Monday, September 08, 2014


The City State Derby Preview

After once going 24 years without meeting, tomorrow night sees Singapore and Hong Kong go head to head at the Hougang Stadium for the fourth time in three years!

2013 Hong Kong v Singapore 2-0
2012 Singapore v Hong Kong 2-0
2012 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-0
2006 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-2
2006 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-1
1982 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-1

The Lions will go into the game buoyed with confidence after defeating Papua New Guinea 2-1 though the words of the PNG coach, former Norwich City, Werder Bremen and New Zealand striker, who said he felt the hosts underestimated his team, will act as a warning against complacency.

Hong Kong on the other hand lost 3-1 away to Vietnam over the weekend in their own friendly.

I can't help thinking this meet up should have a better build up rather than the usual anonymity. After all what we have here is two city states founded by the British empire which have now become two of the most thriving economies in the region.

Perhaps we could call it the City State Derby? Or even the Two Trading Hubs Founded By British Colonialists But Now Doing Pretty Well Without Her Maj Thank You Very Much Derby?!

Many years ago I contemplated writing a book about a rail journey between the two cities, starting the journey in Singapore and heading up into Malaysia, Thailand, cheating a bit in Cambodia before riding the Vietnamese rails north via Hue and Hanoi and on into China. It would be a great journey; imagine combing it with football?!

You would have to start of course with a game at Woodlands, close by the new rail terminal in Singapore before crossing the causeway. First stop would be Johor Bahru, home of course to Johor Darul Takzim and Johor Darul Takzim. Next up would be Seremban, from where you could catch a Negeri Sembilan game, before the capital city Kuala Lumpur where you could catch, um, KL.

Continuing north you would reach Ipoh, home of mighty Perak and Butterworth...catch a ferry across the island for a Penang game while Alor Setar (Kedah) and Kuala Bangsar (Perlis) are on the line that heads to Thailand.

Of course these days there are football teams all over Thailand; every province has at least one but most of the southern teams seem to be stuck in the regional league with the possible exception of Songkla United...ok, there is no rail service there these days but the evidence is still to found for the keen.

Closing in on Bangkok and the next team would be Ratchaburi and then of course Bangkok where you could catch Bangkok United. Be warned, Bangkok Glass strictly speaking ain't in Bangkok!

There used to be a couple of trains east to Aranyaprathet, I don't know if they still run but they stop at more hotbeds of Regional League passion like Kabinburi but from Aran where the train ends the border with Cambodia is just a few short kilometres away.

You have to cheat once you get into Cambodia and use other transport to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam but from their you can plug into their network and make your way leisurely up the coast to Hanoi and from there on to China and Hong Kong itself.

What has this got to do with football? Nothing really but would be a fun way for Hong Kong fans to travel home after the game!

in 2013 singapore only lost 1-0
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