Tuesday, 24 May 2011

National Team 33

Following the release of the National Team squad, these are the 33 who will don the colours of the Nation.

1. Lionel Lewis (Home United FC)
2. Juma'at Jantan (Home United FC)
3. Shi Jia Yi (Home United FC)
4. Qiu Li (Home United FC)
5. Hassan Sunny (Tampines Rovers)
6. Shahdan Sulaiman (Tampines Rovers)
7. Shaiful Esah (SAFFC)
8. Fazrul Nawaz (SAFFC)
9. Ismail Yunos (Gombak United FC)
10. Hariss Harun (CYL)
11. Khairul Amri (Persiba Balikpapan)
12. Safuwan Baharudin (CYL)
13. Mustafic Fahrudin (Persela Lamongan)
14. Daniel Bennett (SAFFC)
15. Aleks Duric (Tampines Rovers)
16. Isa Halim (Home United FC)
17. Irwan Shah (CYL)
18. Raihan Rahman (CYL)
19. Faris Ramli (CYL)
20. Shakir Hamzah (CYL)
21. Zulfahmi Arifin (CYL)
22. Afiq Yunos (CYL)
23. Izwan Mahbud (CYL)
24. Delwinder Singh (Tanjong Pagar United FC)
25. Shukor Zailan (Tampines Rovers)
26. Ruzaini Zainal (SAFFC)
27. Sufian Anuar (Home United FC)
28. Andrew Tan (Balestier Khalsa)
29. Nazrul Ahmad Nazari (CYL)
30. Shahril Ishak (Medan Chiefs)
31. Hamqammal Shah (Gombak United FC)
32. Khairul Nizam (CYL)
33. Fazli Ayob (CYL)

Source: Daniel Lau

To be honest, I don't think this squad isn't chosen by merit as what coach Raddy had said. Certainly, if its based on merit, Ahmad Latiff of Tampines Rovers should have been in. Khairul Nizam of CYL, who has missed 8 months of football, should not be in. Certainly, this squad is focused on younger players. There are a few players who deserved to be in the team, some who don't. I do not wish to name names, but certainly, some players were overlooked. This certainly includes Shahril Jantan who have been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the S-League for the past 4 years at least.

Some players in this team have not played much, yet they are in the team. This shows how good they are so perhaps coach Raddy sees something in them. But whatever it is, I'm giving my support to this team and we are ready for Malaysia or Chinese Taipei!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

SAFFC vs Geylang United FC

A Warriors victory, after what it seemed like they have not won for quite some time. I believe it will be a start for them to regain composure and pick up many points along the way.

Like most of the Warriors' game, it was Croatian forward, Mislav Karoglan who drew first blood. This time, he did it within 6 minutes. From a Erwan Gunawan's lifted through ball over the Eagle's defense, Kari showed his class by controlling the ball in the box and calmly finished it pass Yazid Yasin.

It surprised me to see coach Mike Wong starting Korean import Jung Hee Bong as a central defender while starting another Korean, Joo Ki Hwan as a forward. Bong was signed as a forward while Joo was signed as a defender. However, playing in unfamiliar positions, I have to say both did well although both had a shaky start, like when Bong allowed Kari the time and space to control and shoot the ball.

Much of the first half was not entertaining. Most of SAF's attacks came from Erwan Gunawan, Ivan Jerkovic and Mislav Karoglan. Erwan Gunawan was a class above the other local players which included the likes of Masrezwan Masturi and Fazrul Nawaz, whom both had don the national colours. His skills were silky and lethal to a extend that many fouls were committed on him.

Geylang, on the other hand, were playing diagonal balls through their central midfield duo, Shah Hirul and Vasile Ghindaru. The pace of wing men Kim Jae Hong and Hafiz Rahim caused problems to the Warriors' fullbacks, Hafiz Osman in particular, who had often traveled up too often and left a huge space at his right back position.

SAF's second goal came when a long ball was played into the Geylang half and again, the defenders were caught napping. Kari won the ball and Fazrul, using his pace to get past Bong, slotted past Yazid Yasin to make it 2-0.

The second half started like the first. Shah Hirul's diagonal ball found Masrezwan Masturi who knocked the ball to the path of Joo Ki Hwan. Unmarked, Joo graciously accepted the offer and volley the ball home.

However, SAF from the restart, came straight to attack. And within a minute, they were 3-1 up. Kari was at the end of a mis-shot by Fazrul and beat Yazid at the near post. Yet again, poor defending from Geylang.

Kari did test Yazid with a few long shots which Yazid had no problems dealing with. Geylang had to play through the flanks as the middle was always obstructed with Bah Mamadou and Daniel Hammond. Both were solid throughout the game.

Overall, it was a good, yet sloppy performance from the Warriors and slack defending from the Eagles. This is what separates both teams.

Sidhi Cafe's MOM: Mislav Karoglan (SAFFC). Its not hard to see why. Kari was at the end of 2 well taken goals and was involved in the other. He was determined throughout the whole game and showed us why he had played in the UEFA Europa Cup.

My MOM: Erwan Gunawan (SAFFC). He was pure class. A genius on the ball. Not much attention was paid to him but he showed me why he deserves a starting place more often. His ability to take on defenders and pass was a delight. Well done Erwan!

Worst player: Everyone did well this game and it was hard for me to pick one for the first time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Singapore National Team's New 30

Following the announcement of the 30 players in this new look squad, I have in mind who will be in the team. Numbers are in according of positions.

1) Hassan Sunny. Almost faultless in the AFF Suzuki Cup last year.
2) Lionel Lewis. Definite choice in everyone's Singapore team.
3) Shahril Jantan. Warriors' skipper is consistent and his leadership qualities will aid the team.
4) Izwan Mahbud. Young and upcoming goalkeeper for Singapore.
5) Shaiful Esah. Singapore have really missed his set-pieces and will be in the team this time round.
6) Daniel Bennett. Experience, cool-headed defender.
7) Baihakki Khaizan. Solid at the back. His height will be a threat up front too.
8) Bah Mamadou. Always consistent. Believe he will be formidable with either Daniel Bennett or Baihakki.
9) Hafiz Osman. Skilled right back with a lot of overlapping runs that will help the team in attacking.
10) Safuwan Baharudin. Always dependable. His outing in the Asian Games last year proved that he is a mature player.
11) Afiq Yunos. Versatile, young defender who can play at center back or left back.
12) Shakir Hamzah. Like Afiq, he is young and versatile. His long throws is also a weapon.
13) Juma'at Jantan. Aggressive defender who can play on right back or left back. Able to operate as a winger as well.
14) Isa Halim. Mr Workaholic. Works non-stop for the team. Also a hard-tackling midfielder.
15) Mustafic Fahrudin. Like Isa, he is a hard-tackling midfielder. His experience will also be valuable to the team.
16) Shahdan Sulaiman. This man here has matured over the years. His passing will be a delight to watch.
17) Hariss Harun. Singapore's youngest player and most consistent one over the years. Can play as a central midfielder, defensive midfielder or even center back.
18) Izzdin Shafiq. With Hariss, they will form an impressive midfield partnership. His vision and passing skills is an asset.
19) Ahmad Latiff. He is just unstoppable so far. Will be a good option behind the chief striker.
20) Nazrul Ahmad Nazari. Fast, tricky winger. Did well so far in the S-League and last year in the Asian Games.
21) Qiu Li. Best attacking player I have ever seen. His ability to take players on and shoot is second to none.
22) Aliff Shafaein. Little Master is an hidden talent. His size doesn't say that he is a bad player.
23) Shahril Ishak. Skipper of the team and an attacking threat.
24) Khairul Amri. He is not afraid to take on players and is very determined to play.
25) Aleks Duric. Top scorer of the S-League at 41. He shows no sign of slowing down.
26) Noh Alam Shah. 'Along' is the most natural finisher. Good predatory instincts in the box.
27) Fazrul Nawaz. His move to SAFFC has seen revived him. He looks better than before.
28) Masrezwan Masturi. Has the skills to play on the wing and strength to play upfront.
29) Fazli Ayob. Young attacker has proven his worth in the CYL team. Deadly finisher.
30) Shahfiq Ghani. This young man over here certainly is the best young attacker Singapore can have.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Woodlands Wellington vs Tanjong Pagar

Tanjong Pagar finally got their win. It was a well deserved one following their surprised 2-2 draw with giants SAFFC. I believed this would be a start for further great things ahead for the Jaguars.

Woodlands was attacking the Tanjong Pagar goal more with crosses in from both flanks trying to find Brazillian targetman Leonardo Alexio alias Leo. He used his body frame well to win headers and flick ons. His ability to hold up the ball up front was starting to show. However Leo got injured and had to be replaced by the nippy attacker, Nigel Vanu. His introduction allowed Woodlands to attack the flanks more and he did cause problems to Tanjong Pagar defenders.

Tanjong Pagar on the other hand, attacked Woodlands through the middle using Takaya Kawanabe and Hyun Jong Woon's creativity. One such instance had Taka dazzling his way through the Woodlands penalty box and his shot trickled wide of Woodlands goal.

For me, I feel the match-changing situation came when Woodlands' skipper, Sazali Salleh got injured. He pulled the strings in midfield all match and was impressive. A contender for MOM award. His ability to switch plays and play the ball was good. I feel other than Nigel and defender Graham Tatters, he is the only Woodlands player that we can give credit to.

After his injury, Woodlands seem to lost it all and subsequently lost the midfield battle. Taka and Hyun controlled the midfield with the aid of Kim Jong Oh who was the shield in front of Tanjong Pagar's back line. The goal finally came in the 80th minute. Following a Hyun's corner, Taka volleyed the ball into the roof of the net. It was his third 'wonder' goal I suppose. Well deserved goal for his work rate.

It seemed that Terry's charges have gained momentum in the S-League. Following a 2-2 draw with the Warriors and a 1-0 against the Rams, the Jaguars may have picked up some valuable points.

MOM: Takaya Kawanabe (Tanjong Pagar United FC). Impressive display from the Japanese midfielder. He was the heart of most Tanjong Pagar attacks. His goal was another display of his strength - scoring great goals. I see something in this Japanese midfielder. If he keeps going on at this rate, it wouldn't be surprising if bigger clubs sign him or even a move to overseas club may follow suit. Well done.

Worst Player: Goh Swee Swee (Woodlands Wellington FC). Not even close to his standards when he was with Balestier Khalsa and a Home United player. Disappointing. He isn't suited to play on the right flank. He should be put in a central position with Leo. Coach Bala got his tactics wrong.

Monday, 9 May 2011

CYL vs Geylang United

Another great game. I dare to say the S-League is getting much more exciting, but where were the supporters? It worries me sometimes when I see the stadiums not even half-full. Nevertheless, I was relieved when I witnessed yet another exciting game!

The game started slowly, but it got hold of the momentum and it soon turned exciting. Both teams had their fair chances at goal and it was the Courts Young Lions who found the net. Great work from wingman Nazrul Ahmad Nazari who got the ball into the box and forward Fazli Ayob volleyed the ball home. Poor defending however. Soon, Nazrul got his deserved goal at the stroke of half-time after some great play by the Young Lions forwards.

The action wasn't over as straight from the restart, Geylang got their goal from an unselfish play from Kim Jae Hong. Kim was brilliant throughout the game and earned his side a penalty which Vasile Ghindaru converted.  But soon, Young Lions' captain Hariss Harun brought side ahead from a spectacular goal.

Just as the game was heading for a Young Lions victory, Safuwan Baharudin, who was back from NS, conceded a needless penalty after he handled a cross inside his penalty box. Kim, who was outstanding, converted the penalty. A dejected Safuwan stood behind me and was all disappointed when Kim converted the penalty. Heads up young man!

Exciting game, well-taken goals. Now we need the crowd to back the teams whether rain or shine, home or away. The S-League has certainly improved and now we need the supporters to be back! Only they will make the S-League even better than it is!

Man-of-the-Match: Nazrul Ahmad Nazari (Courts Young Lions). Outstanding throughout the 90mins. He was lively, full of running and caused some trouble to Syed Thaha on the right flank and then Syed Fadhil on the left. Talent!

Worst player: Jung Hee Bong (Geylang United). The lanky striker failed to deliver yet again. He is just disappointing and caused little problem to Shakir Hamzah and Safuwan. Step up your game!

Preview of CYL vs GUFC

Was there at this previous meeting when Cantona and Pele was right here in town. I dare to proudly say that I've witnessed a great game. It finished 3-2 to the Young Lions, courtesy of a mistake by the linesman.

Shahfiq Ghani's 2nd goal hit the upright but it did not cross the line. I've sent a text message to Geylang's goalkeeper, Yazid Yasin, asking him if it was a goal. He told me that the ball was no where near the line. From where I was sitting, I'm pretty sure it hit the upright and came out.

This time, the Courts Young Lions are fresh from 3 consecutive defeats and and 6 winless games. Their last win, was coincidentally against Geylang on the 3rd of March. Geylang, on the other hand had mix results. Their last win was a 2-0 victory against Tanjong Pagar. I'm sure they would be much more confident going into this game.

Am predicting a 2-1 win for Geylang. Nothing much to head into this game, but CYL would want to snatch a point in front of their fans.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Game of Great Goals

Back to 'action' at the JBS two days ago. Glad to have been there to witnessed a great game between Home United and Balestier Khalsa. It surprised me to see Fajar Sarib start ahead of Lionel Lewis for home. Perhaps coach Lee gave Lionel some deserved rest.

The game started brightly. Home got the goal within 10 minutes. Qiu Li created some space in the box and fired the ball within Balestier's Joey's reach. Good goal. He's second was superb. He got the ball somewhere 35 yards from the goal. Seeing an opportunity, he fired the ball and it was dipping and from where I was sitting, I knew it was a goal. Even the cameraman behind me was stunned. Mendy had a header in between and he did get a good goal. Seeing Joey off his line, he lobbed the ball over him from outside the box. Class.

In the midst of all these, Balestier got their equaliser after Qiu Li's first goal. Glancing header from an out-swinging corner. It was another good goal in the game.

Home's Shi Jiayi then got the 5th. On the right flank, he looked as though he was going to send in the ball. Send in the ball he did, but instead of finding a man in red, it found the net. Poor keeper positioning. Balestier got their consolation goal when again, he headed in from a cross. Mendy who missed a penalty at the death must be cursing himself for missing a hat-trick. Poor penalty.

No doubt it was a great game, but I felt defending was poor. Nevertheless, the small crowd was entertained with 7 great goals, but the crowd was again disappointing. Is there something we can do to improve the crowd?

MOM: Qiu Li (HUFC). Coach Lee got his tactics right. Qiu Li was a free roaming player and he showcased his abilities. His skills on the ball was a delight to watch and 2 great goals. Many more to come ahead of him.

Worst Player: K Sathiaraj. Qiu Li gave him a torrid time and he doesn't look comfortable on the right. He should be played on the left like how he was played last season.