|(picture by Ko Po Hui)|
The season drew to an official close yesterday as the awards were given out to deserving candidates. In fact, the fact that champions Tampines Rovers did not claim any individual awards just proves that the S-League has indeed quality, yet not seen and blind to those who don't watch and just critic from the outside.
Karoglan is reportedly staying to fight for the Warriors for another season and truly, he has been the star of the S-League season. Claiming that he was surprised to have won the biggest award of the night, beating the likes of Aleksandar Duric and Frederic Mendy, he welcomed the challenge of playing against teams that now will be aware of his style of play.
Albirex too were the big winners and some of their players are reportedly joining Karoglan as the Warriors again look set to be devastating next season, at least on paper.
Quality of the S-League is not like the leagues you see elsewhere on your TV and even those like in the Far East. At best, the league can strive to be one of the best in Asia but quite possibly, realistically speaking, it is far too difficult to match the level that of Europe where they literally live, eat and breathe football where their entire life is truly dependent on football. Maybe , if our society's mentality changes, then we can dream of that.
But now, you've got to be realistic.
Quite frequently, when there are reports of dismal attendances, people have claimed that it is never like the Malaysia Cup days. Many yearn (not all though) want a return to the Malaysia Cup. Now that the FAS have given these group of fans what they want, these group better turn up to support your Singapore Lions.
Well, for the rest and quite typically, the believers and followers of the S-League, they will stick by their teams here, fighting for every opportunity to make sure the league succeeds. That is not to say that these groups of people are shunning the Singapore Lions across the causeway but given a choice, they will have to stick by their S-League clubs first.
Having a mass exodus to the M-League team will not be entirely bad. New youngsters will definitely have to be blood in and it will give them an opportunity to shine and an even bigger pool of talent to choose from and hence, will make the reason or some might call it, the excuse of having to naturalize foreign talent an even a questionable one.
But those who are looking forward to the M-League, please do give your S-League a chance because the stars you see in our Singapore Lions team are all players developed in the S-League.
Julian Turner of the Straits Times wrote yesterday that there is no other feeling like watching your football live. He claims that while televised European football is a good product, a live S-League match has different qualities that simply can't be reproduced on the screen.
He then added " While the seductive allure of a faraway rival is understandable, why be tempted completely away from a genuine, worthy and willing option at home?"
This sums up the point.
When there is the London, Manchester or the Liverpool derbies, fans here will be excited throughout the week. The papers will be featuring news running up to the game days before the game. And before, during and after the game, facebook.sg will be bombarded with "live feeds", "live scores" and 5th or 6th officials who felt that Graham Poll, Rob styles or Lee Mason made ridiculous decisions.
Why not make that happen when the Eagles visit the Stags? Or when the Home team NSFs become intense rivals with the BMT boys from Tekong? Why not talk about Sukbhir Singh's or Abdul Malek's decision to award an Etoile player a penalty or giving a phantom goal to the Young Lions?
You can make the S-League interesting and you can make it a league that you can proudly call your own.
Amidst all the booing and criticisim, our FAS president valiantly call forward these critics to step forward and let yourselves be heard. So instead of just writing on facebook or to newspapers giving suggestions, do something more than that. Think of something extraordinary. Contribute something to the S-League in your own unique way.
If you want everyone else in the football fraternity to give you better quality on the pitch and better experience off it, it doesn't hurt if you play a part as well. Football is not just a simple business where whatever you demand, you'll get. It is much more to that and certainly, with Singapore football, it requires patience as well.
Keep the faith, Believe.