Tag Archives: Football Association of Singapore

After notching first win, Terry Pathmanathan’s Jaguars will continue to improve

This short news snippet (right) appeared in The Straits Times on 18 May.

The news snippet on Tanjong Pahar's first win of the season (The Straits Times, 18 May 2011)

But don’t let its brevity fool you. I think we could see its significance unfolding over the next few months.

Today’s version of Tanjong Pagar United may be a far cry from the glory days of the once-proud club’s early years (ie 1996-2002) in the S-League.

Back then, with Robert Alberts and later Tohari Paijan at the helm, they boasted of local stars like Lim Tong Hai, Steven Tan and S. Subramani and exciting foreign players like Dragan Talajic, Aleksandar Duric, Sutee Suksomkit  and the Senegalese Twin Towers of Nicodeme Boucher and Boubacar Seck.

However, I think their narrow win over Woodlands Wellington on Wednesday, which snapped their 13-game winless streak, could mark  a turning point for the Jaguars.

Today’s Tanjong Pagar would be more akin to the Young Lions of 2009.

Significantly, Terry Pathmanathan, the coach of that Young Lions team, is the man in charge of the  Jaguars today.

I remember that Young Lions team well.

Although it was made up of many young players, and the average age of the team was 19, they surprised many people with their tenacity, discipline and great fitness.

Many of the top teams that season always found it hard to play against them and would often come away with narrow wins at best

What Pathmanathan did was to continuously work on his players’ fitness and technique. He made sure they played simple football as he worked on raising their fitness levels. As the season went on, the Young Lions grew in strength.

Their football wasn’t that attractive, at times it was even dismal,  but it was nevertheless enough to help them to go on occasional small, unbeaten runs.

In the end, the Young Lions finished the season in eighth spot with nine wins, seven draws and 14 defeats. Not a bad record for a bunch of youngsters.

But the best was yet to be.

The squad then went off to Laos for the SEA Games where they surprised every one by winning a bronze in the Under-23 football competition, equaling the bronze-medal effort by the more star-studded Young Lions of 2007.

Tanjong Pagar coach Terry Pathmanathan

For this season’s S-League, Pathmanathan and the club were dealt a terrible hand by the Football Association of Singapore, one that remains an indictment of the state of our professional league.

 Tanjong Pagar’s application to join the S-League was only approved in late December, leaving the former Singapore captain scrambling for players a month before the start of the new season.

He was practically scrapping the bottom of the barrel as most of the better players had already been snapped up by the other clubs.

Apart from a number of former national U-17 trainees, he had to conduct open trials to fill up the remaining spots in his squad. He eventually managed to do so – with amateurs and even tertiary students.

Although he did also manage to sign Koreans Kim Jong Oh, Kim Syeong Kyu and Japanese Takaya Kawanabe to add experience and more steel to the spine of the team, the fact that they are all relatively young (all are under the age of 24) means that there will always be a limit to the sort of influence they can exert on proceedings during matches.

But I am sure Pathmanathan has been going about developing this rag-tag team in the same way as he did with the Young Lions.

I am sure he will be doing the same things as in 2009 ie focusing on bringing up their fitness levels and working on their technique and making sure they play simple football.

It’s just that unlike the Young Lions of 2009, he has had to do it with players of a much lower level of competency in football this time.

Still, I am confident that Tanjong Pagar’s win over Woodlands will not turn out to be their only triumph of the season.

In fact, I will stick out my neck to say that, now buoyed by the confidence-boosting win, the Jaguars will continue to improve from here on, manage a couple more wins and draws for the rest of the season and end up either ninth or eighth.

Mind you, it is very possible because right now, they are only three points behind the Young Lions and five behind a very poor Geylang United.

If they can do so, it will really be a feather in Pathmanathan’s cap, and can only add to the former Singapore skipper’s growing stature as a highly talented and capable coach.

Pathmanathan has already shown before that he is blessed with the ability to make lemonade from lemons. I am sure he can do it again this season.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Why paid vendors should just focus on what they are paid to do, and stop tweeting rubbish

I saw this on Red Sports’ Facebook page. It’s a tweet by Ian Mullane, the CEO of Vanda Sports, which has been hired by the Football Association of Singapore to be the branding and marketing consultant for the Young Lions in this season’s S-League:

@voxsports &@redsports are a joke. They claim to do sport and they haven’t even mentioned or covered the start of the S League.

That was four days ago.

Today, he continues his online assault:

Happy to see ST and Today giving solid #SLeague coverage. Still some supposed sports news services embarrassing themselves though.

Basically, Mullane was criticising Red Sports and Vanda Sports for not covering the S-League.

This is what I can’t stand about these types of people.

Hired by a national sports body to promote a local football team, and by extension, a local football league, they suddenly think they are the authority on local sports coverage in Singapore, and on deciding who is doing a good or bad job on local sports reportage.

There is a term for this in Malay: Kurang ajar.

There is another term for this in Hokkien: kay poh.

I share mr brown and mr miyagi’s sense of outrage.

Seriously, why should Mullane care what Red Sports and Vanda Sports are choosing to cover for their own sites? Why should it be anybody else’s business but theirs alone?

And think about this: if Mullane hadn’t been HIRED to market and brand the Young Lions, would he be going about clamouring for more local coverage of the Young Lions, the S-League or local football for that matter?

Would he then be so fawning towards the local press and other media outlets and so generous with his praise of them because of their coverage of the S-League?

Bottom line: Dude, you are a PAID VENDOR, hired to deliver a particular service. You are not a God-send. So please, know your place and stop being such an embarrassing eunuch.

By going on like this, you are no better than Andy Gray, the ‘jabbering baffoon’ you dissed in one of your previous tweets.

End of the day, remember what they say about the proverbial empty vessel…

To the guys at Red Sports and Vox Sports, keep up the good work.

Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan

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FAS president Zainudin’s bombshell, as reported by Berita Harian

The report:

This report appeared today in the Asiaone website. It is a translation of the Berita Harian report on Jan 6 in which Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin dropped the bombshell that he is disbanding the national team. You can access the story here

I feel it is important to read this story first before  the other follow-up reports that appeared in today’s newspapers (ie The Straits Times, The New Paper and Today) because it gives the full flavour of why the FAS made such a decision (which has since divided public opinion).

Do yourselves a favour — give it a read first. And then you decide whether it is a wise or foolish decision by the FAS in the first place.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan


All players from the Lions will be dropped

(Asiaone News, 7 Jan 2011)

By Chairul Fahmy Hussaini and Hisham Hasim

All football players in the national team will be dropped in regards to their bad performance in 2010.

President of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), Mr Zainudin Nordin, said that the current standard of Singapore’s football is at a disappointing level.

In order to save the situation, changes will be made with focus given in developing young talents in group age of 14-17 years-old and expanding the talent of the current lineup.

The harsh reality and brave decision was revealed by Mr Zainudin in an exclusive interview with Berita Harian on Wednesday.

According to him, a span of five years is needed the national team to be successfully renewed.

For the upcoming years, Singaporeans will have to be prepared to face the possibility of not winning trophies.

“That is my message to all. We will give focus to young players, develop talents as young as 14, 15, 16, 17 years old and talents’ of these players cannot be expand overnight but requires a span of four to five years before they reach the level that is required of them.

“This is what’s going to happen. I hope when we announce the changes that will be carried out, citizens will understand that, these are for the benefit of the long term and not the short term.

“Maybe half of the citizens will not be happy but we will do our best in the SEA Games and  the World Cup qualifiers although we are a team of new players.

“Although we will work hard, do not expect a miracle to happen overnight,” he said.

The SEA Games is scheduled to begin in November this year in Palembang, Indonesia while the selection of the eligibility of the World Cup is scheduled mid this year.

Mr Zainudin is firm that from all the players that will be dropped, only four players from the main 11 will be called back to be the “back-bone” of the national team that will be formed soon.

“When we proceed with the changes in the upcoming months, the national team coach, Radojko ‘Raddy’ Avramovic, will regard each player as a new player.

“All the current player will be dropped and Raddy will form a new team. When the new players are chosen, they will be based on merit,” he explained.

Last month, Raddy had given the media hints that from next month onwards, the national football team will have new faces.

This was followed by the disappointing performance during AFF Suzuki Cup in Hanoi, Vietnam recently.

Mr Zainudddin also mentioned that there were positive achievements last year, for example the success of the young football team in winning the bronze medal in the YOG.

“We will give full attention in developing our young talents,” he said.

Agreeing with the decisions, former national player, Malek Awab, 50, thinks that it was a bold move.

“It’s a good thing as it will give us a fresh start and new motivation in out national football team.” he added.

A similar response was voiced by a former national striker, Alexandre Duric, 41, said, “People are probably disappointed in the performance of the current team and FAS has to do something but it requires a long-term period to build a strong team.”

Translated by Muhammad Azman Bin Hamran from the original article first published in Berita Harian on Jan 6, 2011.


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