Thursday, February 13, 2014


Balestier Khalsa Sign Former Dinamo Zagreb Striker

Singapore — Balestier Khalsa have signed former Dinamo Zagreb forward Goran Ljubojevic as it aims to win the 2014 Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League season after finishing fourth last year, but attracting fans remains a challenge for Singapore’s premier domestic league competition as it enters its 18th season.

Yesterday, the club unveiled former Croatian under-21 player as their marquee signing for the new season which starts on Feb 21, and Balestier chairman S Thavaneson has urged fans to support the S-League, which has seen average attendances dwindle from more than 2,000 in the late-1990s to a low of 932 in 2012.

“We must be proud of our league, it is our own league after all,” he said at the unveiling ceremony of Ljubojevic yesterday.

“The inclusion of more exciting foreign players will certainly make for a better S-League and help build up the spectators interest.”

S-League Chief Executive Officer Lim Chin added: “Football fans will always want to see good players in action and I hope the introduction of the marqee signings will help boost crowd attendances.”

Ljubojevic, who is believed to command up to S$12,000 a month as a marquee player, has played in the Champions League for Dinamo, and had stints with Swiss side St Gallen and Genk in Belgium.

He is the latest marquee signing for the 2014 S-League season after league champions Tampines Rovers acquired former Serbia international forward Milan Mrdakovic.

Thavaneson hopes the move will attract more fans to Balestier’s 3,800-capacity Toa Payoh Stadium and help improve the club’s fortunes under head coach Marko Kraljevic.

“For a long time we were struggling to stay afloat and we suffered losses year after year,” said Thavaneson.

“But things have improved now and our losses are manageable. And with the S-League coming in to help defray the cost of signing a marquee player, we are able to do so (sign a marquee player) now.”

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