Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dream 2014 @ New Kallang

Simple.

That I will be a part of a full capacity regularly doing a BOISTEROUS Rendition of Majulah Singapura sang with true passion when a TRUE RED-BLOODED Team Lions play each football game at the new Kallang in time to come.

Actually I won't mind a decent crowd, as long at magical atmosphere that is created by a singing crowd is there.

THE POWER OF NATIONAL ANTHEM

It might be the musical instruments involved.

But singing a country's national anthem together with a passionate crowd in a large capacity ground simply gives me goosebumps.

Nothing beats it i think, not even singing the Barcelona himne or Inno Milan at Camp Nou or San Siro. Even if it was against Real or Inter. Nothing.

Lets hope really, one day, we can do a better performance then how our neighbours do their Negaraku and Indonesia Raya.

In fact, the tunes of their national anthems are already well drilled in my mind, except for the lyrics. Even the French and Italian tunes are pretty nice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfyQT0BhJ1s (Bukit Jalil, 2010)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0PVvpZcWmI ( Bung Karno, 2007)

Untuk Bangsa dan Negara!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I am not a traitor December. Majulah Singapura!

1) Well done Malaysia, we see the determination of the Tigers and the organisation and discipline instilled by K.Rajagopal. Too bad I didnt back them as I did in last year's SEA Games after I thought the missing players would affect them. Even in group stages, I felt Norhsharul and Safee are already the deadliest duo in SEA. They proved it further in knock out phases and can walk straight into the SEA Best XI. By the way, i somehow have a soft spot of national anthems and Negaraku is one of them.

2) Somehow I am not angry with Leonardo's appointment at Inter. Actually I think Moratti has made a smart move. He was instrumental in extending Milan's attacking play last season. Think he will fine tune Inter into a better offensive unit. Defensively they are no slouch just that The Wall's injury has caused a hole currently plugged by Cordoba whos decent. But hopefully Leo will still show respect to Allegri's team. Forza Milan!

3) 2010 S.league XI

Fadhil Salim (consider his defence is not of the top teams standard)

V. Hiek
Kenji Arai (stabilised team’s defence with his leadership in midseason)
Paul Cunningham

C. Bagnost (toss up between Bagnost or Yann, but Cyril seemed to cover more ground for me)
K. Boudjema
Imran Sahib (looks like for than one named him in their squad, so how Raddy?)
Chun Jae Woon
(A former Korean youth international, this mid-season signing showed his class in Home’s resurgence. A simple effective ball player with no fancy frills, Chun brought memories of former midfield maestros Vlado Bozinoski and Zsolt Bucs back to the league. A set-piece specialist adept with either foot, one of his classic attempts proved a decisive assist in Home’s 1-0 win against Etoile in September. The fact that some teams had to man-mark him in midfield speaks volumes of his influence)

Shahril Ishak

Mamadou Diallo(nifty footwork to kill any defence, but finishing still raw, to be improved)
F. Mendy

Hope all players raise their game for 2011! Oh it gotta be better, for everybodys' sake, especially Zai's head!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Prodigal Son of Lion City speaks up

It's time for Raddy to go

Former national star Ahmad Latiff opens up on the Lions, coach Raddy Avramovic and the recent criticism of the ISL

BEFORE Ahmad Latiff spoke on the subject of the national team and its current under-fire coach, he made sure to set the record straight:

'My disagreements with Raddy (Avramovic) aside, he's a good coach. He's won two Tiger Cups and brought fame and recognition to the national team.

'But after what happened at the AFF (Suzuki) Cup, why are all the other coaches saying he shouldn't go?

'When you know something is wrong, why don't you change it?'
Latiff, who recently signed a two-year contract with Tampines Rovers, has never been one to mince his words.

Once touted as the bad boy of Singapore football, the 31-year-old has had his share of falling-outs throughout his 14-year career - most significantly, the bust-up with Avramovic in 2006.

Latiff was dropped from the national team for swearing at Avramovic when he substituted him in a match against Iraq after just 25 minutes.

Immediately after the incident, the coach said he would never pick Latiff for the national team again, and has since kept his word.

Latiff has his side of the story of course, and while he never explicitly said that he regretted the incident, he still wants to play for Singapore, in the belief that he could still contribute to the team.

'Sometimes I think of calling Raddy, and asking him to let bygones be bygones, but I just can't do it.

'My (SAFFC) coach Richard Bok has also asked him about picking me, but maybe Raddy has his ego also.'

For now at least, Latiff finds himself in the viewer and critic's chair. And he sees many things amiss with the national team and local football on the whole.

Referring back to The New Paper article on how most coaches here insist Avramovic should stay, he said: 'All those coaches who said that are inside FAS (Football Association of Singapore).

'The only one who said he should go is Tohari Paijan, who is not under FAS. Think about it.

Young talent
'I just feel that somebody should speak up. I mean, how can he (Avramovic) say there are no talented young players here? If you don't try (new players), you will never know.'

Latiff also questioned the coach's decision to play defender Safuwan Baharudin in midfield during the AFF tournament when he had natural midfielders like Isa Halim in the squad.

He said: 'I was surprised to see the same players again. What's the point of having all those training tours and trying out so many new players when you still choose the same team in the end?

'It's not that those players are not good, but you also have to see who really wants to play.
'The problem is that some players have been in the team too long, and they have a tendency to think that the coach will always pick them.

'Even when they show up late, they get fined but nothing else happens - they still get chosen in the end.'

Having played in the Indonesian Super League (ISL) in 2001, Latiff also shared his opinions on whether the ISL clubs' sub-standard training regimes affected the players' (eight of them) fitness heading into the AFF tournament.

'Training over there is not standardised. There is no proper equipment or a gym and I don't think the club trainers are too advanced.

'But the travelling part is what really affects the players. The arrangements are not very proper.
'Once, we travelled a whole day on a ship because the club could not get a flight.'

But Latiff refused to say if the standard of football in the ISL was higher than the S-League.
Instead, he raised question marks over the recent trend of local players moving there.

He said: 'Indonesian clubs now have this Asean quota to meet. Singaporean players are cheaper than the other countries.

'If the clubs didn't have this quota, do you think they will look at our players? I don't think so.
'But our players should get better playing there. They play in front of a bigger crowd and under bigger expectations, because they are there as foreign players.

'Whether they bring that (improvement) to the national team is up to them. Everyone can demand 110 per cent from them, but there's no point if they don't want to give it.

'And this is what the coach must see. You can't just select the players with names and who play overseas - you have to choose the ones who really want to play.'


Credits TNP article by Ali Akbar Kasim, Image by Jovan Lim (soccerofsingapore.blogspot.com)


Friday, December 10, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

100 Goals Award: Mohd Noor Ali - The ever smiling joker of the pack

Recapturing S.League everpresent Mohd Noor Ali's 15 year stint in our local league which cumulated in his 100 goal achievement in 2010.


Geylang United: 2000-2004
Champion in 2001


Geylang United: 2008-2009

Champion: RHB Singapore Cup 2009

Two S-League titles & 1 Singapore Cup with SAFFC (2005-2007)

Winner of Tiger Cup 1998





We often hear that a hardworking man will be bound to get his due reward. On S-League Awards Night 2010, a man who has given almost all his playing career to the S-League since its inception - Mohd Noor Ali, finally got his dues.

“It is always a dream for a player to come to Awards Night and receive an award. It is something that I have been looking forward to and it is nice to get it exactly at the age right now”, he beamed.

Then in his usual tongue-in-cheek style, he added, “I definitely can’t wait another 14 years to score another 100 goals right?”

Despite a paltry return of just three goals this season in all competition, the evergreen attacker was helped by his work in his earlier years as he became the tenth player to join an exclusive club of names who have notched 100 goals in the local game.

Noor Ali started out as a raw winger on the roster of Tampines Rovers when the league was formed in 1996. Impressive performances in the following seasons for the Stags earned him his international break which hit a high when he was part of the Tiger Cup winning squad of 1998. In 2000, eastern giants Geylang United came calling and along with his best friend Azhar Baksin, Noor Ali made the switch to Bedok.

A year later, with the Eagles under the tutelage of Malaysian Cup stalwart Jang Jung, Noor Ali clinched his first S-League medal as Geylang finally broke the stranglehold of the uniformed groups that year.

It proved to be his only piece of silverware at club level before his SAFFC stint between 2005-2007. Along the way, he also suffered a low when he was suspended for the entire 2003 season due to breaking of the players’ conduct rulebooks.

However, the man came back hungrier and with a point to prove, he raised his performances as he captained SAFFC to two more titles and a Singapore Cup trophy. Noor Ali then spent his next two seasons back at Bedok where he clinched another RHB Singapore Cup in 2009 before heading north to Woodlands for this recently concluded campaign.

Revisiting his goalscoring exploits in the earlier seasons, the man was adamant that it was his first stint with the Eagles which ultimately led him to this award.

“The best period for me was during my time at Geylang. That was the time where I scored a lot of goals, between 2000 and 2004”, Noor Ali said.

Over the years, we have seen less of his aggressive nature on the field that was common in his younger days. Perhaps married life and the captain’s armband has calmed him down more. Nowadays, Noor Ali is always seen as an easy going personality, the joker among the pack.

“I am always happy wherever I go, even at Woodlands now”, he quipped.

“After I came from my suspension up till now, I have keep on been winning things. I really have to thank all my family who have been supporting me”. Indeed family is always a word the man has on his mouth in recent years when the media reflects on his good performances.

As to upcoming plans for him, Noor Ali said, “Actually I can retire now, but I don’t intend to, as long as I can pass my Beep test”.

Unable to curb his itch for a dig at his good friend who stepped into the media zone, he exclaimed, “If Aleksander Duric can play till forty with his i/c (identification certification) change, I will try to play on!”

“But if there was an award for 600 misses, Aleks would have won it by now. He should have won the top scorer award if not for that”, Noor Ali chuckled.

“He is one player that we always look forward for motivation. It is an honour for me to go up on the same stage as him.”

Upcoming plans

On a more serious note, Noor Ali expressed his desire to continue in the game after his eventual retirement.

“I am doing my ‘A’ licence in March. But not too fast as I still want to enjoy the S-League.”

At the moment, he is keeping his options open to new offers and indicated that a player-assistant coach role would also suite him fine as it would be a good opportunity to learn the management side of the game.

“I am happy when I see the younger ones coming up and do well. I hope to pass on my knowledge and experience to the younger ones”.

National team

When quizzed whether his had regrets about not making more appearances for the national team, Noor Ali replied confidently, “I have no regrets in whatever I do. I quit the national team in 2005, I am happy that they are doing well and winning things. At that time, there were also a lot of young players coming in, which was a fantastic thing.”

“I have done my part for national team. I have played in the SEA Games, played and won the Tiger Cup. So right now it is time for me to pass down all my knowledge.”

Expect to see more of this wily veteran attacker for a couple of more years to come. With players sorting out their contracts in the coming weeks, would anyone dare to rule out a return to Tampines for a final Noor Ali-Duric combo in the 2011 season?

If you get another chance ,dun waste it ALIFF!


I hope the recent incident on Cup Final morning can wake Aliff up. Just have this feeling perhaps the Stags will give him one final chance to wake up his idea, especially if they cant add on quality players. If Aliff is desperate, punish him with a lower fixed package but with add-ons if he changes for the better. If not, based on tactics, I would want to see him at Geylang playing the in the 'hole'. Coach Mike, Lieutenant Lim & General Seak have the potential to whip him into shape.

"The Little Master" definitely is talented, the pictures which i went to dig my magazines dates back to a 1995 street soccer tournament when he was selected to represent Singapore in Berlin and impressed the contestants there as well.
This was a player whom Jita Singh roped into his Police FC in the inaugural S.League season for his junior team at the age of 14 along with two 16 yr old Indra & Ahmad Latiff.

Aliff,
I think many of u hope to see u back on the pitch soon, a changed man. Don't let us down. I hope these recollection of images can spur you on to focus on doing what u do best, playing good football, entertaining fans while staying out of trouble.

Your fan
(to readers of this article, if u can get the man to read this piece, pls do so as a favour to me. Thanks.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Room for improvement, Etoile FC

First, congrats to Etoile and their fans on clinching the league title.

I know many in the local football fratenity would have preferred a local team to win it, myself included. I can understand their allegiance since we are Singaporeans and this is our league. The only thing I am disappointed is that the $100,000 prize money is not kept within a local club for bonuses or improving its finances.

Etoile have brought a new brand of football to the local league and challenged the teams here to do better, which is great for the league on the whole. If this allows local clubs, league/FAS top managment to crack the whip and strive harder to improve, I am sure local fans would gladly give up the 2010 SLeague trophy to Etoile.

Now to the not so nice things.

Why do Singapore football followers generally dislike Etoile so much as it seems?

(This section is really for Etoile fans, players, Johan, Patrick and now Jorg. I am not throwing cold water at your celebrations. But to seek your cooperation in improving our league)

From the start, it is easy to say bcos Etoile have been winning games, beating teams that we support, thats why we dislike you. This is definitely not true, at least for me.

To me, there is 1 CLEAR REASON why Etoile have not gathered the respect of Singapore fans and followers like Albirex have done.

Its the behaviour of players and coach.

So much that Etoile's football in general is impressive, there have too many an incident of dissent happening on the pitch and off the pitch.

Yes, refereeing standards sometimes, or most time sucks. But all teams suffer from it, not just you. I am not sure if its the language issues, but I doubt so when I watch Etoile games.

Recall the 1-1 with Tampines in March or April at Tampines Stadium. Etoile spent much time chasing the game after going down to sublime Qiu Li freekick. In the process of it, I saw players losing their heads, overly rough tackles and a ball boy getting f***** literally by Patrick. It was not still injury time that Patrick was sent to the stands and Michelini had equalised. Initially i put that down to a typical Frenchman's passion and emotions, especially when they were on the losing end. But having it too frequent is too convenient an excuse.

There you have it, u made your first enemies at Tampines.

What was to follow during the season were issues like arguing with referees, complaining, acts of dissent and diving.

When decisions go against Etoile, it was the same players who would be making noise. From rightback, you can bet Julien Delatraz will be the first at the scene, having a go at the officials. Leclerq, Lakehal, Vershave are the others.

Diving - there is only 1 culprit. So much so a new chant of "Frederic Mendy's falling down, falling down" came by.

Patrick needs to stop his incessant arguing on the sidelines. I do agree that the 'closing of one eye' by the officials sometimes encourage him to go on and on. There are proper ways to lodge complaints. But do we expect higher standards for a professional who hails from Europe?

Talks now are that there will be major reshuffle of the team, but whoever that comes it, Etoile need to do better in their behaviour, Patrick included, especially now that Etoile will be the defending champions in 2011. You got to show some standards. I challenge you to be in the top 4 in the 2011 Fair Play table.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Soccer Marathon 7 & 8 Nov

Started with the Asian Games soccer where the Cubs played Qatar in the opening group game.

Izwan, Safuwan in defence and Nazrul on the left wing impressed me aided by the more experience Shahril who led the line. The Asian handicap was around +1.25 but the Cubs did well to overcome it.

Was hoping to see the boy I tout as Singapore's version of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere - Hafez Abu Sujad (above) in action. Too bad he didnt appear. I have watched him a few times and have been thoroughly impressed by this boy.
Overall a good team performance by the Cubs despite a difficult last 25 mins where the Cubs were under absolute intense pressure. We actually had the Chinese crowd behind us for much of the game. Cries of 'Xing jia po jia you!' (Come on Singapore!) could be heard during attacking set piece situations.

Current Chinese coach and ex-Tiong Bahru CSC striker Gao Hongbo was also in attendance.

Dutch Co Adriaanse, the Qatar coach, quoted in Lianhe Zaobao criticised the Cubs performance, he commented that we should have stayed in the hotel had we wanted to play tat way.

Wait a minute, didnt Bert Van Marwijk stifle Spain in the WC final too?

But hey, a result is a result, when you support your HOME COUNTRY, that is all it matters! Play is secondary to me when I support my nation. As a club supporter u can choose, but u don't go around choosing a home country to support right?

Come on Cubs, continue to play as a team and try progress as far as possible and gain the exposure to big stage games. This will definitely help in future.

***************************************************************************
Summary:

Big guns in Europe generally faltered their handicaps except in Spain
- Bayern, MU, Chelsea, Arsenal, Ajax, Inter, Lazio
-Resolute Magpies performance hindered Gunners
-Ranieri completes a week of turnaround in fortunes as his twin strikers on-loan Borriello and Vucinic converts a pair of penalties
-Zenit falls 2 behind in 11mins, equalises by 15min, and go on to score 3 in the 2nd half to win 5-2.
- Twin terror Falcao and Hulk leads Porto to 5-0 thrashing of Benfica

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Excerpts from Patrick Barclay's 2005 book: Mourinho - Anatomy of a Winner

1. Why did Mou behave the way he did on his 1st return to Barcelona as Chelsea mgr?
The answer came from conversation with Van Gaal. Although Mou will not admit it, he had unfinished business with the Catalan club. For all his years there gave him the perfect grounding for a top coach, he was often treated dismissively in Barca, referred to among the club's large media entourage (& even some within the club) as "The Translator". Thats why he boasted about having won as many titles as Barca (as of 2005).

2. After the league cup final with Liverpool:
He did smt different from other mgr. He toured the dejected Pool ranks. By grativating towards the pitch, was he seeking the share of limelight he never had as a player?
In essence, answer is yes. There is a passage in the book he produced with his journalist friend Luis Lourenco about how when he returned to Benfica as Porto coach, he milked the abuse of a huge crowd before the match: 'I made a point of walking on alone, before the team... It was fantastic, an amazing feeling. I had never been a first class player who could feel, for eg, what Figo had felt upon returning to Barcelona (with RM), ans so i had no idea what it would be like to have 80,000 people whisting and jeering at me. I believe tat when we are mentally strong, pp who seek to intimidate and disturb us wd have exactly the opposite effect. Upon hearing he whistles and jeers... I felt as if I were the most important person in the world.'

3. Poor marks in Maths disqualified him from entering uni at the first attempt

4. He listened intently to philosophy lectures of Manuel Sergio, whom he began to derive a fascination for playing with people's emotions. The prof remembers him as a voracious student: 'He looked like a cat catching birds.'

5. Hello Mister, Im Jose Mourinho - this was his introduction to Sir Bobby at Lisbon
About his translation, Sir Bobby said, 'I always had the feeling that he was saying it the way i would have said it. That was his knack. The players responded as if I told them. I could see. It was the same reaction.

6. He advised Sir Bobby to take up an offer from Porto.

7. He split his UEFA coaching licence into 2 parts in 1988 and 2000 (normally a coach does 2 parts in consecutive summers) as he was spending the rest of the years learning at football's university of life, and he worked daily with the likes of Figo, Rivaldo & Ronaldo. It were the 2 years he was between jobs.

8. He never bragged abt his achievements in 2000 when he did the second part, even in the pubs with his mates after finishing the day. He listed in his application he had been "assistant coach" to Robson at Porto and that was not taking too much of a liberty, though techincally he was not. But his work actually emcompassed more than that.

9. Key figures in Barca's dressing room came to accept he had a lot to offer when he was Sir Bobby's assistant. eg skillfully edited videos showing opp's strengths/weakness. This was appreciated among those, by Pep Guardiola. Jose built up a relationship with Pep knowing Pep's status at the club.

10. He got along well with Hristo Stoichkov too.

11. He was pissed when Barca moved Sir Bobby upstairs to make way for Van Gaal. Sir advised LVG to keep him, and Mou benefitted bcos LVG got him to do more work as LVG was one of those who like to stand back, unlike Sir Bobby who was totally hands on.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Overhaul of 2011 S-League Season


[dated 9 Sep, updated 23 Dec] edits are in blue
Today's editor Leonard Thomas has said it right. "Zainudin can invite current and potential sponsors, ex-players, officials, fans and even members of the media, among others, for a brainstorming session. It wouldn’t hurt — it could throw up some interesting suggestions, maybe even a masterstroke. Whatever conclusion the decisionmakers at football headquarters come to after the last week, it is clear something decisive needs to be done, before the SLeague does slip into a crisis."

Yes these stakeholders will be the one who will tell you the problems, not those in the JBS office.
It seems that every September/October the past few seasons, we are always discussing how to solve problems and discussing forever.
Thats why this time, I am putting my head on the chopping board - to come up with solutions for the main problems.

The Crux Issue: Dwindling attendance/lack of support/awareness

The biggest problem we are facing now is the situation of a lack of support/awareness of the league. In the event of this, I say changing just the league's software is not enough. A $500K/month 'star player category' Park Ji Sung will still be mistaken as the $5k/month 'normal foreigner' Park Kang Jin at Orchard Road.
We need some change in the hardware of the league.

Proposed Solution (A) : Change of match schedule
Assuming 12 team, average 6 matches/week

Proposed kickoff times:
1 x Wed – 730pm
1 x Fri – 730pm (live)
2 x Sat – 515pm, 730pm
2 x Sun – 515pm, 730pm (live)

Why?
It is simple logic. We already have limited fan support for the local league. Why further limit this supply of fans by playing so many games on weekdays when Singaporeans live their hectic lifestyle? Which bloodly league in the world plays every day throughout the week?
My idea of 2 games on Sat & Sun each. This would give chance for people to catch games on wkends. Families can watch games together before or after dinner, providing options than to throng shopping malls or showflats. Have cheaper packages for family of 3,4 or 5 perhaps.
We should not contest with the EPL for fans since its going to be a one-sided affair. Hence the option of 515pm games. This allows a 2 hr break for a 10 or 11pm EPL game on telly, assuming you give up the early kickoff EPL game. Anyway not all EPL games on telly are good right, so OUR league will offer another option - a REAL 'LIVE' experience.
515 game save floodlight costs too as game should end at 7pm. Should be bright enough still.

Telecast game on Sunday live on Ch 5. People who laze around at home on Sundays can watch it, rather than some lousy movies.


Keep the Friday night live games. Its the end of the week and more likely to attract students/working population.

Sat games, after the increased media exposure measures stated in the next section, should be the benchmark to test if they have yielded results. They MUST draw crowds, especially if there are no big EPL games.

A game on Wednesday to make up the quota, which allows for teams to have enough rest between each round of games.

Live games must be meant to publicised the league and get crowds to the stadium eventually.

Proposed Solution (B): A 'fireworks' Curtain Raiser to kick off the season on a Sunday

515pm: YOG team vs Singapore U17 or U18
730pm: S-League East vs S-League West


Why?
Aim is to use the fame of the YOG team as an attraction, introduce crowds to the U17/U18 team. This will draw their friends, families and Singaporeans who followed the YOG football games. After that game comes the main show, splitting the SLeague club teams evenly into a East vs West matchup, just like in year 2000 at Bishan Stadium.

Introduce the 'star' players before the East v West game ala NBA finals style - Player run out waving to fans.

Make Straits Times have a 1 page coverage of the curtain raiser evening.

Proposed Solution (C): Teams to adopt a few neighbourhoods towns as in 1996

Why?

To get residents to back the team that plays in the vicinity of their homes. Make it THEIR team. There is a reason why hardcore Tanjong Pagar and Sembawang Rangers fans exists that call for their return. Its because they identified with THEIR clubs. This take time to build and must be cultivated.

In 1996, clubs were somewhat set a geographic sector to try reach out to fans. But this was not closely followed.

Get players out to shopping centres of all their neighbourhood towns/bus/mrt interchanges to raise awareness before the season kickoff, and maybe once or twice more along the season.

Have tie-ups with neighbourhood shopping centres within the vicinity. Liase with landlords like AsiaMalls (Hougang Mall) or sports related tenants like Sportslink. Advertising efforts could be put up in within the tenant space or centre itself to publicise upcoming fixtures and posters of certain more established players who can be used as 'ICONs' for the football team.
In return, billboards of these brands and shopping malls can be put up or even be attached on the team's jersey.
Players must realise the importance of raising their own profile and reputation. That is the way that they can attract potential brands to engage them as ambassadors and perhaps to increase their own playing income as they become more well known.
CCCs and RC leaders and members could be rope in to help, rather than just wasting time having useless meetings and enjoying catered buffets afterwards.

Proposed solution (D): Ticketing issues

Recently, there have been calls for free entry to be given to the public for Sleague games. I feel that this should not be so.

WHY?
This also cheapens the Sleague and make people think lowly of it. Singaporeans have the mentality that things which are free means not tat good. SO it only spoils the image.
My suggestion is to perhaps reduce the $5 entry to $3. Since clubs have said that income from this source is not major, I think that lowering it slightly can perhaps motivate masses to give it a try. As mentioned earlier, FAMILY PACKAGE could be made available for wkend games.

My reason is that sometimes, even I admit that you go to matches not sure of what kind of quality you will get. With respect to a $7 movie ticker, Singaporeans might think $5 is kind of expensive if there is not much entertainment value. Thus, I would think lowering the tickets first, try improve things on the pitch, and raise the pricing as we continue OUR local league.

Additional amendments to current measures:
i. shift Highlights programme to say weekday night 10 or 11pm
ii. work harder to bring in better foreigners, improve pitches
iii. identification of the 12th team as 'Somebody' must go

Mr Zainuddin, if you let the media and fans out there know that you are willing to set up a meeting with the matchday Sleague media and fans to discuss our suggestions with you personally (since we are people on the ground). I have no doubts your meeting room will be filled. Let us know the time and venue. We do not need catered buffet, light refreshments will do.

*Opinions are welcomed.

S-League Foreign Review - Albirex, ETOILE, X

I think creative juices of many have been stirred following the fighting fracas and the reports of low attendences.

Fish out of the water has done a summary of the foreign teams @
http://fishoutofwaterspfc.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/s-league-foreign-clubs-walk-of-shame/

Totally agree that Albirex has been the benchmark for foreign teams with their colourful fans, innovative website, community involvement and marketing. But this season's Albirex give me the impression that they don't really have any real stars among them, which is the only problem I can think of about the Japs considering names like Wakui, Okayama to Takase used to flow out of me in the past.

Etoile, which many fans love to hate, have been great too. Challenging for the title, nice football, good marketing, colourful Johan, chubby Patrick with some French babes. They have added new ingredients to our league which were not there previously. Even bad press about their $ issues are good media exposure too. So too news of $10 tickets, fireworks and clubhouse.

The French flair have influenced the league so much that some local fans hate them cos they are winning, some hate them bcos of their colourful characters, some hate them bcos the players sometimes show too much of their French passion on the field that they do certain things which we dun like to see. But man, have we missed our Venga & Simunic don't we? others miss their Jose M..

Cyril Bagnost & Kevin Yann impressed me the most with their play and professionalism. Good players to watch, so too Karim Boudjema.

I hope Albirex and Etoile will stay in the league going forward.

Earlier in the season, I said 'X' will do better than its previous counterparts as they have good credentials in China and they were the feeder team, unlike the previous ones. No doubt their play have been good at times with their decent technique, but with the fighting incident and the other 'niggling' things I have read and observed, I say good riddance to Chinese teams for OUR local league.

I say boycott Yishun Stadium till end of the season to make our point to FAS.


** Monsieur Vallee, if you are reading my blog, drop me a msg below! I will be happy that you are reading it! HAHA

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sg Pools staff to work overtime tonight!

Abandoned match between Young Lions and Beijing tonight?

Ticket holders pray hard. Sg pools will probably be busy accessing the bets it received for the match before they decide which decision they can take to make most $.

As usual i bring u guys back to history:

2007: Woodlands Wellington vs Tampines Rovers (refer previous entry)
http://dreamteamsteam.blogspot.com/2010/07/2007-walkover-woodlands-v-tampines.html


2010: The way they set the top scorer rules for WC 2010 Top scorer

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

YOG - Local Football Fever






(delighted Hanafi, while Kadir was teary and proud of the boys in his interview)

The young cubs have now secured a bronze for Singapore. A good win which confirmed that many of them, especially defender Dhulkilan Jeevamani will indeed be stars in the making. Without discrediting the rest of the backline, I think this youngster is the best defender among all, even better than Lightfoot.

Pity the boys could not test themselves against Bolivia and gain some experience playing South Americans opponents. I would have them lose the final and gained that bit for their footballing career. But finishing on a high by winning a game is also not too bad lah.

Perhaps its the 'curse' that has struck Singapore football teams in recent years - that is losing to teams when we are the 'favourites', and playing at home with the 'OCCASIONALLY STRONG' support.

Lets hope that going forward, the local crowd will provide good support to our Lions and Cubs alike in all their games.

Untuk Bangsa Dan Negara, Majulah!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sengkang 1 Beijing 0 : Mamadou extinguishes the ghosts of Hougang






On a cooling Sunday evening at the Dolphins’ home in Hougang, it took a thumping header from Guinean wonderboy Mamadou Diallo (right) via a Duncan Elias’s set-piece special three minutes from time to decide the match as the Dolphins secured a precious 1-0 victory over Beijing Guoan Talents.


This finally ended their five-month wait for a second home win this season. Their last home victory had come in February when they defeated Gombak United in their opening home fixture.


It was also the first win Aide Iskandar’s charges have achieved since April, thereby allowing them to leapfrog past Woodlands Welington into 11th place in the league standings.


Perhaps it was fitting that the most exciting player on the field – Mamadou, had a say in the final proceedings as he was no doubt the star of the game.


Sengkang started the match brightly and in the fourth minute, captain Nor Azli Yusoff slid Mamadou through and the tricky youngster showed nifty footwork to evade four defenders before firing in a shot that got the home crowd off their seats. Unfortunately, Beijing defenders recovered to deflect the ball for a corner.


Minutes later, the Guinean was at it again, this time stealing possession from Zhang Xiaolong and setting up new boy Mojtaba Tehranizadeh or ‘Moshee’ as he is affectionately known. The Iranian in turn returned the pass into the dangerzone which Mamadou just missed connecting to.


Moshee was making his home debut in front of the Hougang faithful and showed plenty of his well-known aggression and workrate in a role just behind Mamadou.


The Talents took 17 minutes to test Dolphins’ custodian Fadhil Salim when forward Zhang Ye showed good control with his chest before rifling a shot which Fadhil equaled to.


Beijing was slowly getting into the game and Fadhil had to be alert on two occasions in the 31st minute to keep his net intact.


The danger signs were mounting and in the 36th minute, Fadhil had his woodwork to thank as dangerman Teng Bin’s stinger from 25 yards off a throw-in situation crashed against the frame of the goal. From the ensuing corner, defender Yu Tianzhu’s header skimmed the crossbar as the Dolphins survived yet another scare.


On the stroke of halftime, Mamadou displayed his sheer persistence when he somehow kept a stray pass in play when players and spectators alike thought it was heading out of bounds. After retrieving the ball, he then charged towards goal with his electric pace in a three-on-one situation, ultimately winning a corner for his efforts in the last play of the first period.


Beijing had a great opportunity to take the lead on 48 minutes when they were awarded a spot-kick after Sengkang left-back Duncan Elias’ mistimed his tackle.
Key midfielder Wang Hao stepped up but Fadhil went down well to his right and pulled off a stupendous save to keep Sengkang in the game.


The save lifted the spirits of the Dolphins as they pushed harder in search for a win while the Talents seemed to experience a drop in confidence in their subsequent play.


Mamadou continued to cause the Chinese side problems with his pace and determination and almost sneaked a goal in the 54th minute but his left foot shot from a turn just lacked power.
As the game wore on, mistimed challenges increased and some of the Beijing players went down with cramps, a reminiscence of the earlier part of the season.


Sengkang then produce their best play of the night in the 84th minute when neat buildup play between Mamadou and Farizal Basri saw substitute Ashley Ow firing in a shot which just went a little too high.


Three minutes later, the deadlock was finally broken as Mamadou leaped high out of nowhere to finish off Duncan’s delightful corner play.


The Guinean celebrated by running half the length of the pitch to celebrate with his team’s hero at the other end, Fadhil, as the rest of his teammates joined in.


Sengkang held on for the remainder of the game to clinch long awaited win which had Coach Aide beaming finally.

He exclaimed, ‘I am pleased with the three points tonight. We prepared well for the whole week for the game and the players gave 100%. The players kept believing in themselves and are now playing with more confidence’.




Below (from left ): toned down celebrations, Aide with some of his fans/supporters who lifted the atmosphere at the stadium with their innovative chants. hopefully more of these Man Utd fans will catch the local games too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sg Pools did it again!


SINGAPORE POOLS
In the event of a Dead Heat, the Prize is calculated by dividing the Stake placed on the Selection involved in the Dead Heat by the number of competitors or players who achieved the same result, and multiplying the results by the Odds

OTHER BOOKMAKERS

20 THE DEAD HEAT RULE If there are two or more winners, the payout odds (less the stake) are divided by the number of winners and settled accordingly with the stake returned.

SEE THE DIFFERENCE? REMEMBER WOODLANDS WELLINGTON VS TAMPINES ROVERS in 2007? The walkover match thanks to the inept referee?

Sg pools payed out the odds by the default scoreline and not refund the bets like the other bookmakers that time!

ONCE AGAIN SG POOLS HAS MADE A FOOL OUT OF ITSELF!

FUCK YOURSELF SG POOLS!


2007 Walkover - Woodlands v Tampines aftermath

Recap of the great decision by Sg Pools in the wake of the 2010 WC topscorer fracas.


> Subject: Re: Web feedback - 2-0 BY DEFAULT> To: **@hotmail.com> From: customercare@sgpoolz.com.sg> Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 15:44:51 +0800> >

Dear Sir> > We wish to inform that the award of the 2-0 result to Tampines is fully in
> accordance with the Rules for Football Betting (SCORE & STRIKE!) posted in
> our website on http://www.singaporepools.com.sg/Common?page=rules
> > Under clause 2.1, it states that :> "Full Time Result" means the result of a Match as at the end of Regulation> Time.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Full Time Result of a Match shall not> include any goals scored in extra time or as a result of a penalty> shoot-out; and>

> "Regulation Time" means 90 minutes or such other time as may be determined> by the referee or the relevant governing body for football or the organiser> of the Match or Event (as the case may be) to be the duration of playing> time for a Match, including stoppage time and/or such other time as may be> added by the appointed referee for the match for playing time that is lost> for various reasons, including but not limited to substitutions of players,> injuries to players and deliberate wasting of time by players. For the> avoidance of doubt, Regulation Time excludes any allocated extra time,> sudden death time or time for the execution of penalty shootouts, and where> a Match started but is called off (including but not limited to> abandonment, postponement, suspension and cancellation) for any reason> whatsoever and the referee or the relevant governing body for football or> the organiser of the Match or Event (as the case may be) announces or> declares that the score at the time the Match is called off shall stand as> the Full Time Result, then the duration of the Match that was played shall> be deemed to be Regulation Time.> >

For further clarification, please call Customer Care at 6216 8188.> > >

Yours sincerely> > Priscilla Teo> Executive Officer (Customer Care)
customercare@sg > poolz.com.sg >

To > 13/09/2007 customercare@sgpoolz.com.sg > 11:03 PM cc > > Subject > Web feedback - 2-0 BY DEFAULT > > > > > > > > > > > Name: Mr G> Email: **@hotmail.com> Daytime Contact No.: 96703744>

Subject: 2-0 BY DEFAULT>

Feedback: Singapore Pools made a big error in its decision to recognize the> 2-0 result in favour of Tampines that night. I could understand FAS and the> S League's decision in awarding the game to Tampines that night as it was> Woodlands who refused to play on. The key issue that the 2-0 scoreline> awarded to Tampines BY DEFAULT.> > This decision is similar to a team fielding an ineligible player in a match> and hence the league awards a default scoreline to the opposition team. In> this case, due to Woodlands team walking off, the league awards Tampines a> default scoreline. It was purely accidental that Tampines was leading by a> 2-0 scoreline at that time.> > Hence it should have refunded all bets for the match due to the match being> abandoned.> > In this instance, Singapore Pools has simply HIDE behind the backs of their> big brothers (i.e FAS and Sleague), while taking the easy way and> PROFITABLE way out by claiming it paid out the bets due to the league> awarding the 2-0 scoreline.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

WC Final - notes

Chance for Dutch captain Giovanni Van Bronkhorst to end on a high before retiring.

Or will it be his ex-Barca teammates CARLES PUYOL & XAVI's last chance to complete their ULTIMATE football medals collection? It will probably the Catalan duo's last World Cup, so its now or never..

World Cup, Euro, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Club Cup, leagues + cups

******************************************************************************
I suspect if Spain cock up, it will be most likely due to the inadaptness of Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso (the player I always termed a luxury player).

Cesc Fabregas must definitely be first choice in front of the luxury player.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Made-in-Catalunya

Made-in-Catalunya goal causes chaos in a local neighbourhood. Sorry neighbours for the early morning call! VISCA BARCA! VISCA CATALUNYA!

Captain Courageous Carles Puyol stuck shit in the faces of some deriders who labelled him a weak link to the Spanish rearguard. Take that! After the goal, it was as if we saw a Espana version of the Fabio Cannavaro of WC 2006. Shaggy hair was impeccable!


note: (From my observation, teams that thrash others hardly ever win the ultimate prize in a knockout competition. What more one that walloped 3 teams by 4 goals?)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BBQ the Octopus & final hope

Lame shit.

Let me give you my theory. If I am not wrong, this assy octopus is fed with 2 types of food.

Against Australia, it tried the 'german' food. Against Serbia, it changed its choice to test the 'second type' of food.

It then decided that the 'german food' is nicer. So subsequently it ate the 'german' food against Ghana, Inggeland and Argentina.

Now it is tired of the 'German' food. So it ate the 'other type' of food this time.

Lady luck has been shining on the Dutch that with a crap defence, they may still end up champions.

Predictions have gone awry, one final hope now is for Pep's successor in the heart of the Barca midfield to achieve the whole collection of medals a professional footballer dream to attain in a career & surpass the achivements of Bixente Lizarazu, Zizou and 'Turbo' Henry.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Glen Johnson is a HERO!

Ok this has come a bit late as I have been busy to post.

But has any report or article point out the role that Glen Johnson played in England's round of 16 defeat?

If you recall, for the third German goal that killed off all hopes for the Three Lioness, Glen had the opportunity to make a tactical foul on Ozil or Podolski (either one of them) as the German player ran sideways past him. HE WAS NOT THE LAST MAN.

He didnt and that pass led to the Germans' third.

Guess what, later in the game, our dear Glen got a yellow card instead for some dumb foul. Then, the TV screen showed, "Misses next game". WOW!

How about that man Glen? Dumb or selfish? Both?

I don't even want to mention the name of a certain German who missed the Cup final for his team, bcos they are of a different league altogether.

Kudos to Glen!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back in Green for a night

Kim wins the duel of Koreans as Eagles snap winless streak

Tuesday night’s Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League match saw two Koreans who recently joined their respective teams in the mid-season transfer window go head-to-head.

After ninety minutes, it was clear which Korean had stamped his authority on the game. The name more local fans would be familiar with - Geylang’s Kim Jae Hong, won the battle hands down as the attacking midfielder created the first goal before adding his name to the scoresheet, leading Geylang United to a comfortable 2-0 victory at Hougang Stadium.

His counterpart, Sengkang’s An Jae Cheul, huffed and puffed in the middle of the park but hardly made an impact before being substituted in the second half.

No doubt Geylang fans will be glad to see Kim back with the side as the Korean had played a key role in the Eagles’ cup triumph last season with his penetrating runs and crucial goals.

With this performance, it looks like the Eagles’ managment have done a good piece of business in replacing the injury-hit Miroslav Latiak, who has been bothered with groin problems all season,
The win allows the Eagles to snap a five game winless streak and move up to fourth place in the league standings.

Sengkang coach Aide Iskandar had sprang a surprise in his line-up when he paired a half-fit Jordan Webb with livewire Mamadou Diallo upfront, probably seeking to exploit the Geylang’s defence with sheer pace.

However, even before his plan could take effect, his team found themselves already a goal down.
Off a Syed Thaha throw-in from the left after just fifty seconds into the match, Kim dazzled his way past a couple of defenders into the Sengkang penalty area. After some pinball in the box, teammate Itmi Dickson finally found space to thump the ball into the roof of the net to leave the Sengkang players shell-shocked.

With a goal advantage, the Eagles sat back a little but still managed to control much of the game.
Itimi was proving to be a handful early on as his pace and trickery left the Sengkang defenders backpedalling on many occasions in the first period.

At the other end, it was Mamadou who was causing the Eagles backline problems with his darting runs.

In the 36th minute, the Guinean youngster won a freekick which he himself executed. The swerving attempt was good but Eagles custodian Yazid Yasin proved his worth with a good save.
Three minutes earlier, a misjudgement by Shahir Hamzah had almost led in Kim but Dolphins’ keeper Fadhil Salim was alert and diverted the Korean’s half volley away with his legs.

Just before the break, Sengkang had two good opportunities to equalize.

First, midfielder Sobrie Mazelan struck a fierce volley that just missed Yazid’s righthand post. The chance came after Webb had set him up well from leftback Duncan Elias’ sweet cross.
Then in the 44th minute, Webb took on a few Geylang defenders before feeding Jalal.

Unfortunately, the winger was called for offiside else he would have been through on goal. It was a let-off for the Eagles’ defence.

The Dolphins came out of the dressing room looking for the equaliser and almost got it in the 48th minute had their own Korean An not been so wasteful.

Webb showed excellent control and acceleration as he pulled down a high ball before dashing down the by-line. His pullback was brilliant but An somehow blazed over from ten yards. It was probably the home side’s best chance on the night.

Next up to threaten Yazid in the Geylang goal was Duncan, whose usual set-piece routine caused chaos in the Eagles’ penalty area on a couple of occasions.

Geylang on the other hand, was relying on their swift counter attacks with Kim and half-time substitute Yasir Hanapi leading the charge.

It was through one of this combination in the 56th minute which striker Peter Tomko almost profited, however, his marker Shahir did well to deflect the Slovak’s attempt wide.
A minute later, a poor kickout by Fadhil proved costly for the Dolphins.

Geylang wingback Syed Fadhil intercepted the kick and played a long ball down the middle which the pacy Kim reacted quickest and latched on to. The Korean took a touch with his left boot to control before finishing clinically into the Sengkang goal with his right.

It was the Eagles’ fleet footed attacker’s first goal since returning to the Eagles early this month.

Though two goals down, the Dolphins continued to show effort through their hard running but was let down their passing and decision making, especially in the last third of the field.

On the few occasions that Mamadou, Jordan, and gang conjured up promising moves near the Geylang goal, a combination of uncompromising defending by the Geylang defenders and alert goalkeeping by Yazid kept the Dolphins at bay.

In fact, it was Kim who had the best chance to get the game’s third goal towards the end of the game when a smart inter-change with Yasir and Tomko saw the Korean broke free down the left.

But from a narrow angle, he could only blast the ball high and off target.

Reflecting on the game, a visibly dejected Aide Iskandar admitted that Geylang were the better and hungrier side on the night. Summing up the game, he said, “It was disappointing to concede an early goal. Although we played much better in the second half, another mistake caused us to lose a second goal”.

In contrast, Eagles’ coach Mike Wong was in a more positive mood. He commented, “I am happy with the three points, but we still made some silly mistakes in the game”.

Looking forward to their next game against their eastern rivals Tampines Rovers in twelve days time, he added, “This mini break will give us time to reorganise and this win is important as it will lift the players’ spirits during this period.”

When quizzed about Kim’s performance, Wong commented, “Yes, Kim is an important player to us as he can exploit spaces behind the opponents’ defence. I am happy that he has scored on his third game back with us and hopefully his form will last long till the end of the season”.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Euro 2008's Spain > WC 2010's Spain


"Sometimes the obvious simply blinds the not so obvious"


Let me put this clear. I like Spain, their style of play and I support them.


Prior to kickoff at Euro 2008, Xin-爷 and I had a chat and the idea of Spain winning the tournament was explored and after some deliberation, discussion and analysis, decided to back them a few times on route to the final.


At that time, nobody gave them a chance and the pressure was off the players.


But i just think that a lot of people have not realize that Spain has come into the tournament this time with too much hype but in a worse condition than going into Euro 2008 despite going 40+ intl games unbeaten.


Why do I say so:


a) The only recent return of El Nino, Cesc Fabregas to the team. U cant be at your peak right?


b) Andres Iniesta is an extremely vital element of the side but still bugged by injury


c) Xavi, after a tough european season where he played the last part carrying a calf injury, is also not at 100%. Just to note he is one who is seldom rested by Pep. And the fact that my Barca was pushed all the way to the wire by our deadliest rivals


d) Absence of Marcos Senna, this has been mentioned b4 in reports. Alonso is no Senna, neither is Busquets. If you remember, Senna played a more defensive role in the Euros than at club level but to perfection, setting the platform for Xavi to probe along with Iniesta and David Silva


e) The overwhelming expectation of the country. Possible?


f) Luis Aragones factor. This is Vicente Del Bosque's first big tournament. Maybe he is just Real material? nothing more?


g) Jesus Navas and Pedro are impressive, but relatively lack experience at intl level. Too much weight on them to certain youngsters to turn the game when needed?


Above are points to ponder about.


But still, i hope that the team can pull itself up, make some changes and progress further. However, I am of the feeling it wont be the ones to lift the cup in July.


But then again, the team I think will win the tournament has players not at 100% condition too. Hmm.. Contradicting?

WC - 15 June: Embarassments

Brazil's defender Juan had his name badly mispronounced by the whole game yesterday. unbelieveable error by the seasoned commentator. It should be Hoo-an, not Jew-an.



U don't pronounce Jew-an Sebastian Veron do you?


I say Chong Tese 鄭大世(as he is known in Japan) looks much better with his hair up there. He tried too hard imitate Wazza man..




WC - 13 June: Delights


By the end of July, i believe non-German football fans will know the name Mesut Özil.


Ghana baik! photographed for the first underdogs win : )


Monday, June 14, 2010

Aide wakes up

Finally, our dear Sengkang coach has FINALLY address his defensive problems by bringing in an experienced Kenji Arai to lead the line, although the Jap may not be the best defender, i think he is at least experienced and good enough to provide Shahir Hamzah with some good pointers.

Rather than having a Diallo Abdoulaye, Nor Azli or Sim Li Ming along Shahir right?

It addresses the problem pointed out earlier that Aide got his foreigners' priority wrong at the start of the season when he went for foreigners further up the field, leaving the backline w/o a old warhorse.

Hopefully the central defensive partnership take off and we will see the former Young Lions' player recover his early season promise too..

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dominant French cruised to a convincing win

M97: Etoile FC vs Tampines

By: Hugo Ng

The highly anticipated top of the table clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wenesday night turned out to be a somewhat one-sided affair as Etoile FC put four unanswered goals past Tampines Rovers to record a second 4-0 league victory this season.

In the process of doing so, the French side has taken over the league leadership once again, albeit for a longer period this time, by opening up a two point advantage over the Stags.

This win also means that they have defeated all of the so-called “Big Three” in the league, having notched a solitary goal win against Home United last week and previously slayed the SAF Warriors comprehensively by three goals.

Quality in the middle of the pitch proved to be key in this matchup as Etoile’s trio of Cyril Bagnost, Kevin Yann and Khaled Kharroubi and flying winger Karim Boudjema imposed themselves right from the word go. For once, the Tampines could not an answer to their opponents’ superior passing and movement, which is not often the case.

Boudjema, in particular, impressed throughout as he laid off three assists for his teammates.
Etoile’s first chance came as early as the second minute when their main man Frederic Mendy’s volley hit the side netting after captain Matthias Vershave had fed him with a delightful ball from the right wing.

Tampines responded down the other end through as striker Aleksander Duric took goalkeeper Hassan Sunny’s long punt down and set up “The Little Master” Aliff Shafaein, whose left-foot shot was parried by Etoile’s custodian Yohann Lacroix.

It was to be the Stags’ only meaningful goal attempt in the first period as possession was with the French team for long periods and the team in yellow was only able to create limited chances that were easy for the Etoile backline to sweep up.

Hassan had to be alert to tip a Julien Deletraz free-kick over on the 12th minute mark. From the resulting corner that was taken short, the national keeper had to be quick off his line to put Mendy off after Kharroubi’s cross somehow him free in the penalty box.

However, there was no stopping Mendy in the 23th minute. Boudjema’s clever slide-rule pass after a sweet move initiated by Kharroubi allowed the striker to get in on the blind side of Tampines defender Seiji Kaneko. The lanky striker held off the Japanese’s challenge before netting the game’s opening goal from a tight angle.

The former Kashima Antlers defender was having a tough time containing Mendy and worse was to come on the stroke on half time.

But moments before that, Etoile had went 2-0 up. Again, Boudjema was the instigator. He took Kaneko and Benoit Crossiant on for a run, exposing the Stags defence before slipping a pass to the onrushing Yann to tuck home despite substitute defender Park Yo Seb’s desperate effort to keep the ball out.

Next came a crucial moment in the game. Kaneko, who had already been unluckily cautioned in the 17th minute after teammate Jamil Ali had played him into trouble, fouled Mendy from behind and earned his second yellow of the evening, leaving his team to fight a fire which was already proving extremely tough to put out.

Finding themselves with a comfortable two goal lead and a man advantage, Etoile started to stroke the ball around more at the start of the second period, making use of the full width of the pitch and having their fans cheering every pass.

Aliff had a quiet game by his high standards, coming into life only in bits and pieces. In the 50th minute, he orchestrated a one-two with Duric, only to be halted by the linesman’s flag when he was through on goal as Duric had been in an offside position earlier.

That proved to be the last contribution from “The Little Master” as Coach Vorawan made a double substitution seven minutes later with forward Qiu Li being one of those brought into the game. He was to prove pivotal as the Stags finally began to pierce a few openings in the stubborn French defence.

Vorawan’s last throw of the dice, though bore no fruit in the end, gave Tampines hope as Qiu Li struck a brilliant left foot curler two minutes after coming on which left Lacroix grasping thin air , only to see it ricochet off the keeper’s goalframe.

In the 63th minute however, Etoile dealt the Stags another blow. Vershave’s deep cross was met by Boudjema’s head to divert the ball back into the danger zone and Mendy pounced on it with a diving header to grab his second of the night to make the score 3-0.

Tampines looked dead and buried at this point but they did not give up.

Qiu Li sent a thunderous free-kick sizzling past Lacroix and a minute later his cushion header found teammate Akihiro Nakamura free in the box. But the S-League journeyman inexplicably fluffed a simple half volley with only the keeper to beat.

With his side three goals down and getting constantly booed by the Etoile fans for incidents dating to the last meeting between the two sides, Croissant was starting to get wind up and it was clear he was losing his concentration. But credit to the Frenchman for ultimately keeping his cool and getting on with the game.

The 85th minute saw Etoile net their final goal of the night. From a clearance off a Duric free-kick, a defensive mistake by the Stags backline allowed the French side to pour forward. Off a brilliant pass from Bagnost, Vershave made his way into the box before firing a stiff grounder past Hassan Sunny for 4-0.

In the post-match press conference, Etoile’s coach Patrick Vallee revealed he felt “very good” after the win.

When quizzed about what went right on the night for his team, he quipped, “The players imposed the system that I wanted to play. It was a good decision”.

He added, “We played for a win and I think we deserved it when you look at the game on the whole as our goalkeeper only had one or two saves to make in each half”.

However, he got all emotional when asked about his post match reactions to a small group of spectators.

In response, Vallee said, “I respect everybody and I expect the same from the others. I am here to raise the standard for Singapore football, not to talk about my family”, as he let the media in that the same group of men have been repeatedly abusing him verbally at games and he urged FAS to look into it.

Meanwhile, Stags’ coach Vorawan Chitavanich had a smile for the reporters though in defeat. When questioned about it, he declared, “I am proud of my players as they showed fighting spirit even when we were a man down and losing”.

Reflecting on the game, he concluded, “It was not a lucky day, when we wanted to fight back, we made too many mistakes and holes appeared in our defence”.


~~~~SLeague.com~~~~~~~~~

Monday, June 7, 2010

M92: TALENTS OUTGUNNED BY THE STAGS

Tampines Rovers warmed up for their upcoming top of the table clash with Etoile by crushing the youthful Beijing Guoan Talent side 4-0 last night at their Tampines cauldron in the first part of its two matchups within three days against the league’s foreign teams.

This allowed them to head into Wednesday’s crunch game at Jalan Besar with the comfort of top spot after the French side had momentarily occupied pole position for twenty-four hours with a victory over the Eagles on Saturday night.

Stags’ coach Vorawan Chitavanich fielded the identical eleven that had surprisingly lost to the Young Lions three days earlier despite initial fears of the lack of recovery period for the elder statesmen of his team like Aleksander Duric and captain Zulkarnaen Zainal. His decision was helped partly due to the continued absence of national forward Khairul Amri and wingback Imran Sahib while Qiu Li was only fit enough for a spot on the substitutes’ bench.

The youthful Beijing side started brightly from the start and managed to threaten the Stags from a few set-piece situations but with nothing to show for.

Slowly, the more experienced heads of the Tampines players got into the game and netted their opening goal from their first real attack in the tenth minute after good combination play between Jamil Ali and Aliff Shafaein.

Jamil won the ball on the left flank and made his way into the centre before laying the ball to Aliff. The Stags’ No 19, dubbed as “The Little Master” by the media, returned Jamil with a peach of a pass that saw the former Woodlands man run through on goal before easily finishing with a low grounder past the Beijing keeper Su Boyang.

Eight minutes later, Aliff was at it again as Zahid Ahmad released the nippy playmaker down the left wing. Fortunately, the Beijing defence recovered in time to clear the centre from “The Little Master” out for a corner.

In the 20th minute, Stags keeper Hassan Sunny was called into his first real action of the night as he pulled off a wonderful one-handed save to deny Liu Teng’s point blank header after forward Li Tixiang had whipped in a good cross from the right.

Credit has to be given to the Chinese side as they continued to create opportunities in a bid to equalise before half-time and had two good chances to do so. However in both situations, they were denied by the impressive Hassan.

The first of which happened in the 40th minute. Liu Teng’s cross from the right flank was cushioned by striker Tan Tiancheng nicely into the path of rightback Yu Tianzhu, whose low shot was tipped wide by Hassan’s fingertips.

Just before the interval, a five-man move initated by Li Tixiang culminated in Yu having another golden chance at goal. This time, Hassan put his giant frame into good use as he flung himself ala Peter Schmeichel style to deny the Beijing man.

In between the two Beijing attempts, Tampines missed an opportunity of themselves as Jamil took one touch too many and the chance went begging after wonderful approach play by Duric and Zahid.

Within a minute after the break, Beijing raided the Tampines left flank and almost leveled the score but Tan just narrowly missed connecting a cross from the right wing with a half volley.

Stags hit three in twelve minutes

It was to prove costly as the Stags went two up four minutes later.

Anchorman Shukor Zailan slid Aliff through with a delicious ball down the Beijing centre. “The Little Master” shook off the attentions of defender Ma Chongchong as he took the ball in his stride before slotting past keeper Su for two nil.

Beijing coach Zheng XIaotian reacted with a double substitution in the 55th minute, bringing on Lei Tenglong and Teng Bin as he sought to find a way back into the game.

Unfortunately, the plan backfired as the Stags added a third goal within a minute of the changes.
Once again “The Little Master” was at the heart of the move as he collected a pass from Ismadi Mukhtar, cut into the middle before laying the ball on a plate for Duric to slam the ball in for 3-0.

Beijing’s night was not to get any better as the Stags took advantage of the loss of organisation in their opponents’ backline to notch a fourth goal six minutes later.

A measured pass inside his own half by Jamil was immaculately controlled by Aliff with one touch to set up Duric.

The evergreen striker had the luxury to control the ball and ward off the challenge of Su before netting his second of the night with a left foot shot that trickled into goal despite the best effort by substitute Lei on the goalline.

Though they were 4-0 down, the Talents showed desire to grab at least a consolation goal but those hopes were more than once denied by Singapore’s No 1 Hassan.

Wang Hao and substitute Teng produced a couple of decent attempts at goal after marauding runs near to the Stags’ penalty box but found Hassan in top form.

The pick of his saves came in the 85th minute after Teng mesmerized Stags’ substitute Jufri Thaha down the left and charged to the bye-line before pulling the ball back for top scorer Tan Tiancheng.

This time, Hassan’s legs came in the way of Tan’s shot as he made sure his goal remained intact.
Tampines almost scored a fifth deep into injury-time but substitute Edward Tan somehow missed a sitter after good work by Duric.

Morale booster

Stags’ coach Vorawan Chitavanich expressed delight at his team’s overall performance and agreed that it had indeed been a morale boosting win, especially coming off a defeat against the Young Lions previously.

His felt that his prematch concerns of his charges’ fitness levels was somewhat alleviated by the fact that they had the faithful home crowd behind them.

When asked of his views with regards to the performance of “The Little Master”, Vorawan commented: “After spending the last seven years with me, Aliff has definitely grown and has been able to adapt well into my game plan and make important plays for the team”.

His counterpart Zheng Xiaotian was left to rue the individual errors by his players which he concluded proved costly at the end. He said that tactical changes were made during the game but ultimately was not enough to grab any rewards from the game. He also acknowledged the brilliant display by Hassan in the Tampines’ goal.

Tampines’ focus now turns to the intriguing clash between the league’s top two teams as they do battle on Wednesday evening. If their last meeting in March can be an indication of what is to be expected, football fans can surely expect fireworks at Jalan Besar - both on and off the field.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Internazionale - Real

Just some random thoughts arriving after hearing that this 2 clubs have 'good' relationship with each other after the Mourinho transfer saga. It was a short one, definitely much shorter than the protracted one when Ronaldo left in 2002 for the Bernabeu.

Real - Inter
Clarence Seedorf
Ivan Zamorano
Esteban Cambiasso
Santiago Solari
Walter Samuel
Wesley Sneijder

Inter-Real
Ronaldo
Jose M

Monday, May 24, 2010

'Mou' Rinho

Finally, the worse kept transfer secret of the summer is out. Mou is heading to Real, my long term hatred rivals.

Just have this feeling that he wont achieve the kind of success he's used to, cos Real are not clad in blue. His successful teams have always been donning blue jerseys, recall Porto, Chelski & Inter. Ok tats a side talk.

Seriously if Barca can add bit more exquisite quality in midfield, my team will still be the team to beat in La Liga next season. Esp if Cesc returns home, but pls not at the expense of Yaya Toure. I do not mind sacrificing Sergi Busquets though. Just send Marquez, Hleb over to Emirates. Thierry's heading to the MLS.

I do not see Mou being able to mould a solid rock in RM's defence. This team has always been 'score more than opponent' team, a team whose fans demand entertaining football. I suspect defensive tactics will not be welcomed even if Mou can win games. Remember Don Fabio? The likely situation is that he wun be able to love the fans as he did in England & Italy.

I love to see Crisitano Ronaldo tracking back to defend ala Samuel E'too next season.

Lets see if he can buy 4 solid defenders & prove me wrong.

I cant see how he and Florentino Perez can click. Remember how Roman and him fell out?

To me simply, it wun be a happy marriage. Mark my words.

Visca Barca!



*now that season has ended, its time for our own Singapore League once again, watch this space!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Former Tampines Stags @ Malang

Alerted to this piece of informative article of others which i thought many like me might have missed if we arent TNP readers. It was published earlier in the week. Just to share:

Singapore fever hits Malang

Arema Indonesia's unlikely rise to the top of the Indonesia Super League table has captured the imagination of its fanatical supporters. But it also propelled Singaporeans Noh Alam Shah and Ridhuan Muhammad to rock star status, way beyond their wildest dreams
PASSION (top left): The Arema fans know their football - and they like what they see in their Singapore imports Noh Alam Shah and Muhd Ridhuan.

GET SHIRTY (top right): Players know they've made it when vendors start selling jerseys with your names on it. PICTURES: BH

AT FIRST, there was uncertainty.

Employed by an overseas club for the first time in their career, Singapore footballers Noh Alam Shah and Ridhuan Muhammad were hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst.

Soon, they realised that they need not have worried at all - the duo hit the ground running in the Indonesia Super League.

These days, the two Arema Indonesia players cannot walk around in Malang without being mobbed.

Keychains, T-shirts and caps bearing their names and faces are snapped up like hotcakes at souvenir shops.
Short visits to the shopping malls almost always turn into impromptu meet-the-fans sessions, where fans are quick to take the opportunity to have their photos taken with their idols.
So, they often disguise their themselves by wearing shades, caps, or by pulling their sweatshirt hood over their heads.

Celeb girlfriend
If you think that's getting a little absurd, wait till you hear Ridhuan's confession that he has been dating an Indonesian celebrity for the last four months.
Life doesn't get any better for the duo.

Said 29-year-old Noh Alam Shah: 'I just came back from the mall. I was standing at the centre, taking photos with the fans. After almost 15 minutes, I could see that my wife was beginning to look a little unhappy.
'In the end, I had to excuse myself. Otherwise, it would never end.
'I seldom step out of the house nowadays unless necessary. But it feels much better than being not recognised anywhere I go.
'If you think it's bad for me, wait till you speak to Ridhuan.
'When we board the team bus on match days, the school girls would rush towards Ridhuan and start screaming until some would actually start crying. '
Indeed, Ridhuan's celebrity status has skyrocketed since his arrival in Malang, which has a population of almost 1.2 million people.
Still only 25 and single, his has more than 7,500 supporters on his Facebook fanpage. He is used to returning home to see about 10 fans waiting for him at his doorstep.
He loves the attention, but laments about the loss of privacy. He sometimes wishes he could go shopping with his girlfriend without being stopped so often - he is dating a 21-year-old Indonesian TV station sports presenter.
Said Ridhuan, who declined to reveal the identity of his girlfriend of four months: 'It's difficult to go out on dates like that, you know.
'She's from Bali, but studying here in Malang. She's also a sports presenter for ANTV.
Stalkers
'Some of the fans will follow me home. They will follow me in a car, like stalkers, and then take photos of me from the outside. Some will also ask for my phone number.
'The last time I checked my Facebook account, I saw more than 1,000 outstanding 'friend requests'.
'I enjoy it. But sometimes, they can go overboard.'
Such attention has its dangers.
Ridhuan knows only too well that he must keep his feet on the ground.
He said: 'It's an experience which will live with me until the day I die.
'But I tell myself this: I may be very popular here but one day, when I go back to Singapore, it will be back to square one.
'So, there is really nothing to be big-headed about.'
In any case, he has Alam Shah watching over him like an elder brother.
Arema coach Robert Alberts has entrusted Alam Shah the task of making sure Ridhuan remains humble.
Alam Shah said: 'It's normal for a young player like Ridhuan to enjoy it. Alberts wants me to take care of him.
'I am doing my best. If he is playing badly, I will tell him so.
'I call him at 10 pm almost every night to check on him. But he has been behaving, lah.'

The things fans do for love
MALANG may be more than 1,400km away from Singapore, but you can still see a Singapore flag at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in every Arema Indonesia home game.
This gives you an idea of the affection the Arema fans feel for their two Singaporean players, Noh Alam Shah and Ridhuan Muhammad.
Said Alam Shah: 'Everytime I score, I would run towards the Singapore flag at the stadium and salute the flag.
'Yes, the fans actually wave a Singapore flag during our games. It measures about five by three metres.
'Actually, it used to be an Indonesia flag. The fans stitched a crescent and five stars on it to turn it into a Singapore one.
'Although Singapore and Indonesia are fierce rivals on the South-east Asia stage, the fans have accepted us.'
Ridhuan, who holds his own in the popularity stakes, also recalled a harrowing incident.
In a frenzy to buy a copy of the newspaper which contained a pull-out poster of him, a pregnant woman slipped while running out of the bathroom.
He said: 'She already knew that there was going to be a poster of me in that day's newspaper.
'But she was showering when he heard the newspaper vendor doing his round.
'So, she changed into her clothes, and as she ran out of the bathroom, she fell. She was sent to the hospital and delivered her baby the very same night.
'What a relief they are both okay.
'What's funnier is, the patient's wrist tag which she was wearing while in her ward bore my name instead of hers.'
Getting to the stadium on match days can be a scary experience.

Police escort
The team bus is always escorted by the police to cut down the travelling time. Even then, it doesn't stop fans from getting close to the team bus to catch a glimpse of their idols through the windows, or even snap photographs - not an easy feat since most of them travel on motorcycles.
Said Alam Shah, who had to stop to control his laughter as he recounted the incident: 'We were on the team bus, and this pillion rider on the motorcycle was right next to our bus.
'I waved to him and he was really thrilled. He in turn said something to the rider, who turned to look at me.
'In all his excitement, he lost control of his motorcycle and rammed into a tree.
'After that, they just picked up the motorcycle like nothing happened, caught up with us again and gave me the thumbs up.
'It was amazing.'
Even travelling on a lorry doesn't guarantee safety, as Alam Shah was quick to warn.
He said: 'On another occasion, I saw these guys on an open-top lorry, waving Arema Indonesia flags.
'The guys were looking out for their favourite players in our bus.
'But just as they were doing so, the lorry braked quite sharply. All of them fell and piled up in a heap at the back of the lorry.'


GARY LIM (TNP - 19/4/10)
Afterthought:
1) Indonesia has a different football culture with us, i do think that they are more die-hard than european fans, probably more comparable to South American ones. Not a topic i like to dwell on too much actually as I think the focus here is to get the crowds off their couch, to stadiums and support the teams (not in a fanatical way for a start..)
2) If he is doing so well at Arema, then why cant Ridhuan turn it on when he dons the Lions shirt?