• Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Old is gold for Lions first 11.

Jun 1, 2021 ,

If the average age of the Singapore Lions first 11 against Afghanistan is anything to go by, then it is surely that old is gold.

Which then throws into question the age ruling in the Singapore Premier League, which have been in place since 2018.

The under-23 ruling in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) has been a feature since the 2018 season with under-23 players being forcibly given opportunities to play.

However, among Tatsuma Yoshida’s first 11 against Afghanistan only had only ONE player who was below the age of 23. 

The youngest player on the pitch when the match started was Ilhan Fandi, who is 19-years-old and who plays for the Young Lions.

None of the players in the first 11 were under-23 players who are fielded in the local SPL clubs.

And the average age of the first 11 for the match was 29. 

Seven of the first 11 were 30-years-old and above.

Name of Player Age this year
Izwan Mahbud 31
Nazrul Nazari 30
Madhu Mohana 30
Irfan Fandi 24
Shakir Hamzah 29
M Anumanthan 27
Shahdan Sulaiman 33
Yasir Hanapi 32
Gabriel Quak 31
Hafiz Nor 33
Ilhan Fandi 19
Average age 29

The average age would have been higher if Ikhsan Fandi was started instead of his younger brother Ilhan.

What’s also obvious is that among the first 11, none had come through the special ruling as most of the players who were under 30 were already being eyeballed by national selectors.

Let’s compare this team to the first eleven of the Singapore side who won the Tiger Cup in 2004 under Radojko Avramovic.

Name of PlayerAge in 2004
Lionel Lewis 22
Aide Iskandar 29
S Subramani 32
Daniel Bennett 26
Baihakki Khaizan 20
Goh Tat Chuan 30
Shahril Ishak 20
Hasrin Jailani 29
Agu Casmir 20
Itimi Dickson 21
Indra Sahdan Daud 25
Average age 24.9
PHOTO: SPORTFIVE – Singapore vs Myanmar, second semi-final

If a policy which has been in place since 2018 is not good enough to produce even one player for the first eleven, the question needs to be asked about the point of the discriminatory policy and whether the policy serves the greater good of the football eco-system.

Just based on this selection of Tatsuma’s first eleven alone, it is quite clear that the policy has been a failure.

Main Photo: FAS


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