Monday, February 15, 2016


Jaffer Saves Warriors' Blushes In Uniform Derby

10 years ago when I started Jakarta Casual there was no bigger game in Singapore than the Uniform Derby. The clash brought together SAFFC, now of course known as Warriors, and Home United. On the one hand a club with its traditions formed in the armed forces and on the other the civil defence forces; the old bill, fireman sam and his cronies.

These days, with the exception perhaps of 2014 when Warriors were crowned champions, it has become just another SLeague game with Home United especially failing to recapture their days of past glory save for the odd Singapore Cup triumph.

Warriors reacted to a feeble title defence by replacing Alex Weaver initially with Karim Bencherifa but on the eve of the new campaign he was out of a job and in came Jorg Steinbrunner to take the reigns for the season.

There is some optimism surrounding Home for the season ahead but much of it surrounds the two sons of Fandi Ahmad, Irfan and Ikhsan and while they have both shown flashes of their potential they can not be expected to carry the team. For that coach Philippe Aw will be looking to 24 year old Khairul Nizram to stay injury free and finally deliver on the potential he showed back in his Young Lions days.

And it was Nizam who drew first blood last night for the Protectors, netting on the 18th minute at Bishan Stadium. Jonathon Behe, a French striker once of BEC Tero, equalised from the spot on 35 minutes and the two sides went in level at half time.

The pacy defender Sirina Camera made it 2-1 to Home United just five minutes from the end but any hopes Aw may have held for a win in the first game of the season were dashed when substitute Fazli Jaffer netted a last minute equaliser to send the Warriors fans at least home happy at a point salvaged at the death. The only dark cloud on the Warriors performance perhaps was the late red card for Madhu Mohana.

In the other SLeague game last night Young Lions, proud holders of a record SLeague sponsorship deal, defeated Balestier Khalsa 1-0 with Fareez Farhan scoring the only goal halfway through the first half.

Tonight sees big spenders Tampines Rovers take on Geylang International in the East Coast Derby which will be played in West Jurong. It makes sense in Singapore. Early reports suggest Jermaine Pennant will be on the bench as he recovers from injury. The Stags of course have already played one game, losing 3-1 to Mohan Bagun in the ACL Play Offs.

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