Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Plugging the SLeague talent drain

The close season isn't my favourite time of the year. Stories switch from on the field to off it and often come through second or third hand sources. With no action people have to elsewhere for their fix and of course that means gossip.

Hardly a day goes by without one of the Indonesian sports tabloids linking a Singaporean or Thai with clubs here. The Greg Nwokolo saga is lasting longer than Ken Barlow in Coronation Street.

To be fair people in the game take much of the hype/gossip with a pinch of salt. It's part and parcel of the game and like politicians there are players, coaches and agents who love being the centre of attention.

With the Indonesian FA adopting 3+2 (three foreigners + 2 Asians) it's only natural the media start scampering about looking for Asian players who maybe able to adopt to the rough n tumble world of Indonesian football. And Singapore is the logical place to look.

But seriously how many Singapore players would come here? To be negative they would get the shit kicked out of them on the pitch and would go months without a pay check off it. All a far cry from the squeaky clean life they are used to.

On the other hand we shouldn't underestimate the attraction of playing in front of large, passionate crowds. To be cheered on by 15,000 nutty locals or have half a dozen people beating drums and chanting 'defend, defend.' No brainer innit?

Worst case scenario. Take the likes of Noh Alam Shah, Lionel Lewis, Daniel Bennett, Baihakki Khaizan, Indra Sahdan Daud and Noh Rahman out of the SLeague and we can see national team coach Raddy looking for an apartment in Jakarta.

How would the normally apathetic football media react? Would an exodus of national team players be the death knell for Singapore football or would we see the media taking an interest in the sons of Singapore playing abroad? And would that in turn create an interest in the local game?

Perhaps more importantly where would Singapore look to fill the void left by the aging, departing stars? Patently the Young Lions aren't ready to make that leap yet. Balestier Khalsa have started looking to South Korea while other sides like Gombak United have looked to lower league Australians.

Why not look to Malaysia? Young players dominated the national team selections against Manchester United and The Club Masquerading as Zimbabwe recently with promising players from Harimau Muda and My Team stepping up and showing their wares.

Of course this all nothing more than conjecture and the ramblings of a mind with way too much free time.

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