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SAFETY MEASURE: Farmers move fodder away from a burning godown following bushfires in Freeling, north of Adelaide.
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S Korean professor jailed for 'atrocities'

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After quarrel, man stabs wife

Hubby attacks hairdresser wife at workplace in Sabah, after suspecting her of infidelity

HELP: The victim being treated by medical personnel.

A husband stabbed his hairdresser wife at her workplace at a shopping complex in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old woman is now being treated at the hospital for stab wounds on her body and left arm.

She is said to have argued with the 50-year-old suspect in the morning before the incident.

It is believed that the man suspected his wife of cheating on him and had gone to confront her.

Kota Kinabalu acting police chief Deputy Superintendent Yong Thien Foh said that according to witnesses, the victim ran into the shop, screaming for help. She was being chased by the suspect, who was holding a red plastic bag.

He told The Star: "A scuffle broke out and the suspect stabbed the woman using a knife that was in the red plastic bag he was holding."

The man fled the scene, but was arrested soon after a police report was filed.

DSP Yong said the man confessed to stabbing his wife and is now under police detention.

The weapon believed to have been used has been recovered.

Investigations revealed that the victim, who is a Filipino refugee card holder, had left her house on Tuesday due to relationship issues with her husband.

FAS assures LionsXII of contracts with same salary

FAS will ensure players earn same salaries next year

RELIEVED: The LionsXII players' (above) fate has been in limbo since Tuesday announcement of their exit from Malaysian football.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has moved swiftly to calm the nerves of the LionsXII players, who were left reeling after the shock announcement they will no longer play in Malaysia's club competitions from 2016.

FAS president Zainudin Nordin and general secretary Winston Lee met with the team before yesterday's evening training session, and in a statement issued later, the national sports association said they had assured the players that "they will secure a playing contract at the same current salary for the 2016 season".

The FAS management assured the players that they are consulting key partners on the various possibilities relating to who they will play for next season.

The New Paper understands that a decision will be made by the end of next week and the most likely outcome is that the LionsXII will be kept together to play in the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League next season, as opposed to splitting the players up into the six senior local S.League teams.

Players who are offered contracts with clubs in the Malaysian Super League or in other countries will be free to negotiate their own deals.

Over the years, the LionsXII squad have formed the bulk of the national team and the idea is to ensure continuity and understanding among as many of the players as possible.

This will allow them to prepare for next year's Suzuki Cup - co-hosted in Myanmar and Philippines at the end of next year - and ensure a smooth transition when the side form the core of the Singapore franchise that will play in the Asean Super League, which is slated to kick off in 2017. 

Said LionsXII midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin: "We are thankful to the FAS management for their concern and in taking swift action to support us. 

"The certainty that every player in LionsXII is assured of a playing contract for next year means a lot to us, and the guarantee that we will receive the same salary is definitely a big bonus."

Winger Gabriel Quak added: "FAS responded quickly to assure us of our future, and we are very grateful for this gesture. 

"We appreciate the guarantee of contracts for 2016. It was a different experience for us to play in a foreign league for the past four years, but we will now look ahead to next season in returning to a very competitive S.League with this assurance given to us by FAS."

BETTER DEALS

While the LionsXII players are relieved, some who had performed well in a season when they won the Malaysian FA Cup were already negotiating for a better contract before the Football Association of Malaysia's stunning announcement on Tuesday.

S.League clubs have already started to approach some of the LionsXII players.

The LionsXII will play in the second leg of the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals tomorrow night at Jalan Besar Stadium, and failure to overturn a 4-1 deficit will mean the end of their participation in Malaysian football.

But LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad feels that the FAS reassurance has given the team a boost and possibly help them pull off a sensational result against the defending champions.

"We heard about the news around midnight on Tuesday and naturally, our players were down. However, the management was quick to assure the team and spoke to us even before we returned to Singapore the next day," said Fandi.

"My officials and players appreciate the professionalism and sincerity of the management. Their prompt action in assuring us all has given us full confidence to do well on Saturday.

"Unlike what some have said, the LionsXII have been a positive project for our players - many of whom lack regional and international exposure. 

"We all knew that the memorandum of understanding was valid for four years, and there will come a time when we have to move on. 

"Now is the time, and while we were disappointed by the approach FAM took in announcing this decision, it has been a good journey and we will now continue to develop further."

Micky Lin set to be a netball centurion

From left: Micky Lin (captain), Premila Hirubalan, Ang Shiqi, Nurul Baizura (vice-captain), Kimberly Lim, Chen Li Li, Kwok Shuyi, Charmaine Soh (vice-captain), Parveen Nair, Yasmin Ho, Pamela Liew, Toh Wan Ling
"It is another competition for me, although the 100th cap is definitely a milestone that few have achieved. It’s a good-to-have, and I definitely feel a bit old." - Singapore captain Micky Lin (left, with the team for the Nations Cup)

December 15 will mark a special day in Micky Lin's international netball career.

If all goes to plan, the 30-year-old will earn her 100th cap when Singapore face Taiwan in their third match in the annual six-country Mission Foods Nations Cup.

When she does achieve the milestone, she will join Jean Ng (111), Premila Hirubalan (112) and Chen Huifen (109) in the 100-cap club.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, the assistant manager at Deloitte, who is currently seconded to the Asean Para Games organising committee, said: "It is another competition for me, although the 100th cap is definitely a milestone that few have achieved.

"It's a good-to-have, and I definitely feel a bit old."

Lin actually contemplated retirement over the last few months, and now, she is taking it one tournament at a time.

She said: "I'm still in discussions with Ruth (Aitken, national coach) and it will depend on factors such as my workload and how my body is holding up."

She will captain the Nations Cup team, who were selected after a training tour to Botswana earlier this month.

The Singapore team are largely the same as the 12 who competed in the Netball World Cup in Sydney in August, with the exception of Chen, Shelby Koh, Yu Meiling and Olivia Flanagan.

Chen is taking a break from netball, Koh is studying in Australia, while Flanagan has relocated after the World Cup, while Yu did not make selection.

Goal shooter/attack Yasmin Ho rejoins the team after being part of their gold medal-winning South-east Asia Games campaign in June, while Kwok Shuyi (centre/wing attack/wing defence) and Parveen Nair (wing defence/goalkeeper/centre) also made the cut.

Toh Wan Ling, who plays as a goalkeeper, goal defender or wing defence, is also in the squad and will aim to add to her solitary cap.

In Chen's absence, goal shooter Charmaine Soh has been promoted to vice-captain, a role she shares with Nurul Baizura.

Aitken said: "The team is a good balance of youth and experience. It will give the next generation of players like Parveen and Kimberly an opportunity to work closely with, and learn from seasoned players like Micky and Premila.

"We're confident, and are hoping to end a successful year on a high with a positive performance at the Cup."

NATIONS CUP SQUAD

Micky Lin (captain), Nurul Baizura (vice-captain), Charmaine Soh (vice-captain), Premila Hirubalan, Ang Shiqi, Kimberly Lim, Chen Lili, Yasmin Ho, Kwok Shuyi, Pamela Liew, Toh Wan Ling, Parveen Nair.

Sports School and J-League club Omiya Ardija link up for exchange programme

Sports School inks partnership with J-League club to develop players and coaches

JAPAN-BOUND: Singapore Sports School principal Tan Teck Hock (left) receiving a mascot from J-League club Omiya Ardija's president Shigeru Suzuki after the Memorandum of Understanding signing last Sunday. 

"Our athletes are at the epicentre of the work we do. The decisions we make and the policies we set directly impact our athletes. We must continue to help them to develop their sporting potential and if possible, help them to realise their sporting ambitions... and not be disrupted by other irrelevant demands and unnecessary distractions." - Minister for Social and Family Development and president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, Tan Chuan-Jin (above), in a blog post as well as letters to national sports associations, after recent doping and corruption scandals in sports

Around 14 players from the Singapore Sports School (SSP) will say "ohayo gozaimasu" (good morning in Japanese) when greeting their counterparts from J-League football club Omiya Ardija today, in the Japanese city of Saitama.

The Singapore school and the professional football club have linked up with an exchange programme after signing a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last Sunday.

The exchange programme will see four Sports School footballers train and compete with Omiya's team for a month each year.

Omiya will also host one Sports School team annually, allowing the side to use their facilities, while providing opportunities for friendly games.

"The level of football development in Japan is high, and Omiya Ardija have a high quality youth football programme that will complement the Sports School's focus on long-term athlete development," said Sports School principal Tan Teck Hock, who was in Saitama last weekend to sign the MOU.

"Omiya Ardija are a compatible and long-term partner for Singapore Sports School, and I am excited about the opportunities this partnership will bring for the Sports School."

The MOU will see coaches from both sides benefit by sharing methodologies, ideas and experiences, and the J-League club - who won the second-tier J2 League title on Monday - will help Sports School review and improve their football programme.

In addition, the Woodlands-based institution will help Omiya pilot a football outreach programme here.

The two parties previously met in 2010 and 2013, and the MOU signing is a follow-up to the recent strategic review of the school, where one recommendation is to expose the Sports School's student-athletes to more top-notch coaching and training programmes.

The school already has a partnership with S.League club Home United, who help them plan, develop and execute their football programme, and provides opportunities for the school's footballers to join Home's youth academy.

The 14 Sports School footballers, who are from the Under-14 and U-15 sides, left last night for Japan, and will stay there till Dec 7.

They will join their teammates Joel Chew, Jordan Nicholas Vestering, Mohamad Hamizan Mohamad Hisham and Muhamad Firas Muhamad Irwan, who are already in Saitama training with the club under the agreement.

Teng Wei Ken, who heads the Sports School's football academy, said: "Selected Sports School footballers will be exposed to Omiya's style of play, which emphasises higher levels of teamwork, fitness, discipline, speed and technical skills.

"Our coaches will also benefit from sharing best practices with our Japanese counterparts who excel in the area of youth coaching.

"We know that the experiences and exposure gained by our footballers from this exchange programme will raise the quality of football in Sports School and Singapore.

"The partnership with Omiya Ardija will also open up more opportunities for Sports School footballers to pursue a professional career in the J.League."

Home star Ilso looking to a great finale against Albirex

Home's Danish star looks to end fine debut season with a magical night

KEN CAN: Home United's Ken Ilso (in red) going up against Tampines Rovers' Jufri Taha during an S.League match which Home lost 3-2 on Nov 8.

FINAL

ALBIREX NIIGATA v 
HOME UNITED

(Tonight, 8pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

He arrived at Home United at the start of the year amid plenty of hype and Ken Ilso certainly has not disappointed.

Tonight, the Dane will be looking to deliver the goods one final time this season, when the Protectors take on Albirex Niigata in the RHB Singapore Cup final at Jalan Besar Stadium.

With 13 goals to his name in all competitions, Ilso - who is one of four nominees for the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League's Player of the Year - has established himself as a star in Singapore football, even though he's had to cope with some niggling injuries in his first season.

His lethal finishing and ability to produce moments of brilliance should come as no surprise, considering he has played at the highest level in the German Bundesliga and Dutch Eredivisie.

While he has turned out for the likes of Fortuna Dusseldorf and Heerenveen, Ilso insists it will still be a special moment for him tonight, especially if Home emerge triumphant.

"I have a chance to win my first trophy in Singapore, which would mean a lot of me," he said, at yesterday's pre-match press conference.

"We're well prepared after a good performance in our last game against Brunei (DPMM).

"It wasn't an easy semi-final against the S.League champions, but we still managed to deliver a very good performance and showed a lot of heart, and we're going to need that heart again tomorrow.

"It's always a tactical battle against Albirex, but the heart we've been showing in the last couple of games could make the difference and I'm looking forward to it."

Despite their status as one of the Singapore football's traditional heavyweights, Home have won the S.League only twice in the competition's 20-year history, although they have fared much better in the Singapore Cup, with six titles to their name.

They missed a chance to add to their tally last year, when they fell to a shock 3-1 defeat by Balestier Khalsa in the final.

PAST IS PAST

Protectors' coach Philippe Aw insists setting out to make amends for last season's heartbreak is the farthest thing on his players' minds.

"What happened then is in the past," Aw explained.

"2015 is a new season with a new coach and a new team and we want to go in there and lift the cup for ourselves.

"The final will be a good chance for Home United to display the brand of football we've been playing this whole season.

"We're looking forward to it and the boys will be geared up to end the season on a winning note."

Like Aw, Albirex coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama says his side will not lack motivation tonight.

Having won the TNP League Cup earlier this year, the White Swans will be looking to make it a double by bagging their first RHB Singapore Cup.

"We came into this season aiming to win all three titles on offer and, unfortunately, we didn't win the league," said Okuyama.

"We did manage to win the League Cup and I think the experience of competing in such finals will stand the players in good stead.

"Tomorrow, we will be hugely motivated to add the Singapore Cup to our trophy cabinet."

It’s always a tactical battle against Albirex, but the heart we’ve been showing in the last couple of games could make the difference and I’m looking forward to it.

— Home United’s star forward Ken Ilso


BY THE NUMBERS

6 Home United have bagged the Singapore Cup a record six times since the competition was introduced in 1998. The Protectors won the knockout tournament in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2013.

Boost S.League by spreading LionsXII players across clubs

Next season's Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League could feature new challengers, if the LionsXII feature in the competition.

After the Football Association of Malaysia's (FAM) shock decision not to extend the Singapore team's participation in the country's club competitions, the other option is for local S.League clubs to sign LionsXII players for the 2016 season.

Home United coach Philippe Aw believes that would better serve the S.League.

Speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of the pre-match press conference for tonight's RHB Singapore Cup final against Albirex Niigata yesterday, Aw (photo) said: "I would suggest the LionsXII players be split up and spread across all the clubs.

"This will make each of the clubs more competitive, the level of competition will be raised and it would be good to watch."

Aw, who will be looking to cap off his first season as an S.League coach with an RHB Singapore Cup triumph tonight, believes the infusion of names like Madhu Mohana, Zulfahmi Arifin and Gabriel Quak could help raise the interest in Singapore's only professional sports competition.

Said Aw: "What's important is that the whole S.League has to be revived. If teams can churn out exciting football day in and day out, the fans will keep coming back.

"If these (LionsXII) players come back and raise the level and all the clubs play exciting football, I think, given time, fans will turn up and we can revive the S.League."

- GABRIEL TAN

Hamilton wants to 
end year on a high

ROLE REVERSAL: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico Rosberg (right) being drenched in champagne after finishing second and first respectively at the Brazilian GP on Nov 15.
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