Category: News & Features

U17s Continue Good Pre-Season Form

By: Alia Harvey

Yet again our U17s walked away with another win this pre-season, this time with a 7-0 victory over Anderson Junior College (AJC) on Wednesday, 31 May.

The match consisted of three thirds, the first two being 30 minutes, and the last being 45. This allowed both teams to test different formations, and give every boy the chance to prove his worth.

The first third ended goalless. Our Stags controlled every aspect of the game which gave AJC barely any chances. The second third was looking to end goalless as well. However, our #19 Khalid Shaharudin managed to break the deadlock just before the third ended.

That was only the beginning for Khalid, who went on to score twice in the last third to complete his hat-trick. Three other boys placed their name on the scoresheet too. Vice-captain and defender, Nabil Mutalib, put his name on the scoresheet twenty minutes into the last third, before making it two for himself just ten minutes later. Midfielders Nicanor Yapp and Prushothaman Naidu also scored a goal each to end the game 7-0 to us.

Our U17s play their next pre-season friendly on Monday, 5 June, against Khalsa U19s who expressed their desire to play us again after their 5-2 defeat to us on 22nd May. The match will be played at Farrer Park Field, and kicks off at 5pm.

A Slice of Misfortune

By Greenrover

Tampines Rovers’ Under-21 team put in a strong performance at Hougang Stadium on Monday night, only to go down to Hougang United 1-0 against one of the Prime League’s top sides, an unfortunate own goal in the 58th minute allowing Hougang United to prevail.

The Stags were on track to earn at least a point from Monday’s encounter, but it wasn’t only the own goal that conspired to spoil their chances, with injuries to key players also taking their toll.

Playmaker Zulfadhmi Suzliman had an influential role during a scoreless first-half, but only lasted 32 minutes, succumbing to a fierce tackle. Later in the game captain Andi Agus, not long back from an injury sustained at Yishun Stadium against an NFA side, also had to withdraw, two minutes before the Stags conceded the only goal of the match.
Tampines also took off Haziq, with another attacking player, Haiqal Sulaiman, taking over at the hour mark.

Haiqal helped his team mount a fightback and the game hung in the balance for the remainder of the game.

Tampines nearly cashed in after only five minutes when Faizal Raffi and Khairul Nizam tried to nudge home a cross from the left byline, which the Hougang keeper had been unable to get to initially, as the ball struck the post. Under big pressure from the two Stags, the Hougang keeper just managed to gain control.

Zulfadhmi saw his 11th minute corner headed wide in the goalmouth as Tampines took charge. Then in the 27th the same player made a big run from deep to face the keeper, who stood his ground and snuffed out the chance.

When a Hougang defender erred and passed the ball directly to Tampines’ striker, Diego Silvas, in the 37th, it looked like the Stags might take the lead, but the American youngster steered the ball inches wide of the left post.

At 0-0 after 45 minutes the game had been keenly-contested with the home side struggling to get the better of a well-drilled Tampines defence and midfield. Just when it looked like Tampines had the answers to repelling the Hougang attack, tragedy struck.

A cross from the left was sent over hopefully, but with no Hougang player in sight and Stags’ defender, Adiputra Jeferee, swung his boot strongly to clear the ball, six yards from his own goalmouth, but he failed to connect with the ball cleanly, succeeding only on slicing the missile high into his own net, to the despair of his stranded keeper, Haikal.

Soon after coming on as a substitute, Haiqal Sulaiman, got in a low shot that was destined for the bottom left corner, but the Hougang keeper, Ahmad Fadly, stretched to push the effort around the post.

Hougang might have added to their slender advantage in the 64th only for substitute, Kishon Philip, to head narrowly wide from a perfect cross.

Tampines battled away manfully and were never going to concede defeat without giving it their best shot. The final whistle, however, came too soon for a much anticipated equaliser.

The Prime League team will be in action again this Saturday, June 3, at 8.30pm at Jurong West Stadium, against NFA U-18.

Tampines Gold Launch Success With MCYC!

By: Alia Harvey

On 6th May, we launched Tampines Gold.

Tampines Gold includes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs which leverage the players and staff of our club to provide support and assistance to disadvantaged people within society. Our CSR Program is lead by former US National Team player Thomas Silvas. We launched Tampines Gold through a Flag Day with MCYC, an organisation which has provided all-round help to at-risk children and youth since 2008.

We not only had first team players Madhu Mohana, Son Yong Chan, Ryutaro Megumi, Ivan Dzoni, and Raspreet Sandhu, but also our U21 and U17 players present on the day. Our senior players were paired with our younger players. Son walked around with some of the U21s, whilst Madhu, Megu, Ivan, and Raspreet were with our U17s.

We spent the Saturday between 11am-4pm walking around Our Tampines Hub, which we will be moving back to soon, and Tampines Central.

We were given 20 tins for this Flag Day, and our players did such a fantastic job collecting so much money that several of their tins looked like they were about to break!

It was a successful launch indeed of Tampines Gold, which saw our senior players down to our youth bond for the good of the community.

Watch the video and see photos from the day below!

Video:

Photos:

Juergen Raab: The Mood Is Very Good In The Team

We ended on a high against Hougang United on 25 May at Hougang Stadium, our last Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League game before international break commences.

Hear what both head coaches, Juergen Raab and Philippe Aw, had to say in the post-match press conference.

Watch It Now:

Three of the Best

By Greenrover

Beaten twice by Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League leaders and defending champions Albirex Niigata (S) and once by Warriors FC, Tampines Rovers won their seventh game of the season on Thursday night to demonstrate once again their highly positive approach to football.

Defeating an equally attack-minded Hougang United 3-0 at Hougang Stadium enabled the Stags to remain only four points behind the reigning champions and only two adrift of second-placed Home United – the most recent victims of Tampines Rovers – who beat DPMM Brunei 9-3 at neighbouring Bishan Stadium, also on Thursday night.

Thus far the Stags have avoided being held to a draw, but there have been a number of close calls and this was no exception. Only a stoppage-time winner from Khairul Amri denied Garena Young Lions a 0-0 draw, not so long ago, while Tampines clung on grimly to hold off Home United at Jalan Besar Stadium a fortnight ago, before emerging 3-2 winners.

Here they held a 1-0 advantage from Amri’s 58th minute strike, but found themselves with plenty to do to hold off a strong fightback from Hougang United, until near the very end.

It took a top save from keeper Izwan Mahbud, to preserve that slender lead and even after Madhu Mohana had made it 2-0 in the 85th minute, Hougang kept on coming and looked more than capable of snatching late goals to spoil the Stags’ party.

But again Izwan came to the rescue with another great reflex save, before stoppage-time substitute, Jamil Ali, produced his familiar party trick, a last-gasp goal off the bench, something he’s managed a number of times during his lengthy Tampines Rovers career, featuring two separate spells with the Stags. This time Jamil swept the ball into the net from one yard out, as he followed through on an angled shot from wide on the right by Ryutaro Megumi that was already on its way into the Hougang net, four minutes into the time added-on.

There were two other back stories to tell here, as well.

Madhu was returning from his absence in the previous game, due to illness, and his goal, a stooping header, was just the tonic the team needed to put the game to bed.

Irwan Shah, who had been sidelined by injury until recently, came on as a late substitute, providing, within minutes, a waist-high cross from the left that allowed Madhu to ghost in and score superbly.

Irwan had come on when key defender, Daniel Bennett, had to be helped from the field, following a bad tackle, ten minutes from the end.

Meanwhile first-choice goalkeeper Izwan, who’d missed the previous game through injury, was passed fit to start, if needed, but deputy Joey Sim had initially been earmarked to retain his spot for this game, until falling sick on the eve of the match.

Prime League starlet, Diego Silvas, was also introduced right near the end, in place of Amri, as Tampines finished the game off with a flourish.

It was a pleasing response after the loss to Albirex four nights earlier, a result, according to coach Juergen Raab, that owed as much to poor decision-making during the game, than to any lack of performance.

The S. League team will now take a break until 22nd June on which date they will travel to Choa Chu Kang Stadium looking to beat Warriors FC.

The Prime League team, however, will play on throughout June, following their next match against Hougang United on Monday, 29th May, kick-off 8.30 pm.

Stags Aim To Get Back Into Title Race

By: Alia Harvey

Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League 2017

Hougang United v. Tampines Rovers

25 May (Thursday), 7:30pm, Hougang Stadium

Hougang United will host us tonight for our last league game before international break. We took all three points the last time we faced the Cheetahs, and are looking to walk away with the win again tonight.

What’s our form at the moment?

Despite the result against Albirex Niigata last week, we move forward and focus on tonight’s game against Hougang United. We ended round one of the league on a high by ending Home United’s undefeated run, and finished the round with six wins and two losses. With nine games played this season in the league, we are one of the two teams that have yet to end a game in a draw, with the other being Balestier Khalsa. We were on a four game winning streak, but it ended after our 4-1 loss to the White Swans last week. With six wins and three losses so far this season, we look to get back on track tonight as we continue to fight for the title.

What’s Hougang United’s form at the moment?

Hougang United kicked off the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League season with a 2-0 win over Geylang International at home. Since then, the Cheetahs have four wins, four losses, and a draw. In the first round of the league, they went on a three-game losing streak, where the lost 2-0 in their games against Brunei DPMM, Home United, and Albirex Niigata (S). Hougang haven’t won a game this season with a great number of goals. The most they’ve managed to score over their nine games played so far this season, is two goals. Six of their games played this season so far have ended 2-0, where Hougang have won three and lost three. They started their second round of the league last week against Geylang International with a 1-1 draw.

Past encounters with Hougang United?
In our last 19 meetings, we are the more dominate side with 12 wins over the Cheetahs three. Four of our clashes have been draws. Last season, we played the Cheetahs four times, and had two wins, one loss, and one draw. Our biggest game in terms of goals came in the group stage of the League Cup on 13 July, a game where we walked out 6-4 winners, and where Shahdan Sulaiman broke the deadlock. He also scored the first goal in our 4-1 victory over the Cheetahs last season on 26 February 2016. Our only loss against Hougang United last season came on 17 August, a game which also saw Fazrul Nawaz stretchered off with an ACL injury.

The last time we faced Hougang United?

We had a less than ideal situation the last time with faced the Cheetahs. We missed Yasir Hanapi, Ismadi Mukhtar, and Madhu Mohana through suspension, whilst Shahdan Sulaiman and Fazli Ayob were out as well due to injury. We only had five substitutes on the bench, with one being a goalkeeper, and two being Prime League players Aide Shazwandi and Noor Hilman. Ivan Dzoni broke the deadlock with a penalty, before Khairul Amri made it 2-0. The game ended 2-1 to us, after Hougang United were awarded a penalty a minute into additional time, which Fumiya Kogure slotted home.

Khairul Amri headed in the second goal, which secured us all three points

Team News?
Shakir Hamzah will be out tonight following the red card he received against Albirex Niigata. Head coach Juergen Raab has called up U21s Diego Silvas and Zulfadhmi Suzliman for tonight’s game. On Hougang United’s side, Ali Hudzaifi and Delwinder Singh are both suspended for tonight’s match. Iqbal Hussain and M. Anumanthan are also unavailable due to National Service. Captain Nurhilmi Jasni is also out with a collarbone injury.

How’s the S.League table looking?
After the second round of the league kicked off last week, the main difference in the table is that Home United have regained the second position after their win against the ninth Garena Young Lions, whilst we have slipped back to third after our loss against Albirex Niigata (S). We are seven points behind the undefeated, and leaders Albirex Niigata (S), who are top of the table with 25 points. Warriors’ win over Balestier Khalsa means they now trail us by just one point at fourth position, whilst the Tigers sit seventh with just six points. Hougang United’s draw against Geylang International place them at fifth with 13 points, whilst the Eagles are two points, and a position behind.

Other S.League fixtures this week?
Home United v. Brunei DPMM [25 May, BS]
Balestier Khalsa v. Geylang International [26 May, JBS]
Albirex Niigata (S) v. Garena Young Lions [26 May, JES]

Good Effort but No Points

By Greenrover

It hasn’t been a good few days for the Tampines Rovers teams, the Under-17s in a pre-season friendly win apart, and there was no relief from the gloom when the Prime League team met Warriors FC at Jurong West Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Seeking revenge for a 2-0 defeat at Choa Chu Kang Stadium at the start of the season, the Stags looked to a reshuffled line-up to establish a measure of superiority in the first-half, which gave hope after a scoreless 45 minutes that goals would flow after the break.

One did, and it was a beauty too, but it wasn’t enough to stave off the efforts of the Warriors who’d made two important changes at half-time and made a couple more during the second-half.

The key to the outcome of the match seemed to be those half-time changes.

Tampines began the game without their American youngster, Diego Silvas, who had often acted as a catalyst for much of the forward momentum in his team’s matches and regularly had a role as leader of the attack.

Other than goalkeeper, Haikal Hasnol, there were no other registered S.League Under-23 players in the side and in this outing Faizal Raffi, Khairul Nizam, Haiqal Sulaiman, and Zulfadhmi Suzliman did most of the attacking from deep-lying positions.

That was working well, it has to be said, and the Warriors found themselves on the back-foot for much of the opening period, but the goals simply wouldn’t come.

When they made an occasional counter-attack Tampines’ opponents did look quite useful, but, for the most part, the young Stags’ defenders held them out very well.

On the flanks, especially through the efforts of right-back Ryhan Stewart, Tampines posed plenty of problems for the Warriors, who did indeed have two S.League-registered players in their starting line-up, namely Samuel Benjamin and Sharin Majid.

More significantly, they had their own American Prime League player, Diego Silvas’ cousin, Clay Silvas, held back for the second-half.

While Diego himself was being reserved for a possible call-up for S.League duty against Hougang United on Thursday night, his cousin was less likely to be needed for senior duty later on and was deployed as an attacking weapon for the final 45 minutes of this match.

With the Hougang match in mind two days later, Prime League coach, Dilwant Singh, had to restrict his capable midfielder, Zulfadhmi, a regular and strongly-contributing substitute in the S.League, to just the opening 45 minutes.

The second-half saw the Warriors looking far more formidable, with Clay Silvas and fellow half-time substitute, Syahmi Zulhaily, on for Gautam Selvamany, seen to advantage. The other unlucky man to miss out, to make way for the younger Silvas, was Samuel Benjamin, who’d put in a good shift for the Warriors in the first-half, but for whom the S.League is his main mission these days.

Sharin Majid made way for Luqman Abdul Rahman with half-an-hour remaining as Warriors’ coaching staff, led by the astute Razif Onn, turned up the heat.

Nevertheless it was Tampines who were able to snatch the lead after soaking up massive pressure from the re-jigged Warriors’ attack, who threw players forward with abandon.

Tampines won a free-kick out wide on the left, in the 76th minute, 25 yards out and clever midfielder, Khairul Nizam, stepped up to take it.

He lined up his shot with some thought and intent and the ball he dispatched simply flew into the roof of the net, taking Warriors’ keeper, Mukundan Maran, by surprise, as it sailed over his head and just under the crossbar.

That was a huge boost for the home side, but it simply wasn’t enough in the end.

Warriors piled on the pressure, introducing yet another forward, Andin Djayady, with ten minutes remaining.

After a corner on the left in the 83rd minute a Tampines’ player handled the ball in the penalty area, quite clearly, leaving young referee, Andy Tan, with a simple decision to award a spot-kick.

Clay Silvas steered the ball right down the middle of Haikal’s goal to make it 1-1.

A draw was still possible, of course, but Tampines were limited to occasional counter-attacks by that stage and had to deploy all of their resources to staving off a highly-potent Warriors attack.

A minute after the equaliser and with Tampines trying to grab back the lead by setting off on what proved an unproductive surge upfield, the Warriors countered themselves and with defenders in short supply, keeper Haikal rushed out to try and take the initiative.

Unfortunately he left himself exposed when he couldn’t take possession of the ball and despite defenders arriving late on the scene to protect his goal, the way was clear for Clay Silvas to slam home what proved to be the winning goal, from close-range.

Tampines were not finished, though, still enough left in the tank to mount some late raids and they went close a number of times with one shot narrowly clearing the Warriors’ bar as four minutes of added time began.

But on this occasion, Tampines were unable to survive that strong Warriors’ onslaught and had no other answers after a first-half they’d clearly dominated, but had nothing to show for by way of goals.

Coach Dilwant had nothing but praise for his players and was far from downbeat at the finish.

“I’m proud of the boys tonight, they showed plenty of fight and they played well to instructions. It was a good performance, even though we were eventually beaten.

The next outing for this talented Prime League side is on Monday 29th May at Hougang Stadium against Hougang United, at 8.30pm.

Rovers U-17s Stun Khalsa U-19s

The Tampines Rovers Under-17 lads gave themselves a huge boost in a pre-season friendly against Singapore Khalsa Association’s Under-19 side Monday night.

Playing at the historic Farrer Park pitch alongside Little India, the game was played as two periods of twenty minutes (9-a-side) followed by forty minutes of 11-a-side. This was to allow both coaches to try-out formations and players.

With Rovers going two-down after ten minutes, it appeared that the Khalsa U-19s would dominate the match due to their superior age and size. What then followed was a wonderful display of team work, skill, and a never-say-die attitude. Spectators built-up on the sidelines as the Rovers’ lads fought for every ball. Their speed down the flanks was impressive as was, what is sure to become, their trademark style: to win back every ball lost.

Two absolutely first-class shots from outside the box added goals to the final 5-2 turnaround victory.

After the game, Coach Sugunan lauded his boys: “This was an awesome performance with lovely goals scored. Credit for all playing their part to make our team champions! We must work very hard to achieve this goal, be humble and respectful too. The scary thing is that we are yet to play our best games.”

Albirex Steal the Show

By Greenrover

It all went pear-shaped when Tampines Rovers were beaten 4-1 by Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League leaders, Albirex Niigata (S) at Jurong West Stadium last Sunday night.

While it was certainly a factor in the Stags’ second loss of the season to the reigning champions, the White Swans, as Tampines coach, Juergen Raab, put it – “no luck with referees when we play Albirex” – the fact remains that the home team threw away any chance of winning thanks to some rash decision-making.

In the first meeting, won by Albirex 2-1 after Tampines had held a first-half advantage, a re-taken penalty, which was missed, gave Albirex the chance to come back and win the game, as two sendings-off made the Stags’ work that much harder later in that match. This time it was Albirex who drew first blood, with a goal against the run of play from Naofumi Tanaka in the 28th minute and as the result of some unconvincing defending.

A free-kick from deep was not adequately dealt with and the Albirex man had a free header to send his side in front.

The Stags had fallen behind in a similar way against hitherto unbeaten Home United in their previous outing, but on that occasion they showed real character and composure to storm back and lead 3-1, before holding on tenaciously for a 3-2 win.

The same might well have happened here, as Tampines were looking sharp in attack before conceding and fans were getting behind them as they tried to recover from that unexpected setback.

That all went pear-shaped, however, when Shakir Hamzah was unable to hold off his opponent as both players worked their way into the penalty area, moments after the half-time break; but then Shakir impeded his opponent’s further progress by dragging him back, once he’d made it inside the deadly 18 yard area.

The penalty decision looked a formality for the referee and it proved no less so for the same Albirex striker who’d been brought down, Tsubasa Sano, who converted it, taking his side to a 2-0 lead so soon after the break.

Two-nil leads are always dangerous, so when Tampines fought back quickly with a gleeful Son finish, after an initial keeper’s save from Daniel Bennett, following a Tampines’ corner by Shahdan Sulaiman, hopes were high that the home team might prove correct the old adage of a two-nil lead being no guarantee of success.

It was therefore agonising for the team to lose a man to a straight red card, quite needlessly, just before the break.

Shakir may have been provoked by his opponent, near the touchline at the half- way mark, Shoichiro Sakamoto earning a caution for his trouble, but the red card issued to Shakir could not be disputed, as he threw out an arm at his antagoniser, retribution that his coach, Juergen certainly had no tolerance for.

The coach announced post-match that the player would be fined for his actions in letting his team down.

“He punished the team in this situation and he must learn to manage his emotions.

“Always think what is important for the team. We could have managed a draw with him still there.

After that it became much more difficult to chase the game, with only ten men and an injury to adventurous wing-back Ismadi Mukhtar, in the 57th minute only made things worse.

Albirex posted a third goal, another from Sano, to regain their two-goal cushion, a goal which their coach felt was the turning point in the match. Juergen, on the other hand, was in little doubt that the penalty ruling and the send-off had a much greater impact on the outcome. In any event Tampines conceded again in stoppage-time, Tanaka bringing up a brace of his own to match his other goalscoring team-mate and the Stags lost valuable ground in their chase for the title.

With regular keeper Izwan Mahbud ruled out through injury and with his arm in a cast, deputy Joey Sim had to step in here, but he wasn’t able to produce miracles, after being left exposed far too many times.

Thursday’s game at Hougang Stadium against Hougang United is certain to see changes, with Ismadi and Shakir ruled out and perhaps others given a chance with three points essential if the team is to maintain its title tilt.

Captain Madhu Mohana, who was under the weather and missed the Albirex game, looks certain to be back and perhaps coach Juergen will try something different this time as he looks to find a winning formula once more.

Fighting to the Last

By Greenrover

Nothing went right for the Tampines Rovers’ women’s team in their final National Women’s League match of the season at Queenstown Stadium last Saturday night.

Playing on a pitch that had just been used by National Football League Division Two sides, Starlight soccerites FC and Warwick Knights FC, the unfortunate women’s team players found the badly-cut-up and traditionally unevenly-surfaced pitch at Queenstown as much of a handful as their accomplished Winchester Isla opponents.

Going behind to an early penalty, which in hindsight might have been avoided, due to a somewhat rushed challenge, the Tampines team showed plenty of dash up front, but had few answers to the speed on the flanks of their opponents’ 38 year old winger, Elly Yanti or their dynamic 18 year old captain, Raudah Kamis, who’d converted the 22nd minute penalty-kick. The same player went on to score four additional goals in Winchester’s resounding 7-1 win.

But far more lay behind that scoreline than the extraordinary ability of a few key opposition players.

A week-off, thanks to a bye, didn’t help, but the loss of key defender, Nurmaisharah Abu Bakar, to a head injury, that required an ambulance team to convey her to NUH, was just the start of a horror period for an increasingly beleaguered Tampines side.

Skipper, Naridah Farid, had to miss the second-half after picking up an injury during the first period, while keeper, Aisha Kasmawi, who’d suffered a rib-injury earlier and gamely returned for the second-half, exacerbated her condition only twelve minutes after the restart and also had to be taken to the same hospital.

Both players were to remain there overnight for observation.

Winchester, meanwhile, had raced to a 3-0 lead by the 36th minute, which was then reduced soon after the resumption by Syafiqah Mutalib, who had posed a few problems for the Winchester defenders, only to injure herself well before the end. Her misfortune, as well as another injury to attacking partner, Shahidah Sidek, left the ranks threadbare up front during the latter part of the game.

By the hour mark, however, with Tampines having already made their final substitution those two further injuries sustained on the poor pitch meant that the heroic team had to finish the match with only nine players.

Small wonder, then, that Winchester put away four more goals over the concluding 30 minutes to run away with the game.

Winchester, though, played the game with great sportsmanship and referee Mahendran only once needed to reach for his yellow card at any stage of the match.

It was an unhappy way for the Tampines’ women to end their eight-game National League season, but coach Ratna Sufian vowed to bring the team back stronger and fitter for the Challenge Cup later in the season.

“We’ll spend more time preparing for the Challenge Cup,” he revealed.

“And I’ll be strengthening the team in some key areas,” he went on.

“I already have several players in mind, who expressed an interest too late for inclusion in the team when the season started.