour)

It is a flawed argument as kelong is not bad only when it is fixed to go against him.

At this stage, we are still battling kelong on our doorstep as seen in the AFC Cup match - Home vs Valencia - for the bookies will not stop at that thus we need everybody member of the football family to understand match-fixing of any type is wrong.

That is the only way to battle kelong.

Abbas, however do not shared this belief, and it is troublesome for we have seem match-fixing over the last few years like Liaoning as they shared different beliefs on what match-fixing mean.

That why we need him (or not as one does not even know if he is a decent coach) only if he was willing to accept S-league definition of match-fixing which is it is wrong under any circumstances but judging from the Sunday Times, he clearly does not share that.

That why I had opposes his return to coaching in the Republic for corruption start creeping in once we start deceiving ourselves.

Then, the era of FAS new president Zainudin Nordin will be remembered wrongly as the start when we lose our fight against the deadly disease kelong as we lower our definition of match-fixing and I rather take no risk as the bookies are waiting to bounce on any weakness.

We have seem how hard it is to get rid once it is attached as our regional neighbors continue to be plague by it and I rather be the bad guy in opposing Abbas Saad for Singapore football is my only concern

Here we go again from SPH

First thing, SPH paper TNP (sister paper of Straits Times) talking about local sport is a shock for even local football do not get that on a monthly basis let alone weekly.

But not suprised as coming from SPH, it is yet another article on the return to Malaysia Cup.

This year, we have a change of guard at the top at FAS and the last time SPH kept talking about returning to Malaysia (With baised articles from Jeffery Low and late Tan Cheong Koon) was back in 03-04 period.


Ho Peng Kee was taking over as the new FAS President then and this year it is Mayor Zainudin Nordin, who is taking over the hotseat and the Pro-Malaysia editoral team are surely hoping for Zainudin to be 'hoodwinked' and proceed to destory 13 years of work by both FAS and the clubs in building up S-league.

It does not change the fact, time have changed from 2003 let alone 1994.

First, AFC, have since 2004, stated they want each Asian nations to have their own league if they want to compete in Asia. Second, the changes they have done to enchance the ACL and AFC Cup competitions and the respective leagues established by the Asian FAs. Third, and the most important point is that Malaysia is showing us, even with 26 years of running a league, they still do not know it importance and joining such an organisation is a death wish for S'pore football ( This is not an article on Malaysia so will not go)

Indeed, we are the one leading the way in club organisation among the second-tier nations as the criterias AFC demanded, in 2008, was a 3-round league and the absoration of the Cups into the league from Asian Leagues with fewer than 14 teams and we started such a system back in 2001.

And starting from 2011, an Asian League must have a programme no less than 8 months long; which we established back in 2001 as well as the way foward.

That why S'pore S-league was the one sole Asian League from the East that was promoted to ACL this year as all other leagues, including one from the north which was graded a D on League, failed.

So are we going to throw everything away to join an organisation which changes it rules and league every years to accommdate their G14.

Back in 06, they had banned DPPM Brunei from their deserved place in Malaysia Cup, after the Brunei club won a slot, as it was taking a slot from their own.

Nothing wrong with that but only if the rules were clear about it at the start, not when DPMM won the slot and then FAM go to change it.

Can we trust FAM then as we must remember we have nobody to turn to like basketball S'pore Slingers who are now without a league as the Auusies NBL believed it was better if the Slingers was out if they could not survived.

It is indeed a death wish to join an organisation where S'pore have no control of its own fate and one only hoped new FAS President Zainudin Nordin do not be 'hoodwinked'.

Even such talk of ASEAN Super League are died as AFC had opposed it (and under FIFA rules, confederation blessing are needed for any international league to form) as well as other ASEAN FAs like PSSI and VFF, who rejected the plans already 2 years ago (So it show us why TNP hve no reporters and not gathering the latest reports instead of old news from 2007)

Singapore now placed among the Middle-Tiers

Singapore had failed in it bid to reach the Asian Zone World Cup Qualifier Final Group but quite frankly, I am very delighted with how this World Cup Qualifiers campaign had progressed.

By now, after viewing the entire qualifiers starting from the first round from last November, it is clear Singapore has reached the Middle tier now in the Asian arena whereas up to before the qualifiers started, one cannot be so sure if it was indeed the case.

Although expectations are at times on the high side (But still considered good as this show Singaporean are following the event) like when we defeated Lebanon playing some of the best attacking football and yet some can point at a 2-0 victory against an Arab team, along with the fact we defeat them 2-1 the second time in Beirut, as not enough.

We do need to remind ourselves that Singapore only claimed their second ever competitive win against an Arab team, Palestine, just back in 2003, a mere five years ago, and now a double victory against Lebanon, a team that had pushed South Korea all the way in the last World Cup Qualifiers, can be deemed as more than satisfied.

Also the Arab ‘weakest’ teams are almost considered equal if not above ASEAN best for the Thai themselves have problem getting past them after all these years struck in the middle-tier as the Thai failed to notch a single victory against them in the current World Cup Qualifiers.

Now though come the hard test as it was ‘easy’ (compare to the tests to come) getting into the Asian Middle-tier group for many have long considered the Thais to have reach that level yet up to now, they are still considered a lower Middle-tier team; which Singapore should find ourselves bracket in at the moment.

It can be now ‘near-to-impossible’ to move up the ladder for the likes of China and Lebanon etc have long reached the Middle-tier group before the republic yet they are either struck like China or in the case of Lebanon; slide down the ladder as neither can get close to the top of the middle-tier to be grouped with the like of Uzbekistan, North Korea and Bahrain.

This showed the difficulties ahead for Singapore cannot just maintain the standard set in these World Cup Qualifiers but improved on it.

Both China and Lebanon cannot be deemed to have dropped their level but more a case of just maintaining their level which is not good enough as others like Qatar and Oman had kept on improving.

So before the Lions think of smelling the Asian Big 5 – Japan, Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Australia – who are always favourite to capture all the World Cup spots and the Asian Cup trophy, we have to think of those in front of us with many old-timers like Thailand and China etc.

Luckily for Singapore, I will not be given this ‘near-to-impossible’ and ‘no-win’ task with the burden falling on Raddy, FAS and the S-league to deal with it

They will no doubt have the aid of the revamp, thus stronger, ACL and AFC Cup to assist them for the past four years involvement in the AFC Cup alone has helped the national team and the domestic scene much as S-league Big Three are regulars in the Asian arena with trips to West Asia yearly helping closed the gap.

All the best to them for the ‘difficult’ time ahead as they now faced an expectation of an Asian Cup 2011 spot and 2014 Asian Final group; as least judging from the raising hopes.

View of the Asian placing:
Asian Big 5

  • Japan, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Australia

Middle Tier

  • (Top group)
    Uzbekistan, North Korea, Bahrain
  • (Middle group)
    China, Syria, Iraq, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Jordan
  • (Lower group)
    Singapore, Thailand, Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan

Lower Tier

  • (Top group)
    Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Maldives, India, Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong, Palestine, Yemen
  • (Middle group)
    Myanmar, Laos, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan
  • (Lower group)
    Philippines, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Brunei, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei, Macau, Mongolia, Guam

Suzuki Cup: Only the crown will do

Twenty-one months after successfully defending the ASEAN Championship, the Lions will once again be tasked with defending their ASEAN crown when the newly-renamed Suzuki Cup kicked off in Indonesia and Thailand this coming December.

The draw was kind to Singapore as the Republic was dealt with an easy group with co-host Indonesia and, the weakest of the six automatic team, Myanmar along with a qualifier yet to be decided to qualify for the semi-final stage.

Not that the Lions needed the luck for since the end of the last ASEAN championship, the team has progress tremendously for one to view the ASEAN crown as the minimum target.

It is not arrogance to set the ASEAN crown as the minimum target but a reflection of the height the Lions is reaching that even a Final appearance should be viewed as disappointment.

Unlike the last two ASEAN championship crown the Lions won, National coach Raddy is marching into the 2008 edition with not only a stable team but also having transform his team to his preferred tactics and formation of 4-5-1.

For both 04/05 and 07 edition, Singapore was playing 4-4-2 and the midfield spine of Goh and Jailani for the 04/05 edition only formed at the last moment going into the crucial junction.
Unfortunately both were already 29 and could not be considered the future with both also lacking the technical abilities needed to play constructive football.

Thus in the Asian Cup Qualifiers in 2006, the midfield was reconstructed once again just 12 months after it was formed and with time running short, a Shi and Fahrudin partnership was clobber together on short notice.

Therefore, the spirit and teamwork between the midfield and the other departments, as well as between both teammates, were in the building stage entering the 2007 edition but now 20 months later, both have worked the partnership brilliantly.

However it is not just the mentioned two that is the only reason behind the Lions recent transformation over the last year and a half but rather, it being the team effort as Isa Halim, Wilkinson, Shahril Ishak and Noh Rahman all step up to be counted as well as the abilities and willingness of Farzul, Amri and Indra to be the support attack that gave Raddy the confidence to implement the change from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1.

The 4-5-1 is a flexible formation that allowed the attack to be at it most destructive as it free the team best attackers to concentrate on attacking when having the ball as anchorman are always behind defending the backline and it even give defenders and fullback the freedom to join in the attack if required.

Yet at the other end, the formation also ensure teams are not easy to break down as the team leave only one true forward upfront when defending and with nine players at the back and in midfield it compress the space given to opposition, making it difficult to pass the ball through the backline.

In the World Cup Qualifiers, the effect of the new formation make it case right from the start with a 4-0 demolition of Palestine in Amman, Jordan where 19 months earlier, the Lions fell to the same opposition one-nil down with a poor display.

Indeed Singapore have played some of the best attacking football seem in recent time during the WCQ 2010 and yet kept out their foes from scoring.

If one take out Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia as both are a class apart from any of the ASEAN teams Singapore will face in this championship, one will see Singapore have hit 11 goals in 5 games against teams like Lebanon, Tajikistan and Palestine; all of whom can match up to any of the ASEAN teams in Singapore group or Group B.

It is an average of 2.2 goals scored per game and in international football any average above 2 is amazing.

Also the goals are spread out between the midfielders and attack unlike past when the attack is the one shouldering the goals.

In addition, we are also not conceding goals at the back with 3 clean sheet out of 5 Qualifiers and only 2 goals conceded meaning an average of only 0.4 which is equally amazing.

With such evidences from the last year and half backing the Lions for this ASEAN campaign, a Final finish of previous campaign cannot be judged as enough any longer and only the ASEAN crown will do this time round

Media Reporting 2007

Into the third edition of the website annual appraisal of our local media, the list of papers coming under scrutiny is ever increasing with Chinese paper Lian He Zhao Bao now included.

With that, the number of papers now under Media Reporting is 6 and unless one learn Malay or Tamil, this website should have the complete list of Chinese and English papers reporting on local football.

Certainly it is hoped one day the Malay and Tamil papers can be included but it would involve the aid of any reader out there who knows Malay and Tamil.

Until then let looked at this year list from whom one think are the Best to the Worst
  1. Today
  2. Shin Min (Chinese)
  3. Fusion Football Weekly
  4. Lian He Zhao Bao (Chinese)
  5. Straits Times
  6. The New Paper
The third year Today is top and what else have not been written in the past that is needed to showcase the reason why it is so.
This year, Today S-league preview have decided to forgo it former practice of bungling everything together into one part or two parts system with the most coverage on the match of the week and instead have a preview of every match thus giving every teams it maximum attention.
It is a step in the right direction for in order for the S-league to develop even further, coverage of it mid-tier teams are needed and with the daily coverage, as the matches are spread out throughout the week, S-league can also stay in the public eye.
Other than this new development, this year exclusive articles coming out from the MediaCorp paper looked to have also gone up a notch with more news like Courts seeking to buy up Balestier Khalsa and Toa Poyah Stadiums naming rights, S-league in talks with SSC to redevelop and AFC in town to review S-league prospects of ACL 2009 etc.
Such news needed real journalist work for such information are not lying around in front of a laptop and it would have been all too easy for the MediaCorp paper to copy SPH side and waited for the major news network like Reuters to do the work for it for even when coming to SPH favourite EPL, SPH sport journalist or editors barely ever write their own.
That why Today dominance of top place in the media chart is assured for years to come unless SPH is ready to give local sports a place and it sport journalist or editors get to work.
Anybody following Shin Min recently for local sport would have been dazzled by the number of writeup and the size it is doing on the S-league, as it is covering up to 25% of a page, but do not be fooled as this is the dull time for European football.
But they still deserved their second position in the media list and it is certainly not right to whitewash all their efforts for the others below also come out short in certain areas or in all areas for TNP.
As in previous years, Shin Min preview articles written are always worth a look (not forgetting their theories along with statistic that can also be found in the preview)
They also continued to do their share of the coverage of Singapore clubs in the AFC Cup and this year, even with the inclusion of Lian He Zao Bao, they did not slack off so it is commendable.
The best when reading Shin Min though; they do not always talk about the past like the English side of SPH so let go of the past Straits Times and The New paper as the world does not revolve around the 30 million population of Malaysia and Singapore.
But Shin Min main problem is one do not know if they can last the pace as year after year they have shown towards the end of the league campaign their coverage start to go downhill as one can easily missed their work with a palm resting the paper able to cover it up.
Thus, it is a minus and the fact the paper does not to off season coverage as well mean it is well off the pace against leader Today but when against it rivals, it keep second for it coverage abilities.
Having done itself credits last year to finish a close third behind Shin Min, this year saw Football Weekly drop a little further behind after its revamp.
This was a result of it own success as the paper have done itself proud in the coverage of the local scene and with a revamp, it would be assume the paper would take it even further.
While the paper have still done itself credits with it off season coverage with movement of players, players interviews, roundup of league as well as the grassroots from the Prime League to the amateur scene etc, the question was if the paper can extend it even further and that where the limitation of the structure of the paper come into focus.
As Football Weekly is a once weekly paper and without the financial backing of a media giant, it cannot have the kind of exclusive reporting like Today and extensive look into matches like Shin Min thus ensuring it cannot matched up.
Also with the inclusion of a non-football sport section with the revamp, it must be asked if the paper is trying to cover too many angles, as it is no doubt looking to expand into the non-European football months, with football now an ongoing affair year out, for that mean they have to spend as much effort to keep abreast of the update of other sports and as the non-football sport section does not touch on the local scene it is not actually promoting or conductive to the local sport scene and it may be doing the opposite with it fighting for space with the local football Football Weekly is promoting.
So have Football Weekly reached it peak already and can go no further, that question like the Shin Min question can only be answered the very next time a roundup of local media reporting of local scene is done again.
The newcomer to this year media list is SPH Chinese paper Lian He Zao Bao and already, it is placed above the SPH other two English papers which one can say is right.
In truth, the Chinese paper articles do not have the extensive reporting of Today and non of the juicy tales or variety Shin Min contained yet it is highly valued by this website.
It win out on one important point the website considered very important which is it consistency coverage of the local league along and it commitment for it writeup constantly covered up to 25% of a page and Lian He Zao Bao do not covered more than 2 pages on sport often.
That why, while one may have doubts if the other Chinese paper Shin Min can last the season, especially with the English League starting in August, one can assumedly believed Lian He Zao Bao can go all the way.
This is a respect of local sport for coverage of the S-league does not start in late May - when the English season end - and end in August - when the English football season start - which is how one suspect the other papers, other than Today, treat the local scene.
Also, since the start of the local season when it coverage start, the paper have not wavied from it commitment and this include the league teams participation in the Asian arena - the AFC Cup - showing there is good reason to believe Lian He Zao Bao can go all the way.
A good start and with a bit of variety in their reporting, it should have matched Shin Min but at the same time questions will have to ask about the off-season for this is the time most local media go missing and if Lian He Zao Bao can fill up that gap, it would be prefect although one may be asking too much from a SPH paper to do that.
Last year ‘blinking light’ Straits Times is not blinking as much this year but it is not shining at full strength either.
After an amazing coverage of the Singtel League Cup where almost every game was covered, the paper have stabilized down for the still ongoing S-league with a weekly coverage of a match of the week which is usually the LIVE game of the week.
This may be an improvement over last year but considering the vast recourse at it disposal and the fact the paper like to proclaim itself as a national paper that is upholding it social responsibilities (A fact mention in last year Media reporting as well) it can do a better job as it scope on news of local sports is still quite limited.
Equally irking is the speed which the paper come out with the news on local sports with the recent announcement of the National Team and Under 23 for the upcoming internationals a prime example.
FAS had announced the squad on Friday yet it took Straits times until the following Tuesday before any mention of it can be found and comparing this with Today, who came out with the news the next day, one has to ask what was Straits Times doing for the 72 hours it took them to print the news.
This is the 21th century and unless SPH intend to be like the Iranian club Esteghlal who upon being thrown out of ACL for non-delivery of an entry form claimed they do not know what an e-mail or the fax machine is then SPH should not have taken that long to print that article.
Or maybe SPH employees in the sport department just cannot work first without either Reuters or AP writing up the article and they just do the copying and editing job.
That could also explained why the flagship of SPH is so bad when it come to local sports as they have to depend on themselves and that where their true quality of journalism on sport is revealed and the answer is not what they want to hear as they often showed off their awards in journalism.
The light is not ‘blinking’ as much this year but still ‘blinking’ and in need of a change to a 21th century light bulb if Straits Times ever want to get out of second last.
Let not waste too much or too much effort on this as the paper itself does not spend any effort on local sports and to an extent their editors must be proud of it for they celebrated they only covered foreign football.
But the sense of hypocorism is not lost when the paper recently ran an article showing the lacked of local willingness to aid local sportsmen in their quest and how much the sportsmen families have to come to their aid to give them the chance to try out for their dream.
TNP only need to look at the mirror each morning and they see the reasons why as they have put down local sport as much as possible in their time in existent – the way they treated netball a prime example for when Singapore won Asian Cup they treated it well but once it was down they called it a disgrace for sending the team to the Commonwealth Games – and some of their previous article barely disguised they only covered local sports because they were given an assignment.
If they were to give an office in London now they will surely jump for joy for their bodies is in Singapore but soul and heart are not.
Last and fully deserved

The Great Chase for Greatest Marksman

As Aleksandar Duric notched up his 200 S-league goals against Chinese side Liaoning Guanguyuan, he has not only become the third player to reach 200 S-league goals but also set to ignite a battle for the S-league Greatest Marksman title.

He is now in a three-man chase for that honour – much like the three way fight for the 2007 S-league title as all three forwards played for the title contenders.

Egmar Gonclaves, who had played for Home United, is currently top of the goal scoring chart with 238 S-league goals but the forward can no longer improved on that record as he has retired from football last season while in second is Mirko Grabovac, who played for Tampines Rovers, is on 234 S-league goals at the moment and it is the Stags striker who posed the threat against Duric.

With a 33-goal-lead to make up to get to second place, the Warriors striker will need to get an average of more than 1.5 goal per game, if SAFFC played the maximum 22 league and cup games remaining, and that is near-to-impossible task even for a deadly striker like Duric.

But what is aiding Duric is his main opponent Grabovac is feeling the wear and tear of his footballing career having played a limited number of games and scoring only 5 S-league goals thus far. Also the Stags forward nearly did not make it to the S-league opening game as he struggle to pass the tougher Beep requirement this season and with the requirement set to increase further, that is every chance the 5-time S-league Top Scorer Award winner would not make it in future.

The Aussie is also having the best time of SAFFC career for in the league, he has already notched up 18 league goals and that is only 1 goal behind his best ever for the Warriors and counting all, including the Cup competition, he is just 3 S-league goals behind and over half the season has yet to be played.

At the same time, Duric is still in prime shape, despite being the oldest S-league player on record, for during the off season the Warriors striker endure a tough fitness regime and a strict diet to ensure he is in prime shape anytime of the year and that what have kept him at the top all this while.

However, it may not be all smooth sailing for the 1.92m marksman as the Warriors are clearly looking to the future for they have just signed Balestier Khalsa Japanese forward Norikazu Murakami and while only 12 cm shorter he has proven he can be a target man as well in his time with the Tigers.

So even if Duric has a two-year contract with the Warriors, he may not be the desired man at the forward line come next season.

Still, the Aussie had always been a competitor and he will not give up his starting role for anybody and even if he leave the Warriors, it can be expected a man of Aleksandar Duric quality will attract many suitors.

That why, it is not just Egmar Gonclaves who should be sweating over the loss of his greatest marksman title but also Mirko Grabovac for the Stags striker, even if he overtake Egmar Gonclaves, may well be overtaken by the striker from the Warriors camp in time to come.

Duirc is on a Warriors Charge

Media Watch for the ASEAN Football Championship

With 48 hours before the ASEAN Football Championship start, let take a look at the media reporting this time round as one never forgot how they always seek to ask where the support is when they should also be asking themselves that question.

It seem the local media (especially SPH) before this year ASEAN Football Championship, has been more balanced in their reporting

Before the previous edition, even when Singapore had won the Tiger International Football Festival, SPH reporting was really terrible ignoring the fact that friendly competition was to train for the ASEAN Finals. (Myanmar which finished last got into semi-final)

This year, even when Singapore did not make it to the King Cup Final, it was clear the objectives were like last time; the ASEAN Finals and SPH accepted that.

For unlike last time, even up to the semi-final of the Tiger Cup, when SPH had the audacity to send an interim reporter to report on the match, with no senior reporters in sight, this time a friendly Cup competition like the King Cup saw SPH dispatching a reporter.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with the reporter being an interim but it was the fact she was more into lifestyle than sport and had admitted in her article she wanted to be in Orchard Road.

How then was it that the article got past the editor cut, one never know, but it was not about sport and how hypocritical (All of them as take your pick with those who were harsh before suddenly writing they always believed in Singapore and proud of it) the editors are once Singapore was in the Final (and it was the second leg as in the first leg SPH wrote as little) as they all jots to write with both the AFC website and soccernet website picking up on it; noting up until then the SPH media was non-existent but this time, they had 6 pages.

So then if Singapore do well this time, hope the Lim and the Tay do come around and write about how they believed in Singapore and not end up like in their own reports on why Singaporean do not come out in force to support the National Team when they themselves should looked at the mirror and asked their own (biased) reporting.

As for Mediacorp Today, that year 2 years ago was the start of the partnership (S-league and Singapore National Team) and they did do their job reporting on Singapore National Team from the first word go.

This time around it not much different as they are the only paper that consistently send a reporter to Singapore overseas trip with last year Asian Cup qualifiers a good example as they were in UAE, China and Jordan (while others may relied more on overseas report)

So the question is will it last?

Maybe for MediaCorp Today but not holding too much over any of the SPH papers as their track records over the years do not fill one with confidence.

Will FAS give S-league it due credit this time

As Singapore reign supreme over ASEAN for the third time in 10 years, one must not only be delighted but also impress with that impressive stats for over 15 attempts, starting from 1971 SEAP Games until 1998 had saw the Lions finished empty handed each time.

Along with that, Singapore have now joined a selected band of ASEAN nations – Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia – who successfully defended their crown. (Counting the SEA Games which was the unofficial ASEAN Championship until 2001)

However as one celebrate with the rest of the nation on this remarkable occasion, the author wishes to raise a question which is whether FAS will give the S-league it day in the limelight this time round unlike the 2005 victory when all FAS wanted was the whole of the Republic to know that the victory was the result their work alone only.

No, the author is not exaggerating it for back in 2005 all FAS wanted to talk about was their National Football Academy (NFA), which was started in 1999, as the starting point in the building of the 2005 team and how they make up 7 of the 22 member winner squad.

While not denying the importance of NFA as an important youth development for Singapore future.

Like most facts, a better and more accurate picture is seem when peeking into the fine details for it was only 2 NFA members, Shahril Ishak and Khairul Amri, who played a part in that Tiger Cup victory and instead Geylang United and (the currently excluded ex-S-league) Tanjong Pagar United may have played a bigger part in that victory.

The 2004/2005 competition MVP Lionel Lewis had a lot to thanks Geylang United for back in the 1997 the Eagles had not spotted his talent but make the important decision to hire a goalkeeper coach (a novel idea at that time which FAS have not even done) to further develop the goalkeeper skill at the club.

Certainly, the result of that decision was bared out by the fact all 3 keepers – Lionel Lewis, Hassan Sunny and Shahril Jantan – in the 2004/2005 competition had make their debut with the Bedok-based club.

If not for the event back in 1997, would Singapore have in their disposal now a custodian so good that he is well on his way to being one of Singapore great for let not forget Rezal Hassan when under FAS charge in the Malaysian League days.

Lionel Lewis was not the only Eagles savior that year for in attack there was Indra Sahdan, in midfield there was Hasrin Jailani and in defence there was Baihakki Khaizan (A joint effort of NFA and Geylang United). Other than that, Noh Rahman, who is always a reliable substitute ready to come off the bench, is afflicted to Geylang United.

After that, come Tanjong Pagar United for Singapore famed backline has 2 players – Daniel Bennett and S.Subramani – who are the product of the club youth development and S.Subramani had won the 1998 Player of the Year while playing for his debutant team.

Even the so called ‘small’ clubs despised so much by SPH media and the neutral fans played their part with Jurong giving us Goh Tat Chuan and Itmi Dickson and Sembawang Rangers giving us Noh Alam Shah.

This year, one from the production line of the small’ clubs, Noh Alam Shah, played a big part in Singapore retaining it ASEAN title and along the way it was 2-times Champions Tampines Rovers who had further aided his development.

Tampines Rovers did not just further aid Noh Alam Shah development, they also give Singapore Mustafic Fahrudin for back in 2001 the Eastern-based club spotted the potential talent of the midfielder and was so impressed they were willing to give him a 5-year contract to the then 20-year old.

The midfielder did not disappoint as on loan with Sengkang Marine (Now Sengkang Punggol) that year, the Hougang club saw their best ever finish of fourth in the Singapore Cup and then in 2004, he won the Young Player of the Year while playing for the Stags.

Yet for all that efforts by the S-league and all it member clubs, FAS totally forgotten about them in 2005 while celebrating that victory and the mainstream media aided FAS as they just willing lap up FAS talk that NFA was the reason for Singapore ASEAN win.

One would not blame the clubs if they have given up and left Singapore football but knowing those running these clubs are doing it because they love Singapore football, they will not do so.

Still FAS must not take them for granted as they did their part in the 3 ASEAN win.

So this time around, do not forget the S-league efforts FAS this time round for when Singapore failed it is the S-league that take the blame but when time to celebrate it is you FAS who lab up all the credits and that is bullshit.

Get the ASEAN stars

If anybody had been following the transfers’ activities since the end of the S-league season, it is not unbelievable to make the call that this year transfer season has come to a close even before the New Year.

The Big 3 (SAFFC, Home United and Tampines Rovers) and the 2 pretenders (Geylang United and Woodlands Wellington) have more or less finished their shopping ahead of schedule with the best local lads already contracted to them and their foreign quota filled.

No doubt, there are still 4 other local clubs (Balestier Khalsa, Gombak United, Sengkang Punggol and Young Lions) who have much works to do before next season but honestly their weaker financial state or age restriction mean choices are limited.

One is certainly glad the Big 3 and the 2 pretenders have plan early for the upcoming season but having looked through the squads there is disappointment in the lacked of names.

By that, one is not asking for the impossible in seeking the best European or South American stars to grace this stage but taking a leave out of the J-league, S-league must target a realistic market from which to sought our own foreign stars.

J-league clubs have been targeting Brazil league domestic stars to grace their arena. The rise of 2004 Brazilian league top scorer Stecanela Cerqueira Washington is an example as with FC Tokyo in 2005 he scored 22 goals to make himself a top J-league star thus attracting the interest of Urawa Reds who purchased him and he has already repaid the club with 25 goals and a championship crown. Gamba Osaka Fernandinho is another as since joining the club he has played a key role in the club engine role contributing 23 goals.

The way ahead though is not easy with the East and West Asian leagues dominating the market which S-league could looked to, like the South American market, although one cannot ruled the possibility gems can still be found like a brilliant Brazilian now playing with the Singapore Cup champions.

But to be honest, a number of Brazilians have played in the S-league and the number that show similar class can be narrow to 2 (Egmar and Peres) showing the difficulties as we are scrapping the bottom end of the barrel.

Is it not best then for the S-league to look at ASEAN stars with their wage demand more likely to be met by S-league clubs.

Thai U23 star Teerathep Winothai will soon be off to the V-league where he is earning around US$8000 (S$12000) a month and this wage demand can be meet by the top S-league clubs.

The S$72000 wage cap is a problem as no club will want to spend a huge portion on a single player thus weakening the rest of the team and that where S-league step in as the league can share up to half the star player wages provided it does not exceed S$5000.

To ensure the overheads do not become a burden, S-league can limit the ASEAN star player category to 2 (half the 4 foreigner slots) per squad as well as the requirement that the ASEAN player have at least 20 caps to ensure quality.

With that support from the S-league, players in the class of Bambang can see action in the S-league (Remembering how close Home United were in 2004) and only then, the talk by FAS in transforming S-league into a top 10 Asian league be realized as a top league need quality players.

In addition to the ASEAN stars, the top foreign players from other ASEAN leagues like Perak Keita Mandjou or Perlis Phillemon Chepita can be extended the same treatment as they have the statistics to back their case.

The road to being the top league in ASEAN or even a top 10 Asian league is never easy and it can never be realized without splashing the cash and it is time for S-league to back that ambition with actions.

PoV – Media Reporting 2006

With the eleventh edition of the S-league into it second month, it is that time of the year to make a note and up to a point judge how the local print media have done especially the print media for it is interesting that they loved to report on how their rival boardcasting media is always not putting local sports interest above financial interests. (Remember Tiger Cup 2004 and Commonwealth Games 2006)

So one must believed then the local print media have nailed the interest of local sports into their heart above all else.

At the same time, it would be nice to have a comparison on whether local media reporting have intensified from last year POV when his author chose 3 papers previews - TNP, Shin Min (Chinese), and Today to compare.

Unfortunately, the author still have not learn to read Malay or Tamil, so once again it is down to the Chinese and English papers with this year seeing the inclusion of another 2 papers Fusion football weekly and SPH flagship Straits Times.

Now, it is onto what one think are the Best to the Worst.
Once again top of the list is local free paper Today which one would say is the best of the lot and certainly it is tough to describe they have a competitor with the package they are offering as the news is always available either starting from the off-season or the ongoing season.
In the off season, the mass media usually forgot local football and players transfers and contract discussion are disregarded but as shown already with the reported S$120000 yearly move by Aide Iskandar to Johor and the reported S$100000 yearly signing, which is the biggest local contract since Fandi Ahmad and SAFFC, by Indra Sahdan with Home United there are stories the local mass media could pick up on.
Onto the current season coverage, Today's S-league preview has gone back to the two parts system with the first part on Monday and the second part on Thursday and also this year, there are more focus on individual players being showcases.
Also, if past records are any indications, as the season wore on and the title race hot up, before the crucial matches between the top dogs Today will have more coverage of these matches (and it may not just fall on Monday and Thursday) to show their importance to the general public who may not be following as closely on the local league.
Another point it stand out as among the rest is Today have coverage of matches on the every next day after each match the paper and it is without peers for non of SPH English papers do that.
There were some disappointment though like the end of the S-league snippets on S-league milestones achieved by players and coaches with it seemly turning into the World Cup snippets and one can understand the lure of the World event thus it is with hopes that with the end of the event in July, it would witness the S-league snippets returning for the players usually getting their recognition in such short take are defenders and midfielders and not always the strikers.
Certainly if Today only did the coverage on the S-league, one could have accused it of thinking of it bottomline for their contract with the S-league but the free paper have also shown their interest of S-league clubs involvement in Asia in the AFC Cup unlike none in the SPH English camp.
It is certainly no minnow competition for it involved top clubs from Hong Kong and Malaysia (SPH strangely like to report them as much superior to local sides) and once in the knockout stage even more superior clubs from West Asia but the S-league clubs have shown they can matched these teams so questions must be raised why the SPH lead media swept such worthwhile achievements worth noting in Asia under the carpet while continued their criticizing the S-league.
In all, it is indeed not difficult to show why Today continue to top the list for the second year running in the author POV on media reporting of local football.
It was a tough fight for second place this year for Shin Min but in the end in term of overall package, it must go to the SPH Chinese paper.
As mentioned already, in the off-season most of the mass media coverage sucked and Shin Min cannot escape from being one of the accused as local football news disappear from its radar altogether once the last match end.
It was a big negative point which would have cost it second place if not for the ongoing coverage it was doing.
One can indeed say the ongoing coverage is a major improvement from last year with nonsense from the three 'stooges' gone for they are a waste of printing space and the decision to expand the coverage with Shin Min having a two parts preview with the first part on Monday and the second part on Friday when the live game is to be telecast was a master stroke.
It is no doubt done in keeping their readers, whom the majority are punters, interested as Singaporepools have increased the lure of their product with a Special bet that can be punted until the last ten minutes of the match and it is introduced for Friday live telecast S-league match.
However it will not be correct to whitewash all their effort as the preview articles written are worth a look while not forgetting their theories along with statistic that can also be found in the preview.
But missing from the preview this year are coverage of players and it is a major disappointment as it was a nice look at players, even if they had focus much on their private lives, and they had introduced players to a section of the Chinese population who are not wired up thus limiting their news to only Chinese papers.
Shin Min did make up for it with coverage of matches on the every next day after each match the paper and it included the AFC Cup matches for last year the papers only printed the scoreline and scorers without any reports much of the time. (Not sure if they continued all season but if they do, a round of applause to them)
Like Today, Shin Min is without peers in this area as non of the other SPH Chinese papers Wanbao and Zaobao do that and this is a major point for without Chinese rival to compete with, one can say Shin Min is doing the right job in promoting local football to the Chinese section in Singapore.
In all, while Shin Min has retain their second position but it is hoped the papers remember that there is still a job in the off-season and bringing back the coverage of players would be correct for Shin Min is a mainstream local paper expected to bring news to sections of their readers who may not have other sources.
It was a close fight for second but in the end Football Weekly was credited with third position.
One of the criteria in determining their position was off season coverage and Football Weekly, along with Today, was the only papers to have done creditable in this area when all others went missing.
The movement of players (especially locals) across clubs have always been difficult to track with clubs sometimes wanting secrecy about the transfers themselves but the papers manage to provide a reasonable track of a number of movements.
The papers is ahead on this point and adding to that is the ongoing coverage is extensive with not only the S-league preview but also a section on both young local players, so one know other young players in the S-league and not just those of the Young Lions, and players plying their trade in the S-league each week on their papers.
The papers have not forgotten the S-league actions as well with a roundup of the past week matches in which they select a Team of the Week and Goal of the Week.
Other than all these, the papers also have local football news that mainstream media may overlook like the grassroot from the Prime League to the amateur scene - such as schools and NFL etc.
It is certainly wonderful to be able to follow the news on the grassroot like the recent SR Nathan Challenge Cup Final between NYP and ITE.
With so much written already, it seem the papers is doing their job well, then the question arose must be why it is third and the answer is that Football Weekly is not a year round paper.
One can understand the financial reasons behind the decision not to make it a year round paper for when the European football scene disappear, the papers could lost a majority of it readers but can one imaged that while the local scene is still ongoing, the papers who is bringing you the news have taken a break of up to 3 months thus diminishing your want on continuing to follow.
It is too big a demerit to overlook and no matter the reasons behind it Football Weekly can be no higher than third.
  • TNP
After last year horror show of Ernest and Tay in which Ernest was more interested in covering Tay backside, it is a relieved one will not have to go through it again with the papers realising their writers are not equipped to comment on the local football scene. (Think back to 2003 as well)
That was why the papers have given the job to a freelancer to write the preview column and one already find it is much better as the focus is on the action on the field.
However one can say that is about the extend of their coverage of local football for it is still doing a terrible job of reporting on the local scene as once a week hardly showed any commitment.
The most glaring evidence was the recent Asian Cup game against Iraq, when the fixture came up against UCL, and while one believed the Chelsea-Barcelona game should get their space, in any other countries the space given to it own country in an event of a famous victory would have been more than the miserly 2 pages (divide by half as advertisement make up the rest) against the 8 pages of UCL with pictures and graphics.
It only tend to show that it was the correct decision for the S-league to stop their contract with SPH as it is impossible to see why FAS would want to stick with them.
Still, as TNP have never done a good job before on local sports one should not be surprised but it does not make up for the terrible job they continue to dish out year after year.
In all, TNP may not have been last this year but it is not as a result of their effort and rather it is the addition of a paper worse than them.
Still the best thing about having TNP that stink is that on Sunday when their S-league preview come out one can save the 80 cents for his kopi for a free paper can offered more.
Some may be confused as to why the ST is being included in a roundup of media reporting as much like a blinking light, the papers coverage of local sports switched on and off as it pleased.
The reason is simple.
As the flagship of SPH, it has the most resources and finances avaliable and it should not be skipping away from it social responsibilities as many times, government MPs and ministers have come to state the media must a role building job in society and one of the most acknowledged way to do that is through sports.
But strangely, it seem ST will not be your source if one is looking for any positive effect on local sports and instead the only way to get printing space in their papers is to have someone steal (Rugby), fight (Rugby), quarrel (Football) or something else terrible or it is foreign sports news for Singaporean even if it is baseball or American football etc.
Even if local sports did well, it has to be to the taste of ST sport editors or else watch them bring the achievements down like last year ASEAN Club Championship.
The team which triumphed is a local club, Tampines Rovers, and not the Singapore National Team so within 48 hours, the papers was ready with a article to showcase the trophy as the worthless Cup but if that was the case then does the Tiger Cup won in the same year mean nothing as well.
Knocking down the ASEAN Club Championship was never enough for ST as they never forgot to decry AFC Cup as a UEFA Cup of Asia thus a second grade competition but it seem ST have a short memory for a few year earlier when English club, Newcastle United was the only English team left in Europe playing in the UEFA Cup, that trophy was more deem more valuable than the UCL to be claimed.
Nothing beat what one feel ST stand for and that is pro-Malaysia Cup that treat a domestic Malaysian Cup above everything else, even the 2 regional competition mentioned, as Sport Editor Tay even once wrote that local football be abandoned if it was offered back so one must asked why he does not also write about what 6 years of FAS in Malaysian professional football done to local youth development.
But with past records from ST, one should not be surprised for in Tiger Cup 1998 (Before Today came about) they even refused to send a single reporter to the competition and Tiger Cup 2005 when they send a interim reporter to cover the semi-final who then send back a article wishing she was in Orchard Road.
It seem ST is hardly a papers that have nailed the interest of local sports into their heart and honestly speaking one believed they have their body in Singapore but heart and soul in either Malaysia or UK.
Or else it could be they are putting local football down is to make up for their own lacked of acknowledge, for the one always writing their articles are foreign based writers and he know that football is no longer a sport meant to be kept between Singapore and Malaysia.
It seem ST as the flagship of SPH have done their bare minimum in improving their coverage of local sports since the ancient times and it is with much disgrace one called it a local papers when commenting on their local sport coverage outside of Games events as they loved to tell others (MediaCorp) to do their job and covered local sports.

What about future Asian Games

At the beginning, the Republic Under-23 football team were not among those selected to go to the Doha Games before an appeal saw the about turn from Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) to select the team.

So that means the end of the issue then.

If one is just thinking about the 2006 Asian Games, then yes, but to be honest, it does not take a genius to foretell that the same situation will pop out again for the 2010 Asian Games and beyond.

That is where the problem lie for Singapore for while our Under-23 team is never assured of the Asian Games, the Asian Games is part of Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea development plan where the Asian powerhouse send their Under-21 team to gain the needed exposure and experience to enhance their potential.

The Asian powerhouses know by only sending their Under-21 team to the Asian Games, they have given up their right to Asian Games crown but it matter not to them for football development for their youngsters is the main point.

The difference then is clear to note for SNOC does not concern itself with football development and it is not wrong as that is not SNOC area of scope.

It is FAS job and it is time FAS start to analyze whether it is possible to request SNOC to exempt the sport from their decision making by agreeing not only to pay the their own expenses but also restructuring the aim and buildup of the SEA Games to prove football development is the main point at these Games.

By that, the author means sending Under-21 teams to the biennial SEA Games for football development thus preparing for the build-up to an Under-23 team for the Asian Games. The Under-21 team will then also have an aim to progress unlike now for since it formation it has been drifting aimlessly seems by it non-action.

However in this way, the SEA Games crown is a goner but if football development is indeed part of FAS aim in sending the Singapore Under-23 team to the 2006 Asian Games as reported in their appeal to SNOC, it is time to back their words with proof.

Future Asian Games must no longer be held hostage to the relevant of results when the aim should be like Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea; which is to gain the needed exposure and experience to enhance the team potential.