Singapore Premier League • February 17, 2022
2022 SPL Club Guide: Tanjong Pagar United
17 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. The fifth club to get the spotlight is Tanjong Pagar United!
Nickname: The Jaguars
Stadium: Jurong East Stadium
Highest finish: 2nd (1996, 1997, 1998, 2000)
2021 finish: 5th
Chairman: Raymond Tang
Head coach: Hasrin Jailani
Captain: Faritz Hameed
Foreigners: Shodai Nishikawa* (Japan), Reo Nishiguchi (Japan), Mirko Sugic (Croatia), Blake Ricciuto (Australia)
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After failing to win any of their 14 matches upon their return to the league in 2020, last season proved to be a much better campaign for the Jaguars.
A series of good performances in the second half of the season saw them slay the likes of Albirex Niigata (S) and Hougang United as they finished fifth. Their brand of fearless football endeared them to their supporters and other football fans and Hasrin Jailani will aim to build upon the encouraging displays for 2022.
Three foreigners have been retained – the effervescent Shodai Nishikawa, who starred in a new wing-back role last season, as well as midfield dynamo Blake Ricciuto and forward Reo Nishiguchi, whose nine goals saw him finish as the club’s second-top scorer. In comes Croatian midfielder Mirko Sugic, 27, from second-tier side NK Dubravka, on the recommendation of club legend Dragan Talajic.
Centre-back Delwinder Singh and striker Luiz Junior have left but otherwise, the majority of last season’s squad has been retained. Veteran defender Daniel Bennett has joined from Tampines Rovers, along with midfielders Aqhari Abdullah from the Lion City Sailors and Faizal Raffi from Balestier Khalsa, and forward Khairul Nizam from Hougang United.
The departure of Junior is a gap that needs to be addressed, with the Brazilian scoring 11 times last season – almost a third of the team’s overall tally of 36. At the back, Shakir Hamzah was a stabilising presence after joining midway in 2021 and his enforced absence due to a serious injury suffered at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2020 will also need to be navigated if Tanjong Pagar United are to improve on last year’s finish.
Squad (as at time of publication)
Goalkeepers: Fashah Iskandar, Zharfan Rohaizad, Veer Karan Sobti
Defenders: Faritz Hameed, Shahrin Saberin, Emmeric Ong, Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Akram Azman
Midfielders: Faizal Raffi, Fathullah Rahmat^, Rusyaidi Salime, Reo Nishiguchi, Aqhari Abdullah, Naufal Ilham^, Shodai Nishikawa, Raihan Rahman, Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Sugic, Ryan Syaffiq
Forwards: Syukri Bashir, Khairul Nizam, Khairul Amri, Hadiputradila Saswadimata^
*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.