Fish Out of Water

-Sengkang Punggol FC Fans' Perspective-

S League Foreign Clubs Walk of Shame

Last evening fracas between Beijing Guo’An Talents & the Young Lions which resulted in the match being abandoned (with barely minutes to go) just adds on to the well-documented list of how the foreign clubs that were invited to our local league were more of a bane rather than benefit.

Before I begin, we must honor the only real consummate model among the ragtag crew of foreign teams since their inception back in 2003, Albirex Niigata (S).
The Jurong East-based satellite team of the J League outfit had embraced their role as an invited team with professionalism and manner second to none as compared to the other foreign sides from past & present.
Their modus operandi had always been cultivating players for the parent team back in Japan, however the squads over the years had featured seasoned professionals playing in various levels of football there as well.
Despite results not going their way for the past few seasons in the league, they still took it in their stride and channel their best for all facets of the local game, with their appearance in the semi final of the 2009 Singapore Cup as a testament.
Over the years they had given the local game with some luminaries like Kenji Arai, Issey Nakajima, Hidetoshi Wakui, Norio Takahashi, Tetsuya Okayama, Akira Takase, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Kenji Adachihara, Taisuke Akiyoshi et al.
The White Swans had also contributed to the local Japanese community and even create a niche in the neighborhood where they are based (with a hawker store no less).

It does not take much to reciprocate what Albirex had done for the past 6 years, but the following list of clubs turned out to appear in the local media for the wrong reason somehow:

*Edited with the aftermath of the disciplinary hearing of the brawl between Beijing Guoan Talents & Young Lions

Sinchi FC
Year Joined: 2003
Year Left: 2005
  • The first foreign side to be invited and formed under a rather buffoony name as a short form for “Singapre Chinese” which none of their players actually hailed from Singapore.
  • Players were recruited from those who could not break into the clubs in the top Chinese division.
  • Ended inaugural year in an encouraging 7th position, but dropped to second from bottom for the subsequent seasons.
  • Youth player Jiang Tao was tragically struck by lightning during a training session and passed on.
  • Notable names from the side include striker Chang Hui who did not fare as well as Geylang United had thought. The side also provided us with current Singapore internationals Shi Jiayi & Qiu Li.
  • Club management decided to pull out of the league for the 2006 competition perhaps due to financial difficulties.
Sporting Afrique FC
Year Joined: 2006
Year Left: 2007
  • An all West African contingent was to add excitement and raw finesse to the league.
  • The team who started a roll call of foreign side occupying Yishun Stadium, ended their only season here at 9th placing out of 11 teams.
  • The controversy came off pitch when the band of players were ill-treated by the club, fronted by former model & actor Collin Chee.
  • Each player was paid a measly $100 after the club made unreasonable subtraction.
  • FAS rejected their application for participation for the 2007 season.
  • Not many notable players from that side though quite a few remained and ply trade in some amatuer NFL sides.
Liaoning Guangyuan FC
Year Joined: 2007
Year Left: 2007
  • The second Chinese side is the satellite side from Chinese Super League side, Liaoning FC.
  • Unlike Sinchi previously, Liaoning did not take the league by storm and ended second from bottom in the final standings.
  • The only notable thing about their stay here is the match-fixing which involve team manager Wang Lin who asked many of his players to throw matches he bet on.
  • The guilty party were slapped with imprisonment and hefty fines.
  • There is no surprise we don’t see Liaoning Guangyuan in 2008.
Super Reds FC
Year Joined: 2007
Year Left: 2009
  • A club initiated by club chairman Charlie Yoon offers local fans a glimpse of the renowned worksmanship of South Korean football.
  • Super Reds however had the dishonor of the first foreign side to finish the season at the bottom of the league table in 2007 with merely 18 points out of possible 99 and conceded 80 goals;  not even a change of name and club logo could aid their cause.
  • They saw an upheaval of fortune on the pitch in the subsequent season, pushing for the league title till the very end, playing some swashbuckling football.
  • 2009 though was not a good year for the Super Red with players reportedly not paid their wages while the team was embroiled in a mass brawl against Woodlands Wellington in a tumultuous League Cup tie.
  • Club chairmen Yoon tried to contribute to local football with the team converting to a local side with a few notesworthy Korean talents remaining.
  • Their rejected application (for some absurd reason) spelt an end of a memorable 3 years run in the S League.
  • The remnants of the Super Reds remained with the likes of Park Kang Jin & Chang Jo Yoon (Gombak), Seo Su Jong & Kim Seong Kyu (Young Lions) remain in the local scene.
Dalian Shide Siwu FC
Year Joined: 2008
Year Left: 2008
  • The lesson from Liaoning was not learnt as FAS roped in another satellite side from China.
  • In truth there was very little recollection from a terribly bland tourney from Dalian back in 2008.
  • The team with an awful club logo and equally horrendous footballing strip ended with 22 points and was survived from the bottom due to the god-awful performances by the 2 teams below them, Sengkang Punggol & Balestier Khalsa.
  • The team did earn the dishonor for most goals conceded in that season with 75.
  • FAS felt they were not competitive enough, thus letting them go in 2009.
Brunei DPMM
Year Joined: 2009
Year Left: 2009
  • Dalian was sacrificed for a footballing team from somewhere much nearer, in Brunei.
  • Fresh from their retraction from the Malaysian League, DPMM which hailed from a perennially football weak nation of Brunei looked like an easy meat with FAS likened their initiative to put in money for logistic to send S League team to play their home games there in Bandar Seri Begawan.
  • The Wasps was buoyed by their performances on the pitch with a colorful character of Vjeran Simunic as their gaffer and their rough house style really giving S League team a run for their money.
  • Early success came in the form a League Cup success in a memorable run including beating SAFFC in the final.
  • DPMM’s defenders Rene Komar, Sallehuddin Damit & Yusof Salleh were slapped with lengthy suspension for their altercation on referee K. Kalimuthu in a home game against Home United.
  • Overall DPMM picked up record breaking yellow and red cards over the course of the season as well.
  • However with the involvement of the government in their footballing affair, all football activities in Brunei was suspended, forcing their involvement in the S League to be expunged and entailed a decent run in their chapter in Singapore footballing history.
Etoile FC
Year Joined: 2010
Year Left: ?
  • S League has a gallic flavor for 2010 when a flamboyant French businessman decided to set up a football club based on a bunch of players, hailed from the gallows of lower league French football.
  • Etoile did began with a bang by snagging the league cup with little resistance though they were strugglingto bring in a full team due to their recruits consistently failing the mandatory beep test.
  • They started to draw a lot of media attention with a Hollywood style first home game at Queesntown Stadium with fireworks, Harley Davidson on the running track and Jaime Yeo; of course they also charged $10 per ticket which drew alot of eyebrows.
    The show was an one-off before they decided to give lucky draw cash prizes which turned out to be another one-off.
  • Early promises of club ambassador David Ginola and a couple pf marquee players turned out to be empty and never look like materializing.
  • Many local fans who jumped on their bandwagon due to the great promise slowly faded, leaving a core of hardcore Ultras to feed on what their howling coach Patrick Vallee constanly whined about.
  • Their snobbish air started to rub people off the wrong way as defender Lakehal was involved in a bitch-slap with fellow countryman Benoit Croissant in an aftermath of a 1-1 draw with Tampines Rovers.
    The Etoile defender was suspended for 2 matches while there had been claims of people threatening each other in a very sheepish manner.
  • Midfielder Flavien Michelini came out to the media, sobbing about how he was manhandled by a local fan, supporting a title challenger while coach Vallee claimed he was verbally abused by fans on the stands.
  • Off the pitch, the club broke association with their publicity company, Red Card Pte Ltd led by former Singapore international R Sasikumar and let go of some of their management staff who was associated with Red Card.
  • In September, both Red Card and apparel sponsors Diadora claimed they were owed 5 figure sums from the club just when the chairman Gouttefangeas claimed about roping in more sponsors and had a lavish clubhouse in the blueprint (although the authorities had yet to sanction).
  • With the current team looking to claim a treble in their first year of participation, many of the players and even Vallee could be exiting to greener pastures.
  • Time will tell how long this project will last.
Beijing Guoan Talents
Year Joined: 2010
Year Left: ?
  • Seriously after all the poor showings from CSL satellite sides, FAS still insist of bringing in Beijing Guoan, of course from a currently-crowned CSL champions and a wealthy project straight off the Chinese capital.
  • Meekly called themselves the talents, the Chinese lads had a hard time adjusting to local condition especially they arrived only days before the season kicked off.
  • Leg cramps were their only talent at the beginning of the season.
  • Started to put in some decent performances including a 4-1 win over an out-of-sort Home United in a televised match at Jalan Besar.
  • Cruelly robbed of a few of their most talented players like top scorer Tan Tiancheng to the Chinese Olympic side.
  • After losing to Tampines 2-5 in a recent game, the team whined about retained at the airport due to misunderstanding in their work pass.
  • In their game against Young Lions, the team got into an ugly brawl with their equally young Singaporean counterparts.
    The same unruly side was indicative in a televised game against Balestier Khalsa which was quell after some of their bench players got involved in the scuffle.
  • The final judgment had been passed by the Disciplinary Committee on 21st September 2010 with regards to the brawl which saw Meng Yang (the reserve player who flagrantly kicked Faritz in the head) slapped with a year ban while captain cum goalkeeper Su Boyang and Zhang Ye were given 8 months suspension each.
    7 other players involves were slapped with hefty fines

Phew what a hefty list but it is conclusive that FAS and the S League committee had time and again got their face slapped for bringing in foreign sides which the local fraternity could not associate with and most of the time do not miss their involvement when they are gone.

There are still plenty of foreign sides forming the beeline for a slice of the awful tasting pie known as the S League for god knows what reason.
Seemingly an Aussie consortium is interested as well as a recently scribed American side. And yes all the CSL sides who felt their large working contingent in the puny island needed some of their mesmerizing football.

Perhaps they should just stick to 10 teams for the following season,rather than stubbornly maintain the 12 teams quota to accommodate such foreign sides.

September 21, 2010 - Posted by | General Singapore Football, Historical Event, Rant, S League


  1. IMHO, to be fair, other than Albirex, the remaining foreign teams can be further divided into 2 groups:

    – Positive/Competitive: Super Reds, DPMM & Etoile.
    – Negative/Un-competitive: Sporting Afrique & The Chinese Teams.

    Comment by henryo | September 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey, nice read right there and appreciate your effort.I hope FAS bloody wake up and bring back Yishun Reds or Sembawang Rangers(even better) to Yishun Stadium for the long suffering fans at Yishun.

    Comment by spfc4life | September 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, wanna keep an archive on the negativity foreign teams had brought over the years, will continue to grow I am sure.

      Comment by wreckidigidy | September 9, 2010 | Reply

  3. If FAS bring in another team from China that will be the day I’ll give up watching local football and turn to cricket played by foreign workers on empty fields every Sunday.

    Comment by Lamouchi | September 9, 2010 | Reply

  4. I just saw the video of the brawl between guoan and the young lions. I’m utterly disgusted by what I saw and that is definitely going to hurt the local football scene. what the Chinese players did was a total disgrace. they actually aimed a kick at people’s head when that player was already down on the ground. call urself professional players…shame on you!

    Comment by spfc fan | September 10, 2010 | Reply

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