I usually do not like to criticize our local players, but I really do wonder what has happened to the state of goalkeeping in the league. Don’t get me wrong, the only reason why I voice my concern is because I know for a fact that we do have quality keepers within our ranks. Yet every keeper to feature in the league thus far has made some unforgivable mistakes.
Mistakes do happen occasionally, but the sheer frequency in which goalkeeping errors have occurred so far is a real head-scratcher. So what on Earth is going on?
Of course, one cannot fault the keeper all of the time. In some instances, the keepers don’t have any help from their back line and, thus, all of the pressure is on them. Yet given that the bulk of keepers have had many professional games under their belt, it is truly bewildering to witness the number of times these errors occur.
It is little wonder that only 2 keepers have kept clean sheets after the first 2 games – Hassan Sunny and Takahiro Koga. Yet both keepers have also made schoolboy errors as well. Hassan kept a clean sheet against Tanjong Pagar in the mid week, but that was because he had little to do. The Jaguars did not even attempt to test him in the slightest, mustering only one shot on target in the process. Against Hougang, Hassan was responsible for two shocking errors.
Koga, on the other hand, seems like a reliable keeper for the most part – until his pass from the back was intercepted by Ilhan Fandi. Thankfully for the Albirex custodian, Ilhan’s touch was too heavy and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Most of the other keepers in the league have also been relatively poor. In a season where many new eyes are presumably tuning in to watch the games, all players have a responsibility to be at the best at all times. We need to prove that the SPL has quality and is worth watching. However, the frequency of goalkeeping howlers have not helped the case. It has undoubtedly made it more interesting for sure with goals aplenty fired in.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to slander these players and vilify them. I aim to do quite the opposite. These players have shown that they can put in top notch performances, and I’m questioning why most have had shaky starts to the season. I think it’s an important question to ask because these players have produced when it mattered in the past and they have the quality in them. I sincerely hope the keepers of the SPL can turn things around.
We, as fans, need to support them whenever we can. As fans, we obviously can critique them, but it’s important that we support these custodians and praise them when they do improve. Case in point – Mukundan Maran. The man made two howlers that led to goals, but he has certainly redeemed himself by making world class saves in this week’s fixtures. This is Mukundan’s first season back in the SPL after serving his National Service and he needs time to settle in again.
The same excuse can’t really be used for most of the other keepers who have been here for a couple of seasons now. What went wrong? And how do we move on from here? I hope these questions are addressed and I sincerely hope that the keepers return to their best.
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