Tag Archives: Lion City Sailors

Aurelio Vidmar to BG Pathum United? Who Should The Sailors Turn To?

Disclaimer: I do not want Vidmar to leave the Sailors

I stumbled across this article thanks to our pals at Lions Of Asia, and I think it is worth addressing. Yes, this may just be nothing more than the work of some journalists churning material for the rumour mill. However, let’s assume that this is true and entertain this prospect.

After all, it is not an unlikely scenario. Aurelio Vidmar previously coached BG Pathum United between August 2016 and July 2017. After guiding the Rabbits to a 3rd place finish in 2016 and a 5th place finish in 2017, Vidmar left the club and assumed the position as Adelaide United’s Director of Football in 2018.

BG Pathum United have a fantastic squad, arguably one of the best in Southeast Asia and they won’t be pushovers in the upcoming AFC Champions League group stage fixtures. Vidmar has unfinished business with the Thai side, and winning the Thai League 1 title would be a very achievable goal for next season. Vidmar is also a AFC Champions League specialist of sorts. He guided Adelaide United to the 2008 AFC Champions League Final, and he is most likely sought after by BG Pathum to ensure the club progresses far in the competition. Drawn against Viettel, Ulsan Hyundai, and the play-off winner between Shanghai Port and Brisbane Roar or Kaya, BG have a decent chance of progressing.

BG Pathum would therefore be an interesting project for Vidmar to take on, but therein lies another question: what about the ongoing Lion City Sailors project? Why would Vidmar leave the Sailors?

That’s something I cannot really fathom. The Sailors are arguably the most ambitious start-up project in Southeast Asia right now. They have loads of money, appear to have a clear direction (as evident with their aggressive marketing, 10-million-dollar-training centre, and AFC One Star Academy), and most importantly have the best squad (on paper) that Singapore football could potentially offer. Vidmar is given all the tools. So why would he leave?

Or is it a case of him being pushed out? Forrest Li would probably expect instant success with the Sailors, and can you blame the man for wanting it? The Sailors assembled a star-studded line up last season but came in third. This season they doubled up on the star power, bringing in Diego Lopes on a multi-million dollar deal and experienced Jorge Fellipe but also reinforced with a host of local stalwarts. Nur Adam, Amirul Adli, and Faris Ramli were added to a squad that already boasts Gabriel Quak, Shahdan Sulaiman, Adam Swandi, Song Ui-young, Stipe Plazibat, Hassan Sunny, Tajeli Salamat, Hafiz Nor, Aqhari Abdullah, and Saifullah Akbar. Unlike other managers in the league, Vidmar has quality across all positions and, more importantly, quality in depth.

This squad is equipped to compete on all fronts. And I mean ALL fronts. The Sailors theoretically have what it takes to win the AFC Cup this season. Why would Vidmar jump ship? Maybe he’s been forced to walk the plank instead? Perhaps. After all, the Sailors drew 2 games and lost 1 after six games thus far. The Sailors management probably believe that their club should be cruising through their matches.

So let’s assume that Vidmar does leave. Who is the ideal manager that the Sailors need to helm their vessel?

Well, I don’t believe that any one manager should steer this ship. Instead, there are two that could potentially co-manage the Sailors and bring them to greater heights.

The funny thing is, no one has talked about this combination thus far. The Lee Lim-saeng and Kim Do-hoon combination could potentially work at a club like Lion CIty Sailors. You already know how much I admire Lee Lim-saeng. I have mentioned him in a previous article before and I stand by the claim that he is one of the best managers to have ever graced the Singaporean footballing landscape. His track record after his time in Singapore is spectacular too. 3 years in China (Two in the CSL and one in Chinese League One) and 1.5 years with Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the K-League is really remarkable.

Kim Do-hoon may be an unfamiliar name to those who do not follow Korean football. Kim was the Ulsan Hyundai manager that won the 2020 AFC Champions League and the 2017 KFA Cup. Winning the premier Asian continental competition is no easy feat, and he brings a wealth of experience.

So why a Lee and Kim coaching combination? Well for starters, both managers played for the Korean National Team together and even worked together in a coaching capacity before. Lee and Kim have chemistry and both offer something the other needs. Lee brings familiarity of Singaporean football and, crucially, culture to the table. Kim offers the prestige name power that the Sailors seem to be targeting. The football romanticist in me also wishes to see a Lee Homecoming (pun intended) to Singapore.

Crucially Lee and Kim are also currently not tied to any clubs. They are free agents in the market right now.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see Aurelio pushed out of the Sailors. He is an incredible manager and I think he just needs a tad bit more time. That being said, I do believe that a Kim and Lee combination would work well for the Sailors should Vidmar leave.

Like I said, to reiterate, once again, this is purely based on speculation. I in no way want Vidmar to leave.

Photo Credits: Singapore Premier League

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Hearing From The Interviewees – Thoughts On the New Season

The 2021 Singapore Premier League Season is going to kick off in less than 24 hours, and while it’s a real shame that fans are unable to attend the matches in person, there is a lot of hype for this campaign. Several clubs have made high profile signings, and it’ll be interesting to see how these stalwarts fare this season in Singapore. Besides that, the return of the Singapore Cup and continental football means that there is a lot to look out for this season.

Yet, I wanted to ask some players how they felt regarding the new season and so I reached out to some players I interviewed. Here is what they had to say:

Photo Credits: Singapore Premier League

Tajeli Salamat

Tajeli had a fantastic season with Lion City Sailors last season and even featured in the 2020 SPL Team of the Year. While hoping to continue his fine form, the Sailors’ defensive dynamo does admit that he is feeling a little nervous because “with the new season, there comes new goals.” That being said, Taj is excited and hungry for the league to kick off.

“After the delay of the league start date, I have been really looking forward to the start, and now that it’s already March, I can’t wait to play.”

“Regarding changes from last season, I think we have improved together as a team both physically and mentally. The bonds between us are also getting stronger each day. It’s important that we remain as one unit. As the saying goes, together we stand, divided we fall.”

“I really put in the hard work last season, and featuring in the team of the year really meant a lot to me. This year is going to be no different. I will continue to work hard and I hope to achieve more for the team and individually. Oh, and of course, going far in the AFC! End of the day, whatever I am doing, I am working hard for my family – my wife, my newborn son and my parents – cause I am a family guy now. I am doing this for them.”

Photo Credits: Singapore Premier League

Delwinder Singh

Like the rest of Tanjong Pagar, Delwinder had a season to forget in the 2020 campaign, where the Jagauars finished in last place. That being said, the club has done some serious business in the window and they are looking to make a statement this year.

“Definitely feeling great and excited about the start of a brand new league! We didn’t do well or rather of what we thought we could be able to do. Hence, I’d say it’s redemption time and to get things straight from the start starting with this Sunday’s game. We as a team believe in our philosophy and hence, it’s about continuing and believing in it with our football and showcasing it.”

“We’ve brought in experienced heads who can help in terms of pushing us to our limits and even beyond! Apart from that, it is some minor changes in terms of our football philosophy and to be honest, we’re raring to get this going and to put all our hard work at test. On a personal note, apart from club training, I’ve started working with Rory from Edge of the Box Mentoring, and the sessions has been excellent in terms of getting me physically and mentally ready for the challenges ahead, so I hope I can use it efficiently to help me deal with the various challenges that I’ll face.”

“As a team, I’d say at least qualifying for the AFC would be a good stepping stone. This will only lead to greater things in the future. On a more personal note, firstly would be to do my upmost best to help the team by restricting the opponents. By doing well, hopefully it opens the door back into the national team again as there’s AFF Suzuki Cup to look forward to.”

Photo Credits: Singapore Premier League

Anders Aplin

COVID-19 prematurely ended Hougang’s maiden AFC Cup voyage, and after tasting it once, they are probably hungry for it again. Hougang coach Clement Teo may have stated that Hougang are “not looking at the title as of now”, but with their recent transfers, the Cheetahs are a serious threat to any opponent. At the heart of their defence is Anders Aplin, the self-declared Offensive CB.

Anders briefly mentioned how he’s “really looking forward to the start of the season. It’s been a long and tough pre-season so we’re definitely eager to get going.”

“I’ll take each game at a time. Collectively, I suppose AFC would be something we want to qualify for.”

Photo Credits: Tampines Rovers FC

Gavin Lee

Despite narrowly missing out on the title, Gavin can surely be proud of what the Stags accomplished last season. This season offers a new opportunity – the AFC Champions League.

“The team and I are very excited for tomorrow’s first game. We have prepared well and the boys have applied themselves well throughout the pre-season. I think besides some new faces in the team, not a lot has changed. We are still the same motivated group and we want to achieve what we missed out on last year. Plus we continue to believe in our playing principles as it forms a big part of our processes, as well as continue to develop strong brains required for a successful season.”

“The goals for a club like Tampines remains constant every year. It is our duty to do our very best to achieve them. We like our big games but every game in the league poses different challenges. We enjoy playing against the various opposing strategies and we are ready for this new season!”

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