Monday, February 28, 2011

The headline numbers do not matter if it is gobbled up by commercial rates

Over the past week, there had been a number of impressive headline numbers for Singapore football with SSC promising FAS S$2.5 million funding this time, FAS talking with URA about building a stadium that is costing millions and Starhub finalizing the TV deal that should have added $500k to Singapore football coffers.

While it is impressive, let not forget that Singapore football is vastly underfunded.

And before going on, I would like to give a round of applause to Singapore rugby president Mr Low Teo Ping for the TODAY paper had try to lure 'negative' vibes from him about other sport (Ok, it is football) by asking how it felt to get the same funding when others get an increase.

He did not take that bait and rightly so.

I have always believed Singapore sport is not united at all and that is disappointing for it is common to see other sports discipline 'attack' other when it encounter problems or by claiming they can do better.

No doubt, they do this hoping to get an edge over other sports discipline especially if those sports are believed to be above them.

Compare this with Taiwan, when baseball - their island top sport discipline - got into trouble due to corruption in their league and was facing a total collapse as virtually every teams was involved.

Instead of facing a barrage of attacks from other sports, they united together to support it especially basketball, baseball biggest competitor, and the baseball league was able to start.

Certainly basketball did not do this because of compassion as their association noted that if baseball collapse it will affect all other sport on the island as well.

That is the turth and if other sports hope the collapse of football will allow them to climb up they have to note that football currently consist of nearly 30% of the GDP value of sports and it collapse will bring down the entire local sport industry.

They cannot gain anything and it will affect everybody negatively in the end. (Like how the world biggest economy collapsed, it affected the world and nobody was immune) 

This is especially as football in Singapore do not have that big an advantage as claimed by other sports.

If we had, then Singapore teams should have a deal like New York Knicks who, despite being among NBA richest teams, is able to rent Madison Square Garden for US$1 (S$1.27) a year from their City Council or be like the English FA, among the world richest FA, who regularly collect 40% of the money dispense by Sport England (An association like SSC)

Do Singapore football get such deals?

Of course not and that is why we are so vastly underfunded.

For me, the crucial issue among all the headline numbers is the subsidy system of SSC.

SSC consistently reply that they have increase the subsidy to S-league clubs and FAS when it come to rentals yet how is it possible to see a 300% gain in rental as revealed by Balestier Khalsa.

So is the format 'flawed' as in my mind, this is the format

Product: $10 Subsidy: 50% Cost: $5

After 'increase' in Subsidy to 75%

Same Product: $15 Subsidy: 75% Cost: $7.5

So where is the Subsidy, one may wonder as it is on paper and frankly, worthless in the eye of person receiving it.

Indeed, payments to SSC gobbled up nearly 50% of the S-league seed money before the recent increase and even now, it take up to 35% of it.

Do any other sports in Singapore see that much money go back into the hands of SSC as once included FAS share of the rental, I can estimate it is around S$1.5 million.

While I am not asking for the type of deal like New York Knicks, we have to remember SSC is a monopoly and clubs cannot choose to change venue to cut cost so we are at the mercy of it when it come to how much they want to charge.

And a 300% gain in rental is ridiculous even with SSC constantly defending itself by stating it is commercial rate.

For let not forget, SSC is not delivering commercial standard as well for the stadiums seats are concrete and the state of the pitch - like the recent abandoned Yishun which have a mud pitch as a field - the less we talk the better.

Indeed, football do not need more money as it is meaningless if the payments to SSC is not reviewed as based on commercial terms, it may be time for a raise. (sooner or later)

Then what is the use as everything will be gobbled up again.

And before SSC tell us, they cannot go into red as well, I like to remind them that in the early 2000s, they had try to raise public fees to their swimming pools and sport councils by telling us that they will go into the red soon.

But with the state of the economy then, the government refused and SSC never raise the issue.

It is now nearly a decade and miraculously SSC have never gone into the black hole they spoke of when they wanted to raise fees and instead they are in the pink of health.

So is the $1.5 million that Singapore football give back that important to their financial books and any cut is not achievable.

Especially now as the clubs and the league want to develop the sport industry but commercial rates are a killer and how then can Singapore football develop if they have to give money away first without having a chance to earn it.

Maybe Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)should look into that if he ready mean to help Singapore football for one hand in, one hand out help SSC, not Singapore football.

S-league Preview III (Edited to add in Albirex Niigata (S) vs Tampines Rovers)

S-league Preview II - 3 right and 3 wrong

Mon 28-Feb Balestier Khalsa - Courts Young Lions (TPY)
Tue 1-Mar Gombak United - Etoile FC (JWS)
Wed 2-Mar Hougang United - Home United (HGS)
Thu 3-Mar Courts Young Lions - Geylang United (JBS)
Fri 4-Mar TPUFC - Woodlands Wellington (JBS) 
Sun 6-Mar Albirex Niigata (S) vs Tampines Rovers (JES)

Balestier Khalsa vs Courts Young Lions
Will the Tigers get their first win after 2 draw? I am not sure. Yes, they will be hard to beat but to win mean playing a different way and until now there is no indication they can do that. Neither do I believed the Cubs can do that even as they take more risk than the Tigers for their squad is still learning. That mean draw is a likely outcome unless the Tigers finally take risk to win matches. 1-1 draw 

Gombak United vs Etoile FC
A draw and a goalless one at that. This is the image forming in my mind. I cannot see the Bulls winning it unless they come out charging (which they have not done) while the champions looked to have lost their main forward Jonathan Justin to injury. The Champions are also still adapting to Singapore condition so they have been slumbering in their last 3 matches; winning only 1 of them. 0-0 draw 

Hougang United vs Home United
The Protectors will walk away with all 3 points as long as Qiu Li play a part of the game. That is how big a influence the Singapore forward has on the team as last week he make the game safe by winning a spotkick and scoring one goal in 45 minutes of work. This is important as it is clear Mendy is adapting to his new club and is unable to show the form he has with Etoile FC last term. Until then, Qiu Li will be needed and so will Sufian Anuar who pop up with two goals already. 3-0 to Home United 

Courts Young Lions vs Geylang United
There will be a capacity crowd, that is sure. The question is will the Eagles be willing to play a part in it and come out to play football or will they park their team at the back, like always, and hope for the best on counters? Mike Wong is the coach of Geylang United, not Singapore football, so I am guessing it is option two as he will be looking for 3 points; not who is watching on the stands. The Cubs though will be asked to attack and I can see them being caught by those counters as they will have to impress and that mean more players will go forward. 2-0 to Geylang United 

TPUFC vs Woodlands Wellington 
The battle of the Wooden Spoon. This may sound cruel as only 2 rounds have been played but the Rams are unwilling to climb up the table if they do not score as defending all the way can only take one so far while the Jaguars, if they are happy to celebrate even when losing, you know their aim is low. It is a tough one as the first goal will decide this game in my opinion and since the Jaguars had open their account already, I have to go with that as after 3 losses the Rams may finally come to attack in future games. 1-0 to the Jaguars

Albirex Niigata (S) vs Tampines Rovers
The White Swans are top but it mean nothing as until now they have not been tested as their oppositions in their first two matches are that weak. The Stags are more battle-harden and it is over the years so it much better to trust the likes of veterans like Duric than the youngsters of the White Swans. 3-1 to the Stags

SM believed budget should have given something to sports

With the 2011 budget announced, there have been a series of walkaround conducted by the ministers and the various MPs in order to explain the benefits of the budget.

When asked by the media what can be improved, most ministers and MPs of course answered the most obvious one, inflation.

But Senior Minister Goh once again show sports hold a place in his heart.

While addressing the media and the public, he noted the budget can be considered 9 out of 10 but it failed to address issues about sports and the mentally disabled.

He could be pointing out that the recent tax revision on jackpot machines and the opening of the IRs had a big impact on the funding of sports especially football) and must be hoping the budget can address that.

Unfortunately it did not.

But the SM words show the possibilities if he was in charge as S-league could have never started, in my eye, if not for him.

The leadership of (FAS President) Ibrahim Othman, (General-secretary) John Koh and (FAS advisor) Mah Bow Tan may have claimed they had dreamed up S-league as early as back in the early 90s but history does not lie and they make no moves to aid grassroots football and instead divert millions away from it to fund the various Malaysia Cup teams under their term thus destroying Singapore own foundation.

That was certainly not one looking to build a league especially when it lead to a mini-revolt at the grassroots level with teams sending their foreigners away and closing down youth development.

It was only when then-PM, now SM Goh, spoke that these trio really dream of it or else Singapore football will not have to wait another year for them to set a committee to look at the S-league project as they had over 3 years to set one before 1995.

After that, if the Asian Financial Crisis and the Bosom ruling had not happen, with one diverting the PM attention away while the other make the sport as expensive as it is today, who know.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Courts Young Lions Football Fiesta

Uniform teams victorious

Both Uniform teams were victorious as SAFFC defeated Tanjong Pagar United 2-1 while Home United crushed Gombak United 3-0.

At the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, two quick goals in 30 minutes from Mislav Karoglan and Fazrul Nawaz were enough to give the Warriors all 3 points.

The Jaguars had pulled one back thanks to Japanese import Takaya Kawanab.

As for the Protectors, despite the impressive scoreline, they took a while to get going at the home ground, Bishan, and once again it was Sufian Anuar who pop up with a goal.

A goal up, the Bulls finally came out of their shell and Qiu Li, on as a second half substitute, was a major factor as he won a spotkick and score a goal.

Korean Kim Dae Eui dispatched the spotkick.

At the Jalan Besar Stadium, Champions Etoile FC were unable to breach the Tigers defence once  their main forward Jonathan Justin left the field after he was injured after a tackle by Paul Cunningham.

With the Tigers also unable to score, the match ended 0-0.

Shahril Jantan (GK) (C), Shaiful Esah (Syaiful Iskandar), Hafiz Osman, Bah Mamadou, Ivan Jerkovic, Noh Rahman, Luka Savic, Mislav Karoglan (Mustaqim Manzur), Fazrul Nawaz, Indra Sahdan, Taisuke Akiyoshi 

Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Khairul Solyhin, Arisman Arman (Ganesan s/o Devadas), Delwinder Singh (Gary Loo) , Kim Jong Oh (Israel Tan), Hyun Jong Woon, Kim Seong Kyu (C), Takaya Kawanabe, Ashwin Tiwari, Benedict Low, Patrick Paran


Home United
Lionel Lewis (GK), Kenji Arai, Juma'at Jantan, Valery Hiek, Abdil Qaiyyim, Farizal Basri (Qiu Li), Shi Jiayi (C), Nor Azli Yusoff (Firdaus Kasman), Kim Dae Eui, Frederic Mendy, Sufian Anuar (Firdaus Idros)

Gombak United
Zakariah Nerani  (GK), Jaslee Hatta (C) (Ruhaizad Ismail), Jeremy Chiang, Obadin Aikhena, Walid Lounis, Hamqaamal Shah, Tengku Mushadad (Shafuan Sutohmoh), Ridhwan Jamaludin (Zulkiffli Hassim), Chang Jo Yoon, Kwon Jin Sung, Park Kang Jin


Balestier Khalsa 
Joey Sim (GK), Lim Young Woo, Paul Cunningham (C), K Sathiaraj, Fariss Haiqel Hamran (Anaz Hadee), Armanizam Dolah, K Vikraman, Poh Yi Feng (Ishak Zainol), Andrew Tan, Vitor Borges, Kim Young Kwang (Nurhilmi Jasni)

Starhub to boardcast matches on SuperSports Arena & Preview channel

Local cable broadcaster Starhub is being tasked to provide the "LIVE" coverage of this season's Great Eastern-YEO's S.League's matches on every Friday night at 7.25pm from the Jalan Besar Stadium.

While terrestrial broadcaster MediaCorp's Channel 5 will show a delayed telecast of the matches on Saturdays (the following day).

Asia’s leading sports marketing, media and event management company - World Sport Group has been appointed to produce the weekly ‘live’ broadcast and magazine show with highlights of S.League action from the previous week’s matches.

StarHub TV customers will be able to watch the ‘live’ matches on the complimentary SuperSports Arena (StarHub TV Channel 201) while non-StarHub TV customers can also catch the ‘live’ broadcast even without a StarHub TV set-top box.

Telecast schedules for S.League matches on StarHub TV are available at 

For non-StarHub TV subscribers, the generic tuning-in procedures to receive ‘live’ S.League broadcasts are:
  • Select an unused channel on the TV unit.
  • Press the TUNING button on the TV remote control or at the front panel of the TV unit, commonly labelled as [PRESET], [INSTALL], [SET], [P/C] or [MENU>TUNE>MANUAL]. If the TV unit does not have any of these buttons, please refer to the TV manual.
  • Start tuning by pressing or selecting the VOLUME +/- button or the CHANNEL UP/DOWN button on the TV remote control until a StarHub slide appears on the screen.
  • Next, press the STORE or MEM button on the TV remote control to store the tuning.
  • Press the MENU or PRESET button to end or exit the tuning procedure.

Stags crush Cheetah

Tampines Rovers defeated Hougang United 5-2 at the Tampines Stadium.

Aleksandar Duric scored a brace with Ahmad Latiff, Park Yo Seb and Shahdan Sulaiman also getting on the scoresheet.

The Cheetah goals came from Carlos Delgado and Basit Hamid.

In another match played at the Woodlands Stadium, Albirex Niigata (S) defeated Woodlands Wellington 1-0 with the goal from Bruno Castanheira.

Woodlands Wellington 
Amos Boon (GK), Adrian Butters, Sahairi Ramri, Munier Raychouni, Madhu Mohana, Ali Imran Lomri (Goh Swee Swee), Nigel Vanu (Leonardo Alexio), Syed Karim, Jalal, Sazali Salleh (C), Shahri Musa 


Tampines Rovers
Hassan Sunny (GK), Benoit Croissant, Seiji Kaneko, Ahmad Latiff (Ahmed Fahime), Akihiro Nakamura, Shahdan Sulaiman, Imran Sahib (Jufri Taha), Ismadi Mukhtar, Park Yo Seb, Shukor Zailan, Aleksandar Duric (C) 

Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK) (C), Shariff Samat, Fumiya Kobayashi, Emmeric Ong, Syaqir Sulaiman (Mamadou Diallo (Sobrie Mazelan)), Fazli Jaffar, Duncan Elias, Carlos Delgado, Noor Ali, Azhar Sairudin, Diego Oliviera (Basit Hamid)

Tampines Rovers AFC Cup group

Group G 

Muang Thong United (THAI), Tampines Rovers (SIN), Victory (MDV), Hanoi T&T (VIE)


Muang Thong United (THAI) - Champions of Thai League


Victory (MDV) - Runner-up of Dhiraagu Dhivehi League 


Hanoi T&T (VIE) - Champions of V-league

Monday, February 21, 2011

S-league Preview II

S-league Preview I - 3 right and 3 wrong

Mon 21-Feb Woodlands Wellington - Albirex Niigata (S) (WLD)
Tue 22-Feb Tampines Rovers - Hougang United (TMP)
Wed 23-Feb SAFFC - TPUFC (CCK)
Thu 24-Feb Home United - Gombak United (BIS)
Fri 25-Feb Etoile FC - Balestier Khalsa (JBS)
Sun 27-Feb Geylang United - SAFFC (BDK)

Woodlands Wellington vs Albirex Niigata (S)
The Rams have play better than expected in their opening game (Or maybe it was Hougang who was too weak). We cannot underestimate them then but one problem is getting goals as they could not get that all crucial opener when they had Hougang on the backfoot. After all goals win games and without it, no matter how well you play, it does not matter in the end. 1-1 draw 

Tampines Rovers vs Hougang United
The Stags must win this one and they should. The Bulls, who the Stags drew with, are a negative side but the Cheetah are not in the same bracket therefore there is more attacking space. They cannot forgive themselves if they slip up again as such dropped points were among the reason why last season title went west to Queentown instead of East to Tampines. 3-1 to the Stags

Nobody need me to tell you the winner of this match. If the Jaguars best efforts, as claimed by their coach, was a five-goal thrashing then it is a long season ahead for the young heads. It is a learning experience and they are about to get one from the Big boys SAFFC. 6-0 to SAFFC

Home United vs Gombak United
The Bulls are a negative side and Darren Stewart may disagree but the Bulls, under him, have grown more and more defensive minded. It is also not due to the departure of the likes of Gabriel Obatola or Agu Casmir etc as even before that, the Bulls were already playing a brand of football that was build on keeping out goals rather than scoring them. That is why any sides playing against them, especially the Big 3 and Etoile FC, need to score first. So Home United have to put more bodies forward and Qiu Li need to pass his Beep Test. 2-1 to Home United 

Etoile FC vs Balestier Khalsa
Will this match be played at Jalan Besar? Who know. One thing we do know is the Tigers will be tough to beat. They are a disciplined side and the Champions will find it difficult to breach that backline. But the Champions have already sound their warning with the defeat of Geylang United that they mean business. They should have no problem winning this one if they play to their potential. 2-1 to Etoile FC

Geylang United vs SAFFC
The Eagles should have their new forward by then but it does not matter. The Warriors appear to have got a better one - Mislav Karoglan. He looked like the forward the Warriors need to fire their championship hopes and that why the Eagles have little chances of getting anything until next week; when they faced the Courts Young Lions. 2-0 to the Warriors

TV deal not yet finalised

Fans wishing to catch S-league LIVE matches will have to wait a while longer as the media report that a deal have to be finalised.

Negotiations are still ongoing between FAS and last season broadcaster Starhub.

FAS is unable to say anything other than negotiations are ongoing and they will make an announcement when a deal is done.

As for Starhub, it was noted that they are still interested to show S-league matches on their network but is unable to confirm if that will be the case yet.

Singapore vs Yemen Olympic qualifier postponed

AFC have announced the Olympic qualifier between Singapore and Yemen have been postponed by a week.

They will make a decision whether to host the match at Yemen within the next few days as they observe the situation at Yemen.

Yemen have been hit by violent protest between the security forces and demonstrators for over 10 days now with demands for the President to step down.

Transfer - February

Transfer - January
Transfer - December
Transfer - November

'Better' than Mendy

Standing at 1.93-metres, Jonathan Justin is a towering teenager.

Reigning S-League champions Etoile FC are counting on the 19-year-old’s goals as they attempt to defend their title this season.

He played in France’s lower leagues, turning for Auch, a small club in Toulouse, before signing for Etoile.

Etoile chairman Johan Gouttefangeas rates him better than the club’s top scorer last year, Frederic Mendy, who bagged 21 goals.

Justin notched eight goals in 12 matches for Auch last year and 11 in 15 in the 2009 season.

“I know it is difficult but my objective is to be better than Mendy,” said the youngster, who moved to France from Mauritius when he was nine.

“I can’t say what my future as a footballer will be like, but I intend to stay here for at least two years."

Eagles set to unveil Argentinian

The media have reported Geylang United is ready to sign Argentinian striker Ivan Fergonzi.

He will be available for the clash with SAFFC if he passes his Beep Test by then.

The Eagles attack have been badly blunted since the departure of last season top scorer Peter Tomko and last week defeat to Champions Etoile FC showcased that as the Eagles were unable to show any potency against their defence.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

S-league 2011 Guidebook is out

The 2011 S-league guidebook printed by Singapore Pools is out

It is free and available at all Singapore Pools outlets.

Here is a scan of the 2011 S-league guidebook  

Stags held to draw by Bulls

Gombak United managed to hold Charity Shield champions Tampines Rovers to a 1-1 at the Jurong West Stadium.

The Stags will be the disappointed of the two as the Bulls, despite being the home team, was more than content to defend for much of the game.

It was the fashion the Bulls had used to build their previous few campaign and it looked this season it is no different despite claims they will be more attacking minded.

That was why the Stags had to score first to force the Bulls out and that was what happen as Park Yo Seb score the opener for the Tampines side.

But the Bulls got themselves back into the game before the half-time as another Korean Park Kang Jin scored this time from the spot.

Quite why the referee thought it was a spotkick is an answer only the referee can answer but it was undeserved and the Stags will have been very disappointed.

With the score level now, the Bulls was willing to come out in the second period doing what they did in the first which was to sit back and wait for the Stags to break them down.

This time there was to be no breakthrough and the Stags have paid for the referee decision in the first period.

Now they have to defeat the Cheetah in the next match to get their season off the road.

Gombak United
Zakariah Nerani  (GK), Jaslee Hatta (C), Jeremy Chiang, Obadin Aikhena, Walid Lounis, Hamqaamal Shah, Tengku Mushadad, Ridhwan Jamaludin (Shafuan Sutohmoh), Chang Jo Yoon (Kwon Jin Sung), Zulkiffli Hassim (Ruhaizad Ismail), Park Kang Jin

Tampines Rovers
Hassan Sunny (GK), Benoit Croissant, Seiji Kaneko, Ahmad Latiff (Ahmed Fahime), Akihiro Nakamura, Shahdan Sulaiman, Imran Sahib, Ismadi Mukhtar, Park Yo Seb, Shukor Zailan (Jamil Ali), Aleksandar Duric (C)

Champions open their season with win

It was not easy on the eye but the champions was more than delighted with their win against Geylang United at the Bedok Stadium.

Quite frankly, the Eagles were no threat to the Champions throughout the game and once the champions took the lead it was a matter of whether they will go on to score another, not if the Eagles will come back into the game.

That was why the first goal was crucial and the champions got it as Maxime Belouet floated a freekick pass Yazid Yasin 5 minutes before half-time.

Then before the half-time whistle, Selim Kaabi scored the Queentown side second goal and that was it.

The champions came out in the second period happy with their efforts and kept themselves playing at their own pace and no wonder for the Eagles could just not fashion anything to threaten them.

The Eagles may believed they have a good enough forward line with Masrezwan Masturi, Rizawan Abdullah and Hafiz Rahim all upfront but on this showing, it is clear they need real firepower and urgently as they are not likely to hurt anybody with that feeble attack.

Geylang United  
Yazid Yasin (GK) (C), Sofiyan Abdul Hamid, Jonathan Xu (Hassan Aziz), Joo Ki Hwan, Vasile Ghindaru, Kim Jae Hong, Syed Fadhil, Adrian Dhanaraj, Masrezwan Masturi, Rizawan Abdullah (Yasir Hanapi), Hafiz Rahim

White Swans crushed Jaguars

The White Swans opened their 2011 season in emphatic fashion as they crushed Tanjong Pagar United 5-0 at the Jurong East Stadium.

In the process, they also did something they failed to do in 2010 which was claimed 3 points on their home soil.

And it was well deserved as the Jaguars were never in the game from the word go and it showcased the gap which the returning S-league club will have to progress in the months ahead to catch up.

Unfortunately, with their core of players make up of mainly Under 21 players, it is unwilling they can achieved that even by the end of the season as Jaguars head coach Terry Pathmanathan admitted frankly this game had already seem their best effort.

That was why he was still proud of them even with the outcome and he warned the club supporters they may see such scoreline again.

Shotaro Ihata had opened the White Swans with Yosuke Saito getting a brace. Keisuke Matsui and Musashi Okuyama score the other Albirex Niigata (S) goals.

Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Khairul Solyhin (Ashwin Tiwari), Arisman Arman, Delwinder Singh, Kim Jong Oh, Hyun Jong Woon, Kim Seong Kyu (C), Takaya Kawanabe, Gary Loo (Sudhershen Hariam), Abdul Rahman, Shamil Sharif (Patrick Paran)

Gombak United vs Tampines Rovers moved to Jurong West Stadium

S-league have announced the match between Gombak United vs Tampines Rovers will be played at the Jurong West stadium.

The original venue of the match was Jalan Besar Stadium.

As a goodwill gesture due to the late venue change, Gombak United have announced that this match will be ‘free entry’ for all.

Tigers hold out against Protectors

Title Favourite Home United saw Balestier Khalsa hold them to a 1-1 draw at the Toa Poyah Stadium.

The Protectors took the lead after 20 minutes as new Korean signing Kim Dae Eui centre the ball into the box that Sufian finished wonderfully.

It was more than the Protectors deserved as they had totally dominated the game up to that point but from that point on, it was a disappointment as they appeared to have lost their way.

Especially after the Tigers score as Korean Lim Young Woo rose highest to head in a freekick from K. Vikraman.

As blogger switch play explained, the Protectors make a lot tactic changes in the game as it progress shifting from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 and back again and one wonder if it was too much changes for it own good.

That was why coach Paul Lee later told the media he will take responsibility for the disappointing draw.

Balestier Khalsa 
Joey Sim (GK), Lim Young Woo (Amirrul Kamal), Paul Cunningham (C), K Sathiaraj, Fariss Haiqel Hamran, Armanizam Dolah, K Vikraman, Poh Yi Feng, Andrew Tan, Vitor Borges, Kim Young Kwang(Nurhilmi Jasni)

Home United
Lionel Lewis (GK), Juma'at JantanValery Hiek, Rosman Sulaiman (Firdaus Kasman), Abdil Qaiyyim (Zulkifli Suzliman), Shi Jiayi (C), Nor Azli Yusoff, Isa Halim (Asraf Rashid), Kim Dae Eui, Frederic Mendy, Sufian Anuar

Cheetah score late win

With a new name, mascot and outlook, Hougang United were hoping for a good start and they got it as they snatched a 1-0 win against Woodlands Wellington.

Despite the win, the Cheetah were outplayed for period of the game and it must be worrying as the Rams are among the weakest in the league this season.

Indeed, the Rams did so well against the Hougang side that coach R. Balasubramaniam believed it should have been them who would have got the winner if their UK defender Graham Tatters had not been send off.

The 26-year-old got his marching orders after a tackle inside the penalty area that referee Sukhbir Singh adjudged a foul and as it was committed by the last defender, it meant it was a professional foul which automatically mean a red card.

That was the turning point in the game even as the Cheetah will miss the resulting spotkick.

The home side now manages to pass the ball with better precision as the numerical advantage started to count.

But there was no goal to show for it until near the end as Mamadou Diallo headed in the ball as he was left unmarked in the box and no doubt R. Balasubramaniam will believe Tatters will have been there if he was not send off 

Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK) (C), Fumiya Kobayashi, Ratna Suffian, Syaqir Sulaiman, Fazli Jaffar, Duncan Elias (Sobrie Mazelan), Carlos Delgado, Noor Ali (Basit Hamid), Azhar Sairudin, Diego Oliviera, Mamadou Diallo (Emmeric Ong)

Woodlands Wellington 
Amos Boon (GK), Adrian Butters, Sahairi Ramri, Munier Raychouni, Madhu Mohana, Ali Imran Lomri, Graham Tatters, Nigel Vanu (Goh Swee Swee), Sazali Salleh (C), Shahri Musa (Syed Karim), Leonardo Alexio

Debutants give Warriors opening win

Debutant Fazrul Nawaz and Mislav Karoglan both score to give the Warriors an opening 2-0 win against the Courts Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
If the attackers had done their job so have the defence as the new centreback partnership of Bah Mamadou and Daniel Hammond, with Dainel Benett suspended, looked rock-solid throughout the ninety minutes.

That is why with Daniel Bennett coming back for the next game, Bok admitted picking his starting backline would be an interesting headache for him.

But in attack, the Croatian Karoglan looked like he will always be the first name there as he impressed greatly with only a goal but also his overall play.

Karoglan had a huge role to play in initiating the season first goal.

Finding himself surrounded by two defenders, some clever thinking saw the Croat’s reverse pass on the left flank find an opening for Japanese winger Taisuke Akiyoshi.

Akiyoshi promptly found himself an abundance of space to float in a beautiful cross into the middle for Fazrul, who produced a downward header that bounced off the ground and beyond the reach of Izwan Mahbud in the Young Lions goal.

The goal repaid Bok’s faith in starting the national team forward, who had been showing fine form in pre-season after moving from Gombak United in the off-season.

Fazrul was to reveal later that the goal was meant for his new-born as his wife gave birth to their second child only hours earlier before the game and he had only a few hours of sleep.

There was also why Frazul was taken off on the second period with the game looking safe.

Still, there was no escaping the game belong to Karoglan as he put the Warriors 2-0 up in eye-catching style.

Again it was the left flank that produced the goods, Akiyoshi’s reverse pass setting up Shaiful Esah on the byeline, and the back pulled back for Indra, who looked odds-on to score from six yards out.

Somehow a Young Lions defender showed the bravery to block the effort, but the loose ball fell to Karoglan, who produced an acrobatic overhead kick that sent the leather into the bottom right corner.

If the Croatian continue to play like this, the Warriors will surely be looking to extend his contract come June.

Courts Young Lions
Izwan Mahbud (GK), Afiq Yunos (C), Irwan Shah, Shakir Hamzah, Faritz Abdul Hameed (Al-Qaasimy Abdul Rahman), Zulfahmi Arifin (Fazli Ayob), Izzdin Shafiq, Raihan Abdul Rahman, Nazrul Ahmad Nazari, Shahfiq Ghani, Eugene Luo (Safirul Sulaiman)

Shahril Jantan (GK) (C), Shaiful Esah, Razaleigh Khalik, Bah Mamadou, Daniel Hammond, Rhysh Roshan Rai, Noh Rahman, Mustaqim Manzur (Ruzaini Zainal), Mislav Karoglan (Ivan Jerkovic), Fazrul Nawaz (Indra Sahdan), Taisuke Akiyoshi

New players are hungry

They say do not mess with a winning formula but Etoile FC chairman chairman Johan Gouttefangeas believes his team will be the better for it.

The reigning Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League champions is a much changed side from the team that became the first foreign side to lift the title.

There are 15 new faces on the playing roster of the French club and coach Guglielmo Arena the first Italian that will feature in the S-League.

“I brought in new players who are hungrier and want to be part of the club,” said Gouttefangeas, who revealed a number of players from last season’s squad were no longer keen to play here and had other plans. “They are very talented and come from everywhere. That is why it took me so long to get the whole team together."

Gouttefangeas also believes he has found an even better striker than Frederic Mendy, last season’s top scorer who left to join Home United.

Said the Etoile chief: “I know everyone is waiting for a new Mendy, so I have someone better than him now, Jonathan Justin. He is only 19 but for me he is better and more complete than Mendy in every aspect.”

Gouttefangeas is confident his newlook team will challenge for the title again.

“If you know me, you will know what I am here for. The reason why I brought in new players for this season is to make sure they are hungry,” he said.

“It is the same like last year, when they were eager to prove that even though they came from a lower division, they had what it takes to become good professionals in Asia.”

Local lads can do it

While the S-league season have started, Geylang United have admitted they have yet to get their foreign forward.

They have rejected all the trailists they have used in their friendly games as coach Mike Wong do not believed they are good enough. (which of course lead me to wonder why was Peter Tomko asked to leave then!!!)

Therefore they will start the 2011 season with just their local forwards and Mike Wong believed the local lads will prove just as capable as any foreigner.

He noted Masrezwan Masturi was an international, Rizawan Abdullah was called up to the Asian Games and Hafiz Rahim had proven himself in the S-league on a consistent basis.

But the Bedok club will also noted they will continue to look for their foreign forward.

Friday, February 11, 2011

S-league Preview I

Sat 12-Feb Courts Young Lions - Singapore Armed Forces (JBS) *
Mon 14-Feb Hougang United - Woodlands Wellington (HG)
Tue 15-Feb Balestier Khalsa - Home United (TPY)
Wed 16-Feb Albirex Niigata (S) - TPUFC (JE)
Thu 17-Feb Geylang United - Etoile FC (BDK)
Fri 18-Feb Gombak United -Tampines Rovers (JBS)

* Early kick off at 5 pm

The Warriors are favourite but due to the fact this is a 5pm kickoff, I am not convinced any victory will be convincing as the weather recently have turned brutally warm. Yes, the Warriors have played friendly matches at such time slot but in those matches there is no need to go for the kill. Now it is a different matter and all eye will be on the new marksman Mislav Karogla. 1-0 to the Warriors 

Hougang United vs Woodlands Wellington
How times have changed. In years gone by, the Rams will be the favourite but now, they will be happy to walk away with a point from this encounter. The Cheetahs may have a good pre-season but it mean nothing if they do not win this first match of the season. 2-1 to the home side

Balestier Khalsa vs Home United
The Protectors will be under the microscope if they do not walk away from Toa Poyah with all 3 points. No excuse even if it is the first match of the season as the Tigers have been weakened considerably having lose their skipper and top scorer. The new players will need time to adjust as they are new to the league and country but no such problems for Home's players. 2-0 to Home United

Albirex Niigata (S) vs TPUFC 
The White Swans claimed they want the 2011 S-league title then it mean they must win matches and for the first match of the season, there is no better team to meet. If they cannot win this one then even fewer will believe their words about winning anything this season. 2-0 to the White Swans

Geylang United vs Etoile FC 
Eagles head coach Mike Wong say he will adopt a more attacking stance this season but hold your horses for who will be leading the attack. Drawing a blank, right. I rather believed my eyes when I see the Eagles bringing the ball into the opponent box as attacking football is hardly Mike Wong trademark. Until then, the champions should be favourite but as the team have yet to gel and is still adjusting to Singapore weather. A draw should suit both. 1-1 draw

Gombak United vs Tampines Rovers 
This is a match the Stags should win as the Bulls are now much weaker than a year ago. Until it can be proved their new Korean forward is indeed that good to replace Agu, I rather believed in Duric. He is still good enough to get goals against the likes of Bulls and that is good enough for me. 2-0 to the Charity Shield champions

Tampines Rovers win 2011 Charity Shield

2011 - In Aid of S-league adopted Charity
2010 - In Aid of Dollah Kassim
2009 - In Aid of S. Anthonysamy
2008 - In Aid of S-league adopted Charity

Etoile FC 1-2 Tampines Rovers

Scorer:  Maxime Belouet (Pen 12') / Aleksandar Duric (85') Park Yo Seb (89') 

Tampines Rovers
  • Hassan Sunny
  • Zahid Ahmad (Taufiq Rahmat)
  • Benoit Croissant
  • Seiji Kaneko
  • Ahmad Latiff (Shukor Zailan)
  • Akihiro Nakamura
  • Shahdan Sulaiman
  • Imran Sahib
  • Park Yo Seb
  • Aliff Shafaein (Jamil Ali)
  • Aleksandar Duric (C)

Bulls are not finished yet

They have lost key players before the big kick-off to the 2011 Great-Eastern-Yeo’s S-League.

Yet ahead of the opening bell this season, Gombak United head coach Darren Stewart believed the Bulls are not finished yet as some of the critics are claiming.

While he admit it will be another year of rebuilding for the Bulls, he believed the Bulls can still do well as they have retained 65% of their squad.

The Aussie said: “Top-three is not a practical target because we are rebuilding the squad. We are better team than last year and it is our job now to debunk talk we are finished as a side because we’ve
managed to put a decent squad together.”

Nigerian defender Obadin Aikhena agreed with his head coach as he acknowledged his defence partnership with Walid Lounis will be crucial to the Bulls rebuilding effort.

And he indicate both are on their way to building that partnership as they are better with each passing day.

That is why the Bulls could once again be the team to look for (outside the championship contenders)

Jaguars confirmed final two koreans

Tanjong Pagar United have confirmed their foreigners for the 2011 season.

They are Korean Kim Seong Kyu and Japanese Takaya Kawanabe and now include Koreans Kim Jong Oh (21) and Hyun Jong Woon (22).

Bulls add another Korean

Gombak United who have retained three of their four foreign signings - Midfielder Park Kang Jin and striker Chang Jo Yoon (both Koreans) and Nigerian defender Obadin Aikhena - from last year has added another South Korean, Kwon Jinsung.

Kwon Jinsung play in the striker role.

It is a role the Bulls need as they have lost their top two goal scorer of last season with Agu Casmir moving to Indonesian Super League side Persija Jakarta and Frazul Nawaz joining SAFFC.

That is why much will be expected of the 1.85-metre tall Kwon who has impressed Gombak United chairman John Yap.

“I was impressed with his strength and skill when we were trying him out last month and I think he can play a key role in rebuilding the team.”

Bulls new central partnership

Gombak United have signed ex-Eagles defender Walid Lounis.

The former Tunisian and now Singaporean player is expected to partner Nigerian defender Obadin Aikhena in central defence after the club saw the departure of the likes of Jaslee Hatta and Bah Mamadou.

It will be crucial both develop a partnership fast as the Bulls have always build their team on having a tough defence that is difficult to break down so that they can grind out results.

Jaguars go for Asian flavour

The returning Jaguars have admitted they are ready for the challenges ahead

After all, the gulf between the Jaguars and the other 11 S-league clubs is expected to be significant,
To aid them for the tough road ahead, they are going Asian as all their 4 foreigners are from East Asia with 3 Koreans and 1 Japanese.

The most recognisable would be former Super Reds fullback Kim Seong Kyu, who was out of action for most of last year due to injury when in the Young Lions squad.

He joins 22-year-old Takaya Kawanabe from J-League Division One club Omiya Ardija, while another two South Koreans ready to come onboard once they pass the Beep Test.

Head coach Terry Pathmanathan also believed the local lads will have a role to play as he is gratified by the way the whole team has been working so well as a unit, despite any shortcomings in technical acumen the homegrown players may display.

The former Young Lions assistant coach was also quick to point out that everyone in the squad lacked nothing in drive or enthusiasm.

“The local players approached me to join the team, not the other way around, and their commitment and work ethic have really impressed me,” he said.

“They are showing a lot of determination and even though some have only previously played in the National Football League or the Prime League, or in inter-varsity football, their attitude has been second to none.

“I have always enjoyed the challenge of assembling a new team from scratch. I’ve done it many times before, so this is nothing new for me.

“I enjoy looking at the new faces every year, it’s a good experience for me,” he smiled.

“I am sure that these players will go out and compete in every game. In fact, if any of these boys do well enough to get a move to a bigger club at the end of the season, I can tell them now they have my blessings as they have earned it.”

White Swans belived this season will be it

Clearly inspired by French side Etoile FC, Albirex Niigata (S) believed this season will be the one where they break the duck and win trophies.

And they are aiming for the biggest one, the S-league crown.

Head coach Koichi Sugiyama, who is retained in his post for his second season in Singapore, declared that goal to the press.

“This year, we aim to become champions,” he declared at the club’s official press conference at Jalan Besar Stadium.

“I have the responsibility to take the team to the top.

“Last year, we learnt many things, and I hope I am able to use my experience from 2010 to help them win this year.”

Their biggest problem last season was a chronic inability to convert their chances into goals, something Sugiyama acknowledged and had worked hard to rectify in the close season.

“It was not just the attackers’ fault for us not being able to score so many last year,” he added.

“Our defence also had a part to play for this. Thus, I had worked very hard to develop new plans and tactics for the team in 2011.”

Hoping to boost the offence alongside 2010 club top scorer Inui and Castanheira are forwards Yosuke Saito and Shotaro Ihata, who hail from Yokohama F-Marinos and Roasso Kumamoto respectively.

Rams not in the S-league to make up numbers

New Woodlands Wellington coach R.Balasubramaniam, who took over the coaching reins from A. Shasi Kumar, believed the Northern club is not in the S-league to make up the number and they will proved themselves worthy.

This come after the Rams worst season in history with them rooted to the bottom of the table and winning only 3 of their matches in the league.

R. Balasubramaniam stress the magnitude of the northern outfit’s sweeping changes since then; from the club management all the way to the coaching and playing staff.

“We have a new management, coaches and players this season, so we hope the public would give us time to develop and improve ourselves,” said the 37-year-old.

“Our visions of the club for this season are to improve our performances in the S.League, as well as for the Woodlands players to be more involved in community work.”

Only five players were retained from last season ill-fated campaign and the quintet are fullback Sahairi Ramri, midfielders Shahri Musa and Syed Karim, utility man Azlan Alipah and new skipper Sazali Salleh.

And the club have make additions whom he believed will strengthen the team as they signed Jalal, from the Bulls, Goh Swee Swee and Han Yiguang, from the Tigers and most importantly their new foreigners - Brazilian forward Leonardo Alexio da Costa, Lebanese defender Munier Raychouni, UK defender Graham Tatters and Canadian defender Adrian Butters - acquisitions.

He believed they are a class above last season batch.

Vitor return to Tigers fold

Brazilian forward Vitor Borges de Souza have re-signed with Balestier Khalsa for the new season.

The Toa Poyah club had been looking for a forward since releasing him and fellow Brazilian Rivaldo at the end of the 2010 campaign.

However, the Tigers management have admitted none of the trialists have impressed them and that is why they have decided Vitor is 'better' than all other choices.

It was make easy by the fact the 22-year-old was also equally happy to come back as he admitted he like the lifestyle here after the few months he spend in Indonesia playing in the Liga Premier League.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

S-league seed money increase by 30%-40%

FAS have increased the S-league money by 30%-40% for the clubs for the 2011 season.

So local clubs should received S$650k min this season but after deducting the SSC fees and everything else, and based on the figures provided by Balestier Khalsa weeks ago, there should be no more than S$370k left for most clubs; provided SSC does not increase fees again.   

Let be positive and say it is a reboot but let be honest as well and say that it will help more that after all that, the money should have been more than 1996, the year S-league started, seed money of $400k after everything else.

However, like I noted before it is a long process - meaning decades - for the league to build up so if the money trail stalled again after this year then I see little point celebrating as it will be the year 2000 once more.

The work is only starting and S$650k should be seem as a start and not the end.

Rams foreigners for 2011

Here are the list of foreigners Woodlands Wellington have signed for the 2011 season.
  1. Brazilian forward Leonardo Alexio da Costa 
  2. Lebanese defender Munier Raychouni 
  3. UK defender Graham Tatters
  4. Canadian defender Adrian Butters
Lebanese defender Munier Raychouni is arguably their most exotic signing as he is a Lebanon Under-21 international with four caps and set to be included for their Olympic team (U23 team).

Brazilian forward Leonardo Alexio da Costa also have a good resume as he won promotion for his Ukrainian club, FC Volyn, to the first division and he is described as the 'tallest' player in the S-league at over 2m by his coach.

Adrian Butters joins from Canadian side Toronto Lynx SC and Scotsman Graham Tatters moves from FC Tampa Bay in Florida.

FMI & TSI place 3 quality players in S-League

We are pleased to announce that the following players were placed by our company in the S-League for the 2011 season:

(i) Lim Young Woo at Balestier Khalsa
(ii) Graham Tatters at Woodlands Wellington
(iii) Mounier Raychouni at Woodlands Wellington

Young Woo & Tatters were invited for last November's FAS foreign player centralised trials and were the only 2 players placed from the 19 players showcased.

Young Woo dwells from K-League giants, Suwon Bluewings while Graham Tatters (Graham Tatters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) made S-League history by becoming the first player to be placed from the North American Soccer League (one tier below Major League Soccer).

Mounier is a Lebanese U-21 international and is on the verge of a call-up to the Lebanese pre-Olympic qualifiying squad for London 2012.

We will like to wish our players great success for the upcoming season!

Warm Regards,
Bryan Lim
Sporting Director
Football Management International & Trebol Sports International

Cheetah complete foreign quotas

Cheetah have complete their foreign quotas after signing Japanese defender Fumiya Kobayashi from Albirex Niigata (S).

With that, their foreigners in the S-league squad are Argentine midfielder Carlos Alberto Delgado, Brazilian forward Diego Gama de Oliveira and Canadian winger Jordan Webb.

Mamadou Diallo have been registered in their Prime League squad.