The year 2020 presented the world with numerous challenges, with the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic felt across the globe.
Football and sport in general are secondary when lives are at stake, but thanks to the measures put in place by the Singapore government, the leadership and organisation of Sport Singapore and Football Association of Singapore, the cooperation of Singapore Premier League clubs, and the efforts of everyone on the ground, we managed to resume and complete the SPL season.
At Geylang International, I’m proud of how we managed to meet our objective of qualifying for the AFC Cup. We finished fourth overall, one position higher than we did in 2019, and were the third-best local club.
This is a great achievement considering the obstacles we had to overcome.
We suffered a false start when we lost 4-0 to champions Albirex Niigata in our first game of the season, and again when we were beaten by third-placed Lion City Sailors with the same scoreline when the SPL restarted.
We had also parted ways with our Greek midfielder Panagiotis Linardos by mutual consent, leaving us one import short.
These could have been excuses for us to buckle. Instead, under the guidance of Noor Ali, we rose as a team and got the results required for us to return to the AFC Cup in a close fight with Balestier Khalsa and Hougang United.
The management would like to thank the backroom staff and our current and former players for their efforts, and our sponsors for their backing last season to make our dreams a reality.
It is a testament to the club’s faith, commitment and ability to develop youth players that 20-year-old left-back Harith Kanadi was affirmed as one of three Young Player of the Year nominees.
It was also a joy to see our die-hard Ultra Eagles fans celebrate with us at Our Tampines Hub with that vital 1-1 draw against second-placed Tampines Rovers on the final day of the season.
Moving ahead, we have identified areas where we can improve. We welcome our new signings Moresche, Sylvano Comvalius, Izzdin Shafiq, Faizal Roslan and Ikram Rifqi, and are excited and looking forward to seeing them settle in and take our team to greater heights.
We recognise we are not the finished article yet and as we approach the start of the new season, our goal remains to be #upwherewebelong and improve on last season’s results and performances.
While uncertainty and unpredictability remain due to Covid-19, I trust that Noor Ali and the team will continue to give their all to build on last season’s success and give the Geylang International family more reasons to cheer this season.