Young Lions draw another blank
Tardy's team have now failed to score in nine out of 12 league games
|GARENA YOUNG LIONS||WARRIORS FC|
The Garena Young Lions missed a chance to move off from the foot of the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League table, squandering several gilt-edged goal-scoring chances to allow Warriors FC to escape with a goalless draw at Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
A lack of quality service and poor finishing meant that they failed to score for the ninth time in 12 league games this season.
After seeing his team record only the third point of their campaign, Young Lions coach Richard Tardy said: "Our team's average age today was 20.2 years and we were playing against adults, a team who are fourth in the league, and we were equal.
"It wasn't a very good game... but we showed big heart and stayed well-organised. I take good satisfaction with Zharfan (Rohaizad) who made the saves to keep us in the game.
"Unfortunately, we have problems scoring. We missed attacking midfielders like Joshua Pereira and Hami Syahin who are injured and suspended, and we used defensive players in midfield today.
"They are not the same type of players, but they did well to recover the ball in midfield."
The best chances of the night belonged to the Young Lions.
Warriors defender Syaqir Sulaiman had just seen his acrobatic effort denied by Zharfan Rohaizad in the 42nd minute, when the Young Lions broke clear at the other end.
Ikhsan Fandi produced a superb pick-out from the right flank to find Taufik Suparno, whose first-time volley was well blocked by Zainol Gulam.
Taufik then missed another golden chance in the 62nd minute when he was left unmarked by the Warriors defence, only to head Rusyaidi Salime's free-kick wide.
A minute later, Muhelmy Suhaimi's shot from the edge of the area rocked the Warriors' crossbar.
No wonder the point gained felt like two points lost for the Young Lions.
Tardy admitted there were some fitness concerns that need to be remedied after seeing a number of his players succumb to cramps during the match.
"Some don't play too many games, while others have played too much over a short time," said the 66-year-old Frenchman.
"The players have just come back from the fasting month, in which they also played two strong teams in Qatar. They will also play three league games in 11 days, which can be tough.
"Going into the AFC Under-23 qualifiers and the SEA Games, we will need to control the situation, because we need more energy."
Meanwhile, the Warriors were practically crying out for a striker, after work permit issues once again prevented Romanian striker Andrei Ciolacu from making his S.League debut for the nine-time champions.
Skipper Shahril Ishak led the line and, while he did score twice in the 2-0 win over Geylang International on June 16, he was guilty of missing a clear chance to win yesterday's game, when he ballooned the ball from inside the box in the 81st minute.
Warriors coach Razif Onn said: "We didn't play to my expectations. We let the Young Lions play, especially in the first half, and didn't press them.
"We have dried up up front and have no one to finish (off the chances). Andrei looks good in training, but we need him to play matches for us."
AFF cites three reasons for U-turn on Asean Super League
It is official, the lights have gone out on the Asean Super League (ASL).
Windsor John, general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), had told The New Paper last week that the Asean Football Federation (AFF), organiser of the proposed regional league, had written to the AFC to inform the regional body that it will no longer pursue the idea of the ASL.
While the AFF did not respond to queries last week, its secretary-general Azzuddin Ahmad confirmed yesterday that it will make no further moves to bring the ASL to reality.
"Yes, I can confirm that it has been scrapped. The decision was taken by the AFF council at its meeting on May 20 in Vientiane, Laos," he told TNP yesterday.
Azzuddin listed three main reasons behind the AFF decision - football associations across the region want to focus and improve their national leagues; the AFF could not fit the ASL within a tight regional football calendar; and the cost factor, with the AFF projecting that "in the long run, it can be very expensive, and clubs may not be able to sustain it financially".
The AFF had set up a task force to look into the formation of the ASL that was first mooted in 2005, with former Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin a key figure.
The ASL was proposed as a 10-team league with new franchises from across the region.
Each team needed to put up some $7 million to participate.
The ASL needed AFC's approval before it could launch, and John had told TNP in an earlier interview that the green light was not given because the ASL needed to show that it can "organise the competition under the structure of the AFC", and around AFC competition schedules.
The AFC runs two regional club competitions - the top- level AFC Champions League and the second-tier AFC Cup - both working around the schedules of domestic leagues around the region.
At that time, ASL organisers could not demonstrate that they could manage that.
Perhaps more importantly, the ASL did not get the full backing of regional football associations.
TNP had earlier reported that the Philippines was more keen on its professional league that was launched only in April, with recent media reports revealing that even the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) - previously thought to be a supporter of the ASL - had, in fact, scoffed at the idea.
"FAM did not agree with the ASL because it was going to interfere with the calendar of our domestic league," FAM secretary general Hamidin Amin told Malaysian Malay language daily, Harian Metro.
"Besides that, getting quality teams to compete would have also been a problem."