Wednesday, July 30, 2014


An Example Why Singapore Football Needs A Players Union?

Two years ago, he celebrated getting selected to join the LionsXII squad that returned to Malaysia club competitions for the first time since 1994.

Now, former national defender Sevki Sha'ban finds himself fretting over how he is going to feed his family.
On Monday, Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League club Home United terminated his contract, without any compensation, for "underperformance and unsatisfactory work".

However, Sevki, 30, did not play a single minute of S.League football for the Protectors this season after falling out of favour with coach Lee Lim Saeng.

Home did not shed more light into the sacking, and responded to The New Paper's queries by saying: "All player and club matters are confidential and any relevant information will be shared at an appropriate time."

Sevki, a father-of-three, refused to comment on the Protectors.

He explained that he had more pressing issues on his mind.

He told TNP: "I never saw it (the sacking) coming. Of course, the main thing I'm worried about is my income. It's not good news to get just before Hari Raya.

"Thankfully, I've had the full support of my wife and family, who have encouraged me to stay strong."
The immediate future for Sevki looks bleak.

The S.League's transfer window was closed on June 27, meaning he is not allowed to sign for another S.League club until the end of the year.

The LionsXII are also unable to sign players ahead of the Malaysia Cup tournament as the Malaysian transfer window is closed, too.

TNP understands that Sevki is waiting on the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to see if it can make an exception and allow him to sign for another local club before the end of the year.

FAS' marketing and communications director Gerard Wong said: "FAS is aware of this case between Home United and Sevki Sha'ban.

"The case will be going before the FAS Player Status Committee for hearing and adjudication. As such, I am afraid we are not able to comment further on this."

It has been a tough 18 months for Sevki, who has represented Singapore seven times.

He picked up an anterior cruciate injury in October 2012 which ruled him out of the Lions' triumphant AFF Suzuki Cup campaign two months later.

After leaving the LionsXII, he signed a two-year contract with Home United before the start of the 2013 S.League season, and made 14 appearances for the Protectors that year, including one in their 4-1 win over Tanjong Pagar in the RHB Singapore Cup final.

But he has since fallen down the pecking order at Home.

Sources told TNP that his relationship with coach Lee soured to the point that, towards the end of his time at the club, Sevki was asked to sit out training sessions.

When the S.League's mid-season window opened on June 2, he was told by Home that he was free to leave, but it is believed that the defender was unwilling to take a significant pay-cut to join Hougang United.

Woodlands Wellington coach Salim Moin, who worked with Sevki when he was at Gombak United in 2006, said he is dismayed by what has happened to his former captain.

"Sevki is a very dedicated, quality leader and he's a responsible person," said Salim. "He's always early at training and always gives his 100 per cent in training and games.

"He's not someone you think would give you any problems, so I'm very shocked Home terminated his contract."


COMMENT - a bit late but I am not sure if this is actually legal or not but hey in South East Asia clubs do what they hell they want. Another reason why Singapore needs a players union but no doubt the FAS and the clubs will not be happy about that. Just like they ain't happy in Indonesia!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Division One Groups

Krakatau Steel Stadium, Cilegon

PS Pidie Jaya, PSGL Gayo Lues, Cilegon United, PSP Padang

Moh Sarengat Stadium, Batang

Persibat Batang, Perserang, Persatu Tuban, Persibas Banyumas

Perseden Stadium, Bali

Perseden Denpasar, Persipani Paniai, Persiko Kota Sorong, PS Bandung

Games to be played between 18-23 August but don't ask who plays who on which day. Top 2 from each group go through to the next stage which could well be played in September.

Friday, July 25, 2014


ISL To Be Stopped For Under 23 Event

What do clubs like Persikabo, Persis, Persiba Bantul and Persijap have in common. Probably with several others? They have no money. Of course they have no money. Even though club must go through a verification process, they still have no money.

One reason why they h ave no money? They have played no football since early June and won't play any more until early August. No football means no gate money. And most clubs here don't have the wherewithall to do things like thing about cash flow. So they just don't pay anyone and hope the problem will solve itself.

Happens every year. I know it, you know it, hell even Mabel knows it. But nothing is done about it. Instead, it looks like the organisers of the league go out of their way to make things as awkward as possible for the clubs.

The ISL began early February.

24/02 - 06/03 - break to prepare for Asian Cup qualifier...a tournament Indonesia had no chance of qualifying for.

20/03 - 11/04 - a break for the general election

05/05 - 16/05 - mid season break!

12/06 - 08/08 - break for World Cup, fasting month, presidential election and the post fasting month holiday

19/09 - 04/10 - break for Asian Games (an Under 23 competition).

When the schedule was first drawn up back in January, there were going to be:

11/09 - 31/10 - play offs between top four Western and Eastern conference

05/11 - 11/11 - semi finals

15/11 - ISL grand final.

They may change now. The ISL has already been put back a few days but this stop for the Asian Games just makes a mockery of the league. With only 11 teams in each conference, they only need play 20 games to finish the season proper. Yet here we are at the end of July and, after nearly six months, they can't even manage that!

20/11 - 20/12 - ASEAN Cup

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Brunei Keeper Nicked For Thieving

BRUNEI’S goalkeeper for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy football competition Mohammad Fakhrul Zulahzmi Yussof, 23, was imposed a $1,500 fine yesterday after he pleaded guilty of stealing gas cylinders.
The court document submitted by prosecuting officer Emily Goh states that Mohammad Fakhrul stole three gas cylinders from two houses on July 20.
At the first house in Kg Pancha Delima, he acted as a lookout for a friend who went into the house. Mohammad Fakhrul then went to a house in Kg Lambak Kanan later that night and stole two gas cylinders after using a metal cutter to cut open the padlock of the storage compartment. These gas cylinders were then sold off to an Indian man for $30 each at Kg Burung Pingai. During the proceedings yesterday before Magistrate Hjh Ervy Sufitriana Hj Abd Rahman, Mohammad Fakhrul told the court that he committed the offence because he desperately needed money to get his phone back.
Mohammad Fakhrul said that he had put his phone up as collateral when he borrowed money from a friend.
He said his phone would not be returned if he did not pay back the money by midnight, adding he did not want to ask the money from his parents.
“I promise not to re-offend. I have a tournament for Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy soon. If possible I would pay back for the gas cylinders. I feel very remorseful,” said Mohammad Fakhrul. He has no previous conviction on record.

COMMENT - shariah punishment?


No Rest For Under 19s

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (23 July 2014) – Indonesia plan to send their Under-19 team to the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) 2014 even though the tournament is for players under the age of 21-years-old.
Indonesia were the losing finalist two years ago.
“We don’t have much information from Jakarta (ain't that the truth!) but I heard that Indonesia will be sending their national U19 team with some players from the U21 team,” said Deputy Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei Pribadi Sutiono.
“I was told that the team is a good one and I am looking forward to the tournament. I think we are in a very challenging group but the countries in Group A are just as strong. There are a lot of good teams.”
Following the official draw this week, Indonesia have been placed in Group B against hosts Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Group A are Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor Leste and two-time champions Thailand.
“We have always competed in this tournament since the beginning in 2002. We were champions at that time and that showed how important the tournament is to us,” said the deputy ambassador.
“This is a very good tournament and a very good one for the Indonesians living here.”
Organisers have also decided to allow each country to register five over-aged players and field three at any one time.
COMMENT - I am not surprised there is not much information. What about the somewhat minor point that Indonesia U19 were down to play in a competition in Spain from 10 August? This here HBT kicks off 8 August. Are there now two U19s, have they been double booked or have they pulled out of the Valencia competition?


A Football Whine

Back in the day, I hated pre season. That lull between the end of May and early August when the new season started. I used to be on the phone almost daily to the Arsenal, 01-226-0304 back then (that was without looking!), to find out what friendlies were on the horizon.

I missed the start of the 1983 season. Unemployment didn't really allow for much in the way of an overseas jaunt following the Arsenal but I made up for it in 1984 (Germany and Netherlands) and 1986 (Ireland). I miss all that. Going to different places, bumping into lads you normally saw in different parts of the country. Over land and sea, we were there for the Arsenal.

I recall hitching round southern Ireland for a couple of friendlies, getting home and finding out we had a game scheduled at Southend. A friendly at Windsor and Eton, getting stuck in traffic outside Portsmouth.

Happy days but there was next to no coverage of them in the media. Just a hardy few who went to the games and still recall minute details 30 years on.

Cannot even compare with today. The internet and the global interest in a handful of English clubs means the coverage is 24/7 and doesn't ease up. It doesn't seem to be enough now for a team to have a cuple of pictures from a friendly in the programme. Now, we have photographers and players posting pictures non stop, there are constant updates on the website. And folks around the world are lapping it up. As I type this, people in Indonesia are forsaking their journey back to their home village to watch Manchester United play LA Galaxy in a friendly!

We have another channel that has shown friendlies featuring the likes of Hearts and Bayer Leverkusen!

And the local game? Well, a mix of the election and the fasting month means the game is in another period of hibernation with just a few low key friendlies arranged at the last minute to whet the appetite.

Did you know, for example, Sarawak are in town? A pretty big club by Malaysian standards I am sure you will agree, they were hoping to play Persib, PSIS and Persebaya. And they played? Villa 2000 and Cilegon United at a field on a military base!

The local papers are filled with tales of clubs arranging friendlies before cancelling them. Arranging then cancelling. And so on.

As ever, no one can organise anything decent because no one has the authority to actually make things happen. Juventus are coming next month but that is taking a private organisation to make it happen. No one else can guarantee security permission.

Admittedly, this is an odd year with the elections and the fasting month coinciding. But it would be nice if in future seasons we can have people sit down and try and come up with something constructive through a long break rather than the current one month of slow news days. People still want their football and as the local game constinues to do nothing, so the European teams tighten their grip.

Surely it is not beyond the wit of someone to a team like Persib going to play a couple of games in Malaysia?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Singapore League Cup Finals

Plate Final - 24/07 Tampines Rovers v Balestier Khalsa
Cup Final - 25/07 Tanjong Pagar v DPMM

Both ties to be played at Jalan Besar Stadium.

DPMM making their third consecutive appearance in the final; they lost to Balestier Khalsa last year and defeated Geylang 2-0 the year before. They also won the Cup back in 2009. In fact, Balestiers success last year was the first time a Singapore team had won the pissant little pot since 2008 when Gombak United had won it, defeating Korean Super Reds in the final.

In fact, it does seem the local clubs don't really care too much about it judging by the finalists over the years.

2007 Woodlands v Sengkang Punggol 4-0
2008 Gombak United v KSR 2-1
2009 DPMM v SAFFC 1-1 (DPMM win on pens)
2010 Etoile v Woodlands 3-1
2011 Albirex Niigata v Hougang United 0-0 (AN win on penalties)
2012 DPMM v Geylang 2-0
2013 Balestier Khalsa v DPMM 4-0

Then we have that Plate nonsense

2012 Balestier Khalsa v Young Lions 1-0
2013 Harimau Muda v Young Lions 2-0

Coming next season, losers will compete for the Cheese Grater, the Soup Spoon and the Napkins.


ISL All Stars Squad v Juventus

I cringe even having to write all stars or selection, I really do. Anyways, here it is...

1 Kurnia Meiga Arema
2 Andritany Ardhiyasa Persija

3 Novan Setia Sasongko Semen Padang
4 Zulkifly Syukur Mitra Kukar
5 Alfin Tuasalamony Persebaya
6 Ahmad Jufriyanto Persib
7 Victor Igbonefo Arema
8 Thierry Gathussie Arema

9 Manahati Lestusen Persebaya
10 Raphael Maitimo Mitra Kukar
11 Firman Utina Persib
12 Konate Makan Persib
13 Gustavo Lopez Arema
14 Esteban Vizcarra Semen Padang
15 Ferdinand Sinaga Persib
16 Ramdani Lestaluhu Persija

17 Emmanuel Kenmogne Persebaya
18 Cristian Gonzales Arema

The coach is Stefan Hansen from Mitra Kukar and the game will be played August 6 at Bung Karno.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


LionsXII Likely To Stick Around

SINGAPORE — The LionsXII are set to participate in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) and Malaysia Cup beyond 2015, when the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in 2011 expires.
Under the MOU, both associations agreed to continue to have a team in each other’s league for developmental purposes, and with one season left, all indications are that the deal will be re-struck.
“We remain deeply appreciative of the opportunity to be part of the MSL, which has helped in the development of young players, provided new career options for some of our players and coaches and also given Singapore football a boost,” said FAS director of marketing and communications Gerard Wong.
The LionsXII made their MSL debut in 2012, finishing runners-up that season before winning the title last year. Although they finished eighth in the MSL this year, FAM secretary-general Hamidin Amin told TODAY the Singaporean side have added value to Malaysia’s premier domestic league competition.
“The LionsXII bring a different kind of excitement to the competition. Being a ‘foreign’ team, it generates a lot attention, which is good for the game. We must also not forget that matches between the LionsXII and the Malaysian teams will help develop the friendship and relationship between the two sets of supporters,” he said.
“I am sure that it has helped the LionsXII improve the skills of their U-23 players and those from the senior team in preparation for international competitions.”
There is a caveat though, as TODAY understands that the FAM is mulling over whether or not to subject the LionsXII to the relegation and promotion rule, and also to fix the quota of players aged under 23 and above that would be allowed in their squad. The FAM takes a lenient stance on the U-23 player rule, as it understands restrictions posed on the LionsXII by Singapore’s National Service policy.
For now, there is no clear guideline on whether the LionsXII would be subject to relegation to the second-tier Malaysian Premier League should they finish in the bottom two of the 12-team MSL.
“I am not at liberty to release the details, but obviously if Singapore is to continue to take part in the MSL, there will have to be some changes,” said Hamidin.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Malaysia Super League Average Attendances

Johor Darul Tazim 23,000 +6.9%
Pahang                   21,545 +7.7%
Sarawak                 16,818 +12.1%
Selangor                14,909 +10.4%
Kelantan                12,727 -15.1%
Perak                       8,445 -6.1%
Terengganu             6,836 -2.3%
LionsXII                 6,093 -3.2%
Sime Darby            4,082 +36%
ATM                       3,818 -4.5%
PKNS                     2,718 +43%
T Team                   1,641 +21.5%

Season Average +13.4%

These numbers compare favourably with Indonesia and exceed those in Thailand. The biggest crowd came at the Shah Alam Stadium between Selangor and JDT which pulled in 80,000; to end with an average below 15,000 suggests Selangor struggled big time at the start of the season when they were forced to play elsewhere.



When In Rome For Indonesia U23s

Ahead of the Asian games later in the year, Indonesia's U23 squad have moved to Italy for a week's training camp.

While there, they have a number of friendlies lined up against local teams of course!

18/07 AS Roma v Indonesia U23
20/07 Lazio v Indonesia U23
23/07 Cagliari v Indonesia U23


NFL Clubs Struggle In Singapore League Cup

The ever confusing League Cup with its plate and other kitchen items has this season included two NFL teams which has done something to make the trophy slightly more interesting than normal.

Police Sports Association were the first to take the field when they took on Albirex Niigata at Jurong East. The Japanese side won 13-0 and the visiting cops ended with 10 men after Hishamudin Khairudin was red carded on 73 minutes.

Kazuya Okazaki hit a hat trick but there is no way I am writing all them names out!

The following night, it was the turn of Singapore Recreation Club. They took on Woodlands Wellington, losing 1-0 with former Gombak defender Mamadou Bah scoring just on the half hour mark.

Things improved somewhat for the cops in their second game when they scored a goal against Tanjong Pagar. Unfortunately for the NFL team, the Jaguars hit seven! It was 6-0 at half time so Police SA emerged with some credit after the break.

SRC continued to prove to be a tough nit to crack, losing 2-0 to Home United in their second game with the Protectors scoring twice in a minute. To be fair, the SRC are no mugs with experienced players like Daniel Hammond and Itimi Dickson in their ranks.

Next up Tampines take on Police SA while SRC face Balestier Khalsa in their final group stage games.

Results may not have gone their way but certainly SRC have shown there is some life in Singapore's notional second tier. I for one would like to see some kind of relegation between the SLeague and the NFL but of course the latter is really little more than a Saturday arvo kick around with your mates and making the commitment to go 'professional' may not be too popular.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?