Monday, March 31, 2014


SLeague Needs More Singaporean Goalscorers?

Young Lions v Tanjong Pagar United 2-3 (Amy Saimon, Muhaymin Salim; Zerka Monsef 3)
Woodlands Wellington v Albirex Niigata 1-1 (Chang Jo Yoon' Taiyo Nishida)
Home United v Hougang United 2-2 (Bruno Junichi, Fazrul Nawaz; Geison De Carvalho Moura, Diego Gama De Oliviera)
Tampines Rovers v Harimau Muda 3-2 (Noh Alam Shah, Miljan Mrdekovic, Roberto Martinez; Akhir Bahari, Nurshamil Ghani)
Balestier Khalsa v Warriors 2-2 (Goran Ljubojevic, Paul Cunningham; Miroslavi Pejic, Nicholas Velez)
Geylang International v DPMM 1-1 (Ichikawa Yuki; Rodrigo Tosi)

The last round of SLeagie games played over the last few days. 6 games, 22 goals. Now, remove DPMM, Albirex, Young Lions (they have to choose local players, it is their raison d'etre) and Harimau Muda from that list and you are left with 16 goals scored by the 8 teams.

Only Noh Alam Shah and Fazrul Nawaz are Singaporean!

Fazrul, Yasir Hanapi (Home United 2 goals) and Taufiq Ghani (Woodlands) are the only local players, outside of Young Lions, to have netted more than two goals this campaign.

6 - Miljan Mrdakovoc (Tampines Rovers)
5 - Miroslav Pejic (Warriors)
4 - Goran Ljubojevic (Balestier Khalsa), Rodrigo Antonio Tosi (DPMM), Geison Moura (Hougang United)

The likes of Shafiq Ghani and Khairul Amri (LionsX11) and Shahril Ishak (Jhor Darul Takzim II) are playing in the Malaysia Super League.

Where does this leave the SLeague? Is it, as some claim, just a aged pit pony waiting to be put out of its misery? Or is it an opportunity for other players to stake their claim, an opportunity to raise their own individual bar?

When it comes to Singapore, I tend to be a pot half full kinda guy. I have to be or I would go crazy! Rather than complain about the terminal decline, I would rather point to the recent progress of a team like Tanjong Pagar who joined as many were waiting for the last rites. I point to the ASEAN Cup and of course LionsXII winning the MSL.

The problem lies in Lions winning the MSL last season. It puts immense pressure on the coach, Fandi Ahmad, and the players. The FA didn't help matters by having some of the biggest names join the Lions.. Which begs the question...are LionsXII designed to be a surrogate national team and if so, where does that leave the teams in the SLeague?

There are a lot of 'dead' games in the SLeague. Within the league, it doesn't really matter whether or not DPMM, Albirex, Harimau Muda or Young Lions win the league or the cup or even the toss. They can't move into any Asian club competition be it Champions League or AFC Cup.

In effect you are left with a league where 25% of the teams are essentially playing risk free (I know and understand there are professional people behind the clubs and they have the professional mentality that every game must be won) but no one in Niigata, Bandar seri Begawan or Johor will be partying in the streets if they win the SLeague.

The Singapore FA have obviously decided the LionsXII is their priority. Perhaps that needs to change. Yes, the bums on seats at Jalan Besar suggests the fans wanna see the Lions. But perhaps they need to look at what the Malaysians are doing.

They send Harimau Muda to compete in the SLeague. Not their peudo national team but a development team And it is not even their first choice development team/ The first choice are in Queensland! The lot in Singapore are Harimau Muda B while Harimau Muda C are in Malaysia.

But Malaysia's best players are in their top flight division. Malaysia is striving, in its own sweet way to build a strong, local league featuring the top players.

Maybe that is the path Singapore needs to take. They won the MSL already...why not have the Young Lions in the MSL, as LionsXII or whatever, but try and keep the best players at home as much as possible...obviously some players may well be wanted by clubs overseas but then that is called the market.  If they are good enough, they will have their price.

Likewise BPL, MSL top goalscorers are not locals. Rooney? Safee? nah...
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