THE NEW PAPER LEAGUE CUP DRAW 2016
By Kevin Prasad on 23 June 2016
Geylang International FC have been handed a tough draw for the group stages of ‘The New Paper League Cup 2016’, alongside defending champions, Albirex Niigata (S) FC, resurgent Balestier Khalsa FC and feisty Home United FC in Group B, which many are calling the “Group of Death”
Meanwhile, Group A consists of star-studded Tampines Rovers FC, 2014 winners Brunei DPMM FC, Hougang United FC and nine-time S.League champions Warriors FC
The Garena Young Lions will not take part in this tournament, as they are scheduled to tour Bahrain during the duration of the competition, in preparation for the 29th SEA Games, next year.
‘The New Paper League Cup 2016 Draw’, was conducted in the afternoon of 22nd June 2016 at the Auditorium of Singapore Press Holdings, in the midst of all players, coaches, staff and Football Association of Singapore (FAS) personnel.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Cup semi-finals, while the bottom two teams will take part in the Plate semi-finals.
The eventual Cup champions and 1st runners-up of the tournament will be awarded S$30,000 and S$15,000 respectively. The Plate champions will also receive a consolation prize of $8,000 for their reputable achievement.
The Eagles reached the semi-finals of the competition last season, before being edged out by a 3-0 score line, by the eventual champions, Albirex Niigata (S) FC.
Geylang would be eager to seek redemption against the White Swans, whom have recorded two triumphs in the cup competition and also a victory against the Eagles, in the current S.League season.
Apart from that tantalizing fixture, Hasrin Jailani’s charges will also come up against tricky matches with Balestier Khalsa and Home United. The Eagles will be hoping to go one step further this year, and will be ambitious to clinch their first ever league cup silverware.
Hasrin believes that it is no easy group and that all teams must fight equally hard to reach the summit. The ex-Singapore international also agrees with S.League chief executive officer, Lim Chin, that the League Cup was always designed with the intent of allowing young players to flourish.
“We will have 4-5 players away with the national team during the duration of the tournament. Hence, this will give a golden opportunity for the Prime League players and those S.League players whom have not clocked much game-time, a chance to prove their worth and earn a spot in the Eagles’ starting XI.”
“The (Geylang) target has always been, going as far as we can. This time, we hope to better our last year’s achievement and do well throughout the competition. If we can win the TNP League Cup, why not?” added the 40-year-old.
*Photos Courtesy Of S.League