Category: Sports

DPMM doubt. Fans react.

This weekend’s Singapore Premier League match between Hougang United and defending champions DPMM FC of Brunei has been postponed, the Football Association of Singapore has announced.

However, in its two paragraph statement on its website, the FAS said that “The Football Association of Singapore, who had proposed to the Brunei-based club to be accommodated at Singapore and to play their remaining matches here, is still working with the club for their travel and logistical arrangements to Singapore”, which means that there is still a possibility that the Wasps may find their way to Singapore to finish out the rest of the season, and try to defend its title. 

However, avid Singapore football fan James Lim feels that the uncertainty over DPMM’s status is ‘not helpful’.

In a Facebook post, he said, “An unwanted and not helpful disruption from an already disrupted football calendar. 

“SPL should just allow DPMM to withdraw from this season’s competition instead of having a backlog of matches that is unlikely to be fulfilled later.”

On the AIA Singapore Premier League Facebook page, comments on the post announcing the postponement of the match brought about reactions from fans.

Main Photo: FAS

War over between Singapore Athletics and Soh Rui Yong

The newly elected management team at Singapore Athletics (SA) has ended its dispute with two-time Southeast Asian Games  gold medalist Soh Rui Yong. 

In a statement put up on its website, SA said that “through extensive engagement with Mr Soh by the new leadership in the two weeks since assuming office, we are pleased to announce that the Association and Mr Soh have agreed to put an end to all their disagreements, and double down on efforts to work together for the betterment of the athletics community, the sport, and the nation’s regional and international aspirations.”

The SA said in its statement that it “extends its sincere apology to Mr Soh for any inconvenience and distress that the aforesaid statement caused him” and will also “stand down the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the outgoing management on 25 September 2020 against Mr Soh.”

Soh has also agreed to withdraw all of his lawsuits against the Association. 

The SA also added that it is committed to supporting Mr Soh “to once again don national colours and compete for Singapore against the best in the region and the world”.

In a Facebook post, Soh said, “After 14 months, it’s nice to have the issue finally resolved!  

“I now look forward to breaking new ground by becoming the first Singaporean man to qualify for the Commonwealth Games Marathon and Asian Games Marathon in 2022.”

See full post by Soh.

Photo: Soh Rui Yong

I want to win everything: Stipe Plazibat

Did Stipe Plazibat just suggest that Hougang United had no ambition? 

One of the moves which made heads turn just ahead of the restart of the Singapore Premier League is striker Stipe Plazibat’s transfer to Lion City Sailors for an undisclosed fee.

31-year-old Plazibat scored nine goals in six matches across all competitions while a Hougang United forward at the start of the year before the suspension of all competitions due to Covid-19.

In quotes to the New Paper, the striker said, “I’m very happy to move to a club who suit my ambition as I want to win everything.”

Hougang are currently in fifth spot in the standings while the Lion City Sailors are second from bottom in eighth position. 

Other players who currently play for the sailors include Gabriel Quak (29), Hassan Sunny (36) and Shahdan Sulaiman (32).

Apart from Plazibat, other ‘new’ faces to take to the field with the restart of the league include Baihakki Khaizan and Fazrul Nawaz, who will both appear for the Stags. 

Photo: Stipe Plazibat / Instagram

Warriors FC seek return to Singapore Premier League and Cup for 2021.

One of Singapore’s most iconic football clubs in Singapore – the Warriors Football Club (WRFC) – has submitted a formal note to the the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) seeking a return to the Singapore Premier League (SPL) and Singapore Cup competitions for 2021.

With statutory taxes and salaries owed, the WRFC were asked to sit out the 2020 competitions after falling into debt. 

The club is now seeking a return to the competitions after clearing a substantial portion of the debt and also after reaching agreements with the authorities on repayment of taxes owed.

In a Facebook post put up on 12 October, the WRFC said that it “has a rich history in Singapore football, which spans more than two decades.”

“Since the start of the professional football league in Singapore in 1996, the Warriors have won the league title 9 times, and have lifted the Singapore Cup on 4 occasions.”

The club added that it had also been “constantly supporting the community through all our programmes like participating in the women’s competitions, being involved in the WRFC Yew Tee Day 2019 and also having organised the Kidz Warriors program for boys and girls of ages eight to 14, and so much more.”

When WRFC sat out the league for the 2020 season, Tanjong Pagar United were given the right to play in the competitions after sitting out for five years from 2015 to 2019.

“Together, we will help the Warriors get back on top again,” it said at the end of its post. 

Main Photo: Warriors FC

He is headed to Coventry University.

He kept many football fans wondering all of Sunday if he was indeed headed to Coventry, which competes in the English Championship.

But Singapore Lions and Johor Darul Takzim skipper Hariss Harun finally revealed in a follow up Facebook post on Monday that while he will be headed to Coventry, it is not actually for football but for education. 

“I will be embarking in a new challenge while I continue my playing career with JDT. 

“I have been offered the PSB ACADEMY SPORTS EXCELLENCE EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP to study bachelor’s program with Coventry University. 

“I am super excited to take up the new challenge with the blessing and support from my family, friends, JDT and PSB Academy. It is still Coventry.”

The post was a follow up to his Facebook post on Sunday which garnered more than 300 shares which ended by saying: “Coventry here I come.”

Photo: Hariss Harun

Hariss Harun says he is headed to Coventry.

Singapore skipper Hariss Harun has revealed in a Facebook post that he is headed to Coventry. 

In a Facebook post which was put up just past 1pm on 11 October, Hariss Harun said: “I have just signed. Coventry here I come.”

It is not clear what exactly Hariss has signed for though.

Coventry the football club, which is well known in this part of the region among football fans for having had the likes of Dion Dublin, Gordon Strachan and Robbie Keane in their ranks, participate in the English Championship, which is the second tier after the Premier League. 

They are in 18th spot currently. 

It is unclear if Hariss has obtained a work permit to play in England but if administrative details are cleared and if he is given the go-ahead, he will be Singapore’s first player to play in the English Championship. 

There is also speculation that Hariss is headed to Coventry University to further his studies, according to a Facebook post on the Playmaker.

Another former Singapore international who has played in England albeit in a lower league in recent history is Daniel Bennett, who turned up for Welsh side Wrexham in the third division in the early 2000s.

This story is developing. 

Photo: Hariss Harun

SPL matches to resume on 17 Oct as all 223 players and officials tested negative.

The AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) will restart on 17 October six months after it was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

All 223 players and match officials who were tested for Covid-19 were also returned negative.

The announcement was made by Culture, Community and Sports Minister Edwin Tong, who is also Second Law Minister.

In a Facebook post, he said, “Glad to hear that the Covid-19 swab test results came back negative for all 223 players and match officials. 

“Coaches and team officials will be masked up during games, alongside other safe management measures. 

“Only the 22 players and 4 match referees on the field can be unmasked.

“We won’t be able to watch the matches live at the stadium just yet. 

“But you and your loved ones can still catch them on live-streams and selected cable broadcast channels.”

Matches will be broadcast on Singtel TV, StarHub TV and myCujoo as well as streamed online via the SPL and 1 Play Sports Facebook pages.

In a statement posted on the Football Association of Singapore website, FAS President Lim Kia Tong said, “We are extremely pleased with the decision announced by MCCY on the resumption of the SPL. 

“This is an outcome that the FAS and the SPL clubs, along with Sport Singapore and the relevant government authorities, have worked tirelessly towards in recent weeks. 

“Our utmost thanks and appreciation go out to the various government agencies who have helped in making the resumption happen.”

However, question marks still remain over the participation of Brunei side and defending champions DPMM FC and the Wasps have been given till 12 October to respond to a suggestion to have all their remaining matches played in Singapore.

Said Mr Lim, “Brunei DPMM FC has been an integral part of our League for years and their continued participation on its resumption is very much treasured. 

“Currently, they are a part of the competition format on resumption. We have provided Brunei DPMM FC with an option of having their matches played in Singapore considering the recommended protocols. 

“We await their response by Monday 12 October after which we will make the necessary preparations for the resumption. We remain hopeful that they will provide a favourable reply to our proposal.”

The Singapore Cup 2020 competition has been annulled. 

Photo: FAS

Cooking up a curry bomb for a good cause.

The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA), Neo Garden – its Official Food and Beverage Partner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling have launched a fund-raising campaign.

Neo Garden will pledge 10,000 of Neo Garden’s signature dish, “Curry Bomb” to the campaign.

The proceeds from the campaign will go towards The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and SSA’s One Team Singapore Fund.

The duration of the fundraising campaign will be from 6 October to 31 December 2020. 

Schooling tried his hands at preparing the “Curry Bomb” with guidance from Operations Manager, Jacqueline Teoh.

Schooling was shown the intricacies of preparing the dish, from getting the curry started, to cooking the chicken, as well as making the dough for the bread and finally putting the dish together.

“Cooking is one of my hobbies and I had a great time learning from the experts this afternoon. I would like to thank Mr Neo and Neo Garden for their generosity. The funds will go a long way towards helping those in need. It will also give the swim team a great boost as we continue to train towards Tokyo,” said Schooling.

“We are very delighted to be able to work with Singapore Swimming Association on this fundraising campaign. Especially in these trying times, we are pleased to be able to contribute back to society. Neo Garden and SSA have had a fruitful partnership for the past five years, and we look forward to further collaborations”, said Mr Neo Kah Kiat, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Neo Group Limited.

To support this campaign, Singaporeans can place their order of curry bombs@neogarden.com.sg or call 6896 7757 and use the following promotion code, “SSANEO”.

Each curry bomb costs $18.80 before GST.

SSA has also launched the campaign on Giving.Sg for other donors who may wish to contribute to this campaign.

Donors can visit giving.sg/singapore-swimming-association/currybombfund.

Photo: Singapore Swimming Association

Suzuki Cup 2020 will now be Suzuki Cup 2021.

The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) has announced that the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 will now be rescheduled to 11 April to 8 May in 2021.

Coincidentally, the postponed HSBC Rugby Sevens will be held on 10 and 11 April 2021 at the National Stadium.

The 2020 Suzuki Cup tournament was supposed to have been held in November and December this year, but the AFF announced in July that it would be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press statement, the AFF noted that their latest decision was “taken with a firm intention to stage the Championship in its full format – played on a home and away basis across the qualifying nations in South East Asia – provided that the conditions relating to Covid-19 allow.”

“In consultation with the region’s Football Federations and other relevant authorities, the AFF Suzuki Cup Task Force Committee has determined that the above dates work best to accommodate the domestic football schedules, and will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and well-being of all players, coaches, partners, fans and the public.”

While the AFF did not mention why it has not considered changing the current format, it is understood that any alteration from its current competition format to one where the tournament could be played in a single venue or country could result in a loss of revenue for the AFF. 

Photo Source.

Defending champions DPMM out for rest of the 2020 season?

The Singapore Premier League could well resume behind closed doors in October but question marks still remain over whether Brunei-side DPMM FC will be back to defend their title.

In quotes provided to the Straits Times, DPMM coach Adrian Pennock said, “But we have to look ahead. It’s a very difficult decision, but we have to take note of the welfare of our staff and our team, and also th Singapore teams that have to come here (Bandar Seri Begawan) to play.

“I hope (we don’t have to sit out) but I totally understand tif the Brunei health minister says we cannot play. It’s out of our hands now, really.

“We want to defend our title, obviously, and if the league resumes without us, it would be a shame,” said Pennock.

On 19 September, the National Football Association of Brunei cancelled its domestic Brunei Super League and also ended its youth tournaments which involved the Under-19 and U-16 teams.

DPMM FC, have apparently not even resumed full training and have only been training in groups of 10.

This only means that there is a strong likelihood that the defending champions will not be back when the league resumes. 

It will mark the first time in Singapore’s professional league history that the defending champions will sit out a season just a year after clinching the title. 

If DPMM is unable to continue the season and will be forced to sit out because of COVID-19 measures, it is probably the right time for the Football Association of Singapore to relook its model of having a foreign-based team participate in its domestic league.

Perhaps, the way forward could be to ensure a foreign team which intends to play in the domestic league follow the Albirex Niigata model, and set up a franchise and get itself planted in Singapore. 

In this way, there will also be benefits to helping local footballers and also in building a bridge to the community.

Something which DPMM FC has not done at all in Singapore since being part of the local league since 2012. 

DPMM have also been linked to the Malaysian League, the Thai League and the Indonesian League according to various news reports. 

Photo: Singapore Premier League