Friday, November 27, 2009

WORST losers of knockout competition

This week saw the penultimate games of the Uefa Champions League's group stages. As some of the reputable teams battle it out to stay in the competition, I felt that perhaps it was time to share this mindset of mine about knockout games which I have had for a long time.

Perhaps in many people's opinion, the greatest losers of a knockout competition is the losing finalist.

However, to me, the losing semi-finalists are the worst losers.Why?

Think about it, you spend so much time and effort in knockout games, maybe taking an eye off your league competition, only to get as far as the semifinals. If its a 2 legged affair, you go through 180 mins of battle only to find yourself slipping at the last hurdle to reach a final.

At least the losing finalist had an opportunity, a 50-50 one off chance to win the competition in the final. So in this sense, the heartache is not as painful as teams which lose the semis.

Maybe one could argue progressing through different stages earn you some revenue and bonuses. But I feel these are small consolations. You can concentrate on doing better in the league.

So I have always hope the teams I support can kick out of a knockout competition like the UCL around the second round stage. Especially if I think they are not capable of going all the way.


So Liverpool fans, if you are tormented by the Red Devils' fans now, dun fret, I think the Devils will probably be just making up the numbers in the competition :D

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Raddy's quotes - taken off ST

As the Lions prepared for the Thailand double header 2 weeks ago, a ST journalist wrote an article on the gaffer and these quotes came from it.

With regards following a team:

"You don't come only if you are 100% sure if your team will win, you come and support despite whoever your team is playing. It is your team, it is part of you."

This is indeed an excellent quote :D

Raddy also noted:
"Winning a trophy in an empty stadium is not the right feeling".

About the 2nd point, probably Raddy should never need to worry. Singaporeans will never abandon their team especially if we are playing a match where a win will earn us a trophy. Correct? Haha..

Friday, November 20, 2009

Had a good time surfing through the local websites and watching SportsCentre and Eurosports yesterday. Just some thoughts I like to share:

1st issue: There are knifes ready for Ridhuan's head
Wow. I didnt know so many people are calling for him to be dropped. Seriously, if Jiayi had been fit, I wonder if Ridhuan would have played. But Raddy has all along wanted pace down the wings.

Seriously, his performances had been atrocious to say the least. A comparison with the activity down our left wing would really prove the point. But to his credit, he has been tracking back well to counter the effects of Sutee.

Then again, if Khairul can track back and yet attack a certain Suree Sukha, the fact that Rangsan is not in Suree's mould would once more question Ridhuan's attacking ability.

Basic expectations of a wide midfielder is to either deliver crosses/beat defenders (preferably both), track back and help full back. It seems he has not been able to meet the requirement in an attacking sense.

That probably explains the local fans getting sick of his performances and calling for the return of the prodigal son Ahmad Latiff ( there actually is a Facebook page petitioning for his return! well done ).

A.L.K aside, in my mind, accoring to form & performances this season, I would put reckon the Ali brothers, Jamil and Noor and even youngster Yasir Hanapi for that right midfield spot. Suppose Jamil Ali would be my first choice.

2nd issue: Found a supporter for my idea of Isa Halim at rightback on Kallang roar forum
Even if Baihakki is playing at his best, he is still not a rightback. Mat Noh is a steady, competent defender, but has lost tat bit of pace which he used ot have and I believe a defensive midfield role would suit him best.

Isa started off as a rightsided player (he played all right sided positions at Woodlands before and impressed many) but converted to a central midfield at Young Lions. But the past S-League season has seen Sivaji utilised him as a right full back for Home U.

He is probably Raddy's 4th choice CM. So why not put him at right back? Pacier and better technique than Bai & Noh, less rash than Bai, taller than Noh with defensive capabilities at least on par with the other two.

ISN'T HE THE PERFECT CHOICE FOR RIGHT FULL BACK? Actually i see a bit of Kadir Yahaya in him.. haha.

Another choice would be Jumaat Jantan, who is a real workhorse down the wings. Perhaps he is not as solid defensively but in my opinion give him time and he ll show to be a better choice than Bai & Noh.

Its time for drastic measures and I have done it. Hopefully Raddy will read my message I sent him and ponder about it.

3rd issue: Referee had stamps on his eyes, cant blame Thierry
Come on, it was straight forward, Henry should not be a labelled a cheat when simply the match officials did not pick the incident up and you could see it was unintentional, due to the bounce, more of a reflex action than a blatant attempt.

That said, Ireland may still end up on the losing side at PKs though they have Shay Given. Who dare say definitely they will win the PKs? Would it have been more disappointing to lose on PKs? That said, yes the Irish was denied a chance..

For sure , it is FIFA who cocked up the chances of Trap's men. A last minute decision to draw playoff contenders according to FIFA rankings is the real reason behind this whole mess. That should be the thing we should be focusing on guys..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ex-SAF FC combination seals 1-0 win @ Rajamagala

Had problems loading the game but finally caught the game 18mins in. Luckily I managed to catch the goal and i treated my neighbours to a roar of 'GOAL!!'

As I had said pre-match blog entry, we managed to bounce back and the Lions played to their ability finally. A far cry from their performance on Sat.

By HT, Lions 1 nil up through a Duric header off Shaiful's corner. Really hope they can hang on to it since we knew the Thais would come at them in hte 2H.

Passing is more decent today. The team have been doing well. Restricting the Thais who haven created much. Was hoping that the midfield can hold, after Farra got injured, but Noh Rahman gave a stellar performance in a position more suited for his attributes nowadays.

Hariss was lucky not to have been sent off in 2H due to second yellow. Defence held on well. Could have got a 2nd goal from Khairul.

Though there were a few scares, Hassan was not really troubled.

I told many people that the Lions can play football. They probably forgot how we dominated against Vietnam in last year's Suzuki Cup but lost unluckily.

Last Saturday was merely that they didnt turn up.

Yes there are a couple of players who probably are on the line, but trust Raddy to get rid of them when the time comes.

I admit the Lions are not very good, but they are not as lousy as what critics write them as.

Now for Iran on 6 Jan 2010. I think it will be realistic to aim for a draw in that game. A draw would force Iran to get a result in their last game @ Azadi against the Thais.

We generally can perform against the bigger teams. Expect to hom many men behind the ball and counter attacking.

Think its scheduled for Bishan. Surely we can packed that stadium?

Nov 18 - Rajamangala Stadium

Its as well that the game tonight is not shown live, just in case the Lions cock up again.

Having it delayed probably give people a good chance to know result first before watching it.

If the Lions get a credible score, which i think they will, it will great for all to watch the game and be proud of them.

Personally, it just struck me that the past 2 clashes at Kallang with the so-called South-east asia big guns nowadays (i.e. Thailand & Vietnam - lost 0-1 in 2008 Suzuki Cup), we have lost. And on both occasions, both games were shown live on TV. Could the live telecast be a jinx? Or the Lions are mentally weak when they are on TV?

Tonight will present the Lions with a chance for redemption. First and foremost, we know that Thailand is a formidable team, this has never been in question. But to a certain extent, I do agree a comment that Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand and more or less on par in the region.

The main thing is that the Lions failed to perform and show their ability last Saturday night at home and that the Thais played brilliantly.

I am of the opinion that tonight we will see the fighting spirit of the Lions in bouncing back from adversity tonight.

In the past years, they have tend to perform when people write them off. I hope tonight they will be able to do the same.

We can take heart that the Thais did lose 1-2 in Bangkok to Vietnam in last year's Suzuki Cup 1st leg final. However superb are their techincal skills, they have shown a tendency to be mentally suspect when things don't go their way. I just hope that the Lions (esp Baihakki, can keep their concentration for 90 mins and not be rash).

Plan would probably to keep things tight at the back and cut down spaces in midfield.

The hype of Shaiful in the first leg probably went overboard. I feel that tonight's game could be where his set pieces expertise would be more relied on than the 1st leg.

The fact is that the Lions can play, in a short spell last Saturday, they did show that and troubled the Thais. So they are not as worthless as what people are saying.

So stand up & be counted Lions, show what you are really worth tonight. From Hassan to Aleks, C'mon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Local Football Oscars 2009 (ala Serie A style)

Top 5 Impressive Foreign Players:

Ojimi Obatola (Gombak) – Not much is needed to justify this selection. 24 goals and a key member to Darren Stewart. Once again, he led the Bulls’ attack well, even though sometimes from left midfield. An area of improvment I have for him is about his mental attributes. If OJ can stay calm and keep his emotions in check for a full 90 mins, he will definitely be a better player.

Miro Latiak (Geylang) – The Eagles midfield engine room. His high workrate and penetrative runs are a joy to watch. Has built on his debut season in ’08. A similar player to 1999’s Player of the Year, Zsolt Bucs.

Gabriel Obadin (Young Lions ) – A calm, composed defender who commands the young team’s defence. Also among the top goalscorers of the team, especially during the start of the season where the team was struggling for goals.

Murphy Wiredu (Sengkang) – Fiesty, determined attacking midfield player with an eye for goal. Win challenges in midfield too. His workrate is infective. Has been the delight of the Hougang faithful this season.

Choi Dong Soo (Super Reds) – Lively winger cum forward who was highly involved in his team attacking moves. Delight to watch when he is in dazzling form trying to leave defenders in his wake. One of those who have kept up with his standard the previous year and built on it.

*players who did not last a full season are not considered

Some Notably Disappointing Foreign Players:

Benoit Croissant (Tampines) – Having played for Sheffield United and in the Bahrain league previously, I thought the Frenchman was rather disappointing this season. Initially, heard he had problems settling in due to communication with his teammates at the Stags (Jap import Seiji Kaneko) and was benched sometimes. Was generally ordinary in his performances. But recovered towards the end when he played more and even scored a good goal in Stags’ last home game.

Zakaria Yousif a.k.a Mido (Woodlands) – I guess we couldn’t have expected too much from a budget player, but his strike partner Moshee proved otherwise. Basic problem was not scoring enough. But in the limited times I have seen him, his touches hadn’t impress me.

Teerawekin Seehawong (Gombak) – The midfield maestro used to be a key clog in the Bulls midfield with his workrate and key passes. Hampered by injuries during pre-season and never really found his true form.

Anthony Bahadur (Sengkang) – This young player started well but faded as the season went on as he became a benchwarmer. Not sure of exact reasons, but his performances faded as a result. Do not seem likely to be seen around next season.

*players who did not last a full season are not considered

Most promising foreigner:

Mamadou Diallo (Sengkang) – Has shown a bag of trickery that have bamboozled even Dan Bennett and the league’s best defence in Tampines. Done well making a step up from the Prime League. Playing alongside his brother, ex-Gombak starlet Abdoulaye, has certainly helped. Needs to work hard on his final passes and composure in front of goal. A crowd thriller that guarantees your ticket price.

Season to forget for:

Home United & PN Sivaji – In my view, Home U had assembled a team of such depth which could have easily gone on to win the title of if not push SAF all the way. The fact that it did not is unbelievable. Coach Sivaji admitted he had 2 teams of 11 which he rotated quite a bit. There was also mid-season addition of Isa Halim to the ranks. Although, they had the distraction of the AFC Cup, the fact that Home Utd players (i.e. Jiayi, Kengne, Peres did not light up the league in a way they should have is still really disappointing.

Season to remember for:

Yazid Yasin (Geylang) – After moving from Woodlands, Yazid played a tremendous role throughout the campaign, especially the later part of the season where the Eagles were embarking on their cup run which to Yazid’s consecutive cup final appearance. In many of the games, he was simply majestic.

Jamil Ali (Woodlands) – From a usual squad player status, the dimunitive winger/fwd became an indispensible player to the Rams this season as he stepped up, playing in central midfield in a couple of matches too. Generally had a good season under the tutelage of Coach Nenad and has rightly earned a move to the big guns in the East for the new season (he’s heading to be a Stag right?).

Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (SAF) – The Warriors’ only major transfer deal at the start of the season besides Park Tae Won provided balance and added quality on the wings. Initially brought in to complement Shaiful Esah, his performances actually relegated Shaiful to the bench for a period of time.

Shukor Zailan (Tampines) – The central midfielder was one of the most improved player I have seen, especially towards the end when he stepped in for Mustafic who left for the ISL. Plucked from the substitutes of Home U, he was initially playing second fiddle to Aki & Farra but has since established himself well enough for him to be treated as an integral part of Tampines’ spine in their rebuilding efforts next season.

Masrezwan Masturi (Geylang) – This is a classic story. Having been dwindling on the sidelines for the past few years, the Venga-discovered former Woodlands wonder boy finally seemed to have hit his true potential after recovering from a serious injury. His form coincided with the Eagles’ good run in the second half of the season and subsequently earned a national recall. Hopefully he stays injury-free next season and we could see the best form for club and country.

Players who seemed to have gone backwards: Razaleigh k, S.Fadhil, Tengku M (I should not dwell too much about them, basically their standards seemed to have dropped over the past few seasons. same could be said of a certain player-coach who turned coach mid-season)
**(Opinions are purely personal, hope no offence is taken. those awarded must not be too proud too and should continue to work hard)

Monday, November 9, 2009


8 November 2009 has earned itself a place in Geylang United’s history books after the Eagles rounded off a fine 2009 campaign in style by overcoming their underdog tag to clinch the Singapore Cup.

It was the first piece of silverware that the once all-conquering giants of local football took home in eight long years.

In front of a vociferous crowd of 5,870, the Eagles showed character, resilience and discipline to outwit the smooth passing Thai outfit Bangkok Glass through a solitary strike from substitute Hafiz Rahim in the 82th minute.

Man-of-the match Yazid Yasin was in the form of his life, proving to be a one-man wall on many occasions as he repelled the Thais repeatedly to keep his team in the game. His performance was capped by a superb penalty save in the 87th minute.

Coach Mike Wong made one change to his previous starting eleven as he reinstated club captain Noor Ali into a packed midfield.

The Eagles started the match tentatively as they allowed the Thais the early possession. It was only in the 13th minute that the team put together their first inventive move of the night through a counter attack involving Syed Thaha, Miroslav Latiak, Kim Jae Hong and Noor which led to a corner.

From the ensuing set-piece, the Thais broke swiftly to the other end as dangerman Gbenga Ajayi warded off two challenges before unleashing a shot which Yazid palmed away.

Five minutes later, Masrezwan Masturi (Mas) picked up a loose ball and drove at the Thai team backline. As the defence closed him down, Mas laid the ball out wide to Noor who then picked him out with a first time cross but the latter could not make a clean connection.

Ajaki was proving to be a handful for the Eagles and in the 33th minute, the Nigerian raced into the box and pulled the ball back for his strike partner. Luckily, Walid Lounis managed to deflect the effort to safety.

Geylang was getting into the game gradually and two freekicks either side of the half-time break almost provided the breakthrough.

As the game headed to first half injury time, Kim went on a solo run after being played through by Adrian Dhanaraj before being chopped down unceremoniously by the Thais’ captain Amnart.
Off Latiak’s powerpack attempt which deflected off the wall, Kim stole in and tried to nick the ball past keeper Klisana but the angle was just too tight.

The Korean then curled a brilliant left-foot set-piece attempt himself which narrowly missed the goal three minutes after the break.

Through another counter in the 63th minute, Latiak raced down at goal after Noor had played him in with a delightful chip, however, an unexpected bounce off the artificial turf allowed the Thais’ defence to recover and clear the danger.

It sparked Bangkok Glass into action as they started a series of intense bombardment of the Eagles’ goal soon after with playmaker Peeraphong in the thick of things.

The No. 23 gave the slip to both Adrian and Rastislav Belicak in the 64th minute before testing Yazid with a stinger from inside the box which the keeper responded with a brilliant save.

Eight minutes later, Peeraphong’s fierce drive from the edge of the box again needed the intervention of the increasing busy Yazid.

Next, a far post header back across goal from a corner situation for the Thais soon after bounced dangerously just in front the Eagles goal. Once again Yazid showed great agility to punch clear as the Eagles sought to weather the storm.

Geylang rode their luck and their determination was rewarded in the 82th minute. Klisana flapped at Kim’s corner and a goalmouth melee ensued.

Within the space of seconds, Noor and Hafiz Rahim – who had come on ten minutes earlier for Mas, saw their efforts cannoned off the woodwork.

As it is, Lady Luck smiled at the Eagles in the pinball situation as the ball fell at the feet of Hafiz a second time and this time, the striker who had been unlucky with injuries the past few seasons, produced an unerring finish as the fans in green roared in absolute joy.

A controversial decision from the match officials minutes later then had the Eagles’ fans up in protest.

Referee Kenny Ng had waved play on when Ajaki went down under a challenge inside the box. However, the referee overruled his decision when he saw the linesman flagging and instead gave the Thais a penalty kick.

Geylang players disputed the decision and Kim was booked for carrying his arguments too far.
The stage was set for Yazid to play hero yet again and the Geylang custodian obliged by pulling off a stunning save from Supachai.

Frustration soon took over the Thais and substitute Nantawat was given a straight red card in the 90th minute for a tackle from behind on Kim.

The Eagles held on for the remaining three minutes of added time and joyous scenes soon broke out at the final whistle.

Coach Mike Wong post-match attributed this tremendous cup run to the fantastic team spirit in the dressing room and revealed that he is hoping to build on this success for next season which will also see a return to the AFC Cup for the Eagles.

While the Eagles celebrate this latest success, we all hope that this will be the start of a new dawn for Geylang United in the coming seasons.

(article taken off Hugo Ng's article from Geylang United FC website)

Friday, November 6, 2009



To all EPL-loving Singaporeans, this one u simply have NO excuse not to support the Lions. Cos its an intl wkend! Go get yr butt down to Kallang on Nov 14!

Singapore Cup final

Was delighted to get Latiak's jersey at the Jurong West Stadium on Monday. Now will have to check with GUFC what jersey colour the Eagles will be wearing on Sunday.

I expect the team to be on the backfoot for most of the game, defending. So hopefully, Yazid Yasin can keep the team in the game and the forwards can really take their chances.

Suppose only those with Tampines Rovers' conenctions will be rooting for Surachai's Bangkok Glass due to AFC Cup reasons. Lets hope the prize money stays within local soil.

This is going to be a prelude to Singapore vs Thailand in a week's time too.

So come on, Geylang boleh! Give me something to cheer for on Sunday @ JBS!