Singapore Premier League • February 9, 2022
2022 SPL Club Guide: Lion City Sailors
9 FEBRUARY 2022 – Ahead of the 2022 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, we take a look at each of the eight clubs that are participating in the 27th season of the domestic top flight. We start with defending champions Lion City Sailors!
Nickname: The Sailors
Stadium: Jalan Besar Stadium
Highest finish: 1st (2021)
Chairman: Forrest Li
CEO: Chew Chun-Liang
Head Coach: Kim Do-hoon
Captain: Hariss Harun
Foreigners: Kim Shin-wook* (South Korea), Maxime Lestienne (Belgium), Pedro Henrique (Brazil), Diego Lopes (Brazil)
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Having fallen short in their debut season, the Sailors made sure 2021 was their year by clinching their maiden SPL title on the final day of the campaign.
They were neck and neck with Albirex Niigata (S) throughout the season but held their nerve in the run-in to take advantage of Albirex’s three consecutive draws in their last three matches to win the title by two points.
This year, expectations are even higher. Kim Do-hoon has added South Korean international and proven goalscorer Kim Shin-wook to spearhead the attack, while former Belgium youth international Maxime Lestienne provides quality on the flanks and Pedro Henrique comes in to reinforce the defence. Singapore international duo Izwan Mahbud and M Anumanthan also arrived to add to their sizeable Lions contingent and the Sailors have set their sights on retaining the title and also performing well in their maiden Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League campaign. Drawn into Group F, they will face Chinese Super League (CSL) champions Shandong Taishan, Japanese Emperor’s Cup holders Urawa Red Diamonds and the winner of the play-off between K League 1 second runners-up Daegu FC and Thai League 1 giants Buriram United.
Indeed, Singapore’s only privatised club will be expected to dominate on the domestic front, including the Singapore Cup, having recruited astutely to add to a settled core. The squad depth is arguably unrivalled, with promising youngsters like Saifullah Akbar, Nur Adam Abdullah, Aizal Murhamdani, Glenn Ong and Aniq Raushan read to step up. This will help them cope with the rigours of a packed calendar, with the league format changed to a quadruple round-robin format – one extra round than last season.
All eyes will be on the Sailors when they take on Albirex in the 2022 AIA Community Shield on 19 February, which will be followed by their league opener against Hougang United on 27 February.
Squad (as at time of publication)
Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Izwan Mahbud, Adib Nur Hakim
Defenders: Pedro Henrique, Tajeli Salamat, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Amirul Adli, Hariss Harun, Naqiuddin Eunos
Midfielders: M Anumanthan, Song Uiyoung, Shahdan Sulaiman, Diego Lopes, Hafiz Nor, Iqram Rifqi, Hami Syahin, Gabriel Quak, Haiqal Pashia, Adam Swandi, Saifullah Akbar^, Faris Ramli, Maxime Lestienne
Forwards: Kim Shin-wook, Amiruldin Asraf
*All SPL clubs, excluding Albirex Niigata (S) and Young Lions, are allowed to register up to four foreign players; at least one has to be of an AFC Member Association (Asian) nationality. A maximum of four foreign players can be named or fielded in any one match.
^Indicates Under-23 player (born on or after 1 January 1999) of Singaporean nationality. All SPL clubs, excluding Young Lions, are required to field a minimum of one such player during the entire first half of every match. All clubs, except Albirex Niigata (S) and Young Lions, may also include a maximum of five players from their Centre of Excellence (COE) Under-21 Team, either in the starting line-up or as a substitute, provided it does not contravene any of the other Competition Rules. For example, Nur Adam Abdullah is registered with the Sailors’ Under-21 side but is eligible to play for them in the SPL.