S-League 2010 Charity Shield: SAFFC vs AIK Solna


I had the opportunity to watch a live S-League match in ages last Thursday night (21st January 2010), albeit the opponent was not from these parts. I think the last S-League match I watched live at the stadium was when Sengkang-Punggol FC was still known as Marine Castle FC. Yes it was that long ago. Back then my uncle, Syed Ismail, was its head coach and as I was staying at Hougang where the team is still currently based at, I had the opportunity to watch my uncle’s team in action, even though their performances left much to be desired, due to a tight budget and lack of quality players in their ranks.

National player, Shaiful Esah scoring with a trademark free-kick that took a slight deflection as early as the tenth minute…

Anyway, at last Thursday night’s match at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, home of last year’s and eight-time S-League champions, Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC), the new season began with the traditional Charity Shield curtain-raiser, with the home team playing against the current Swedish Allsvenskan champions AIK Solna. It was a good opportunity to see our local team pit their wits against a team which is considered a few notches higher in standard and fitness than them.

Ezaad chatting with Mr Zainudin Nordin, President of the Football Association of Singapore and the Swedish Ambassador, Mr Par Ahlberger during the half-time break.

And if you had watched the news bulletin on television or read the newspaper reports for the past week leading up to the game, you would have also noted that the match was a special occasion, as proceeds from ticket sales to the game and 2010 calendars being sold during the match itself, would be donated to Uncle Dollah’s medical fund. On top of that, the Football Association of Singapore as well as kind sponsors and donors alike had pledged more than $70,000 to the cause. Certainly an occasion like this was a heartwarming one for my uncle’s family, in that we did not expect people to still remember his exploits as well as the joy he used to give football fans back in his heydays. We were certainly heartened by the turnout which newspaper reports had estimated at around 2300 people.

The final score… Note the houses in the background. They certainly have the best and free views during match days at the stadium…

The match too was an enjoyable one to watch with both teams testing each other at both ends of the goal. Our S-League champions themselves looked as though they could retain their championship again come the end of this season. They might have lost a few stalwarts in Therdsak Chaiman & Alexander Duric amongst others, but they have also beefed up their squad with ten new additions, notably national players Mohd Noh Rahman, Hyrulnizam Juma’at and Indra Sahdan. Along with their new foreign imports and the spine of their championship-winning team intact, they would be difficult to dislodge and the gritty performance against the Swedish champions said a lot about this team’s potential.

SAFFC posing for the cameras after receiving their respective medals…

The one that caught my eye was the forgotten man, Ahmad Latiff Kamaruddin. I personally would take him back to the national team if I was coach of the team and replace Ridhuan Mohd on the right flank. At least he is willing to take his men on and direct potshots at goal which the latter simply has no self-belief in doing so, as pointed out by Raddy Avramovic himself. So please do yourself a favour Raddy, and pick Ahmad Latiff in your next squad. I believe in life we all make mistakes. If the guy is overlooked time and time again for his past misdemeanours, I think for the past two seasons I’ve yet to hear something bad or negative about him. Anyway Ridhuan has had one too many chances without much success and should not be made the golden boy who could not be dropped.

Ezaad receiving the donation cheque from our guests of honour…

Before I end this entry, I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Football Association of Singapore, sponsors, well-wishers, donors and the fans who came to watch the match the other night. The $82,000 received in total would definitely go a long way in helping Uncle Dollah‘s family in footing his medical expenses which is about $2000 in average per month. May you be rewarded for your kind efforts and sincerity for this noble cause. Also to the players of SAFFC who kept their promise to play for Uncle Dollah. You guys were great and did yourselves proud by playing above your potential and not letting the Swedish champions walked all over you. Good luck for the coming season ahead lads!!!

Author: Pujangga Malam™

Well-known on RIA 89.7FM as a controversial and sensational critic able to invoke thought-provoking and sometimes, fiery responses from fellow listeners. Have since evolved into a distinguished blogger of reputable claim with takes on the Malay entertainment industry and football-related matters. Brutally honest and believes in only reporting the truth as I see, hear or experience it. Self-styled critic who does not mince his words and is definitely a non-conformist.

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