News Singapore Premier League • March 8, 2021
SPL 2021 Club Guide: Balestier Khalsa
8 MARCH 2021 – Ahead of the 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, we take a look at each of the eight clubs that are participating in the 26th season of the domestic top flight. Today’s focus is on Balestier Khalsa!
Nickname: The Tigers
Stadium: Toa Payoh Stadium
Highest finish: 3rd (1996)
2020 finish: 5th
Chairman: Thavaneson Selvaratnam
Head coach: Marko Kraljević
Captain: Zaiful Nizam
Foreigners: Šime Žužul (Croatia), Kristijan Krajček (Croatia), Shuhei Hoshino* (Japan), Ensar Brunčević (Serbia)
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While the Tigers improved on 2019’s bottom-placed finish by ending in fifth last year, they will be kicking themselves for failing to secure continental football. Victory on the final day would have guaranteed a berth in this year’s AFC Cup, but defeat to the Lion City Sailors saw Geylang International pip them to fourth after the Eagles won their final game.
Marko Kraljevic has retained most of this squad, including his foreign quartet, who will be key to their hopes of faring better this season. Centre-back Ensar Brunčević in particular was a big miss through injury after the league’s restart and keeping him fit will be crucial.
Squad (as at time of publication)
Goalkeepers: Zaiful Nizam, Zacharial Leong^, Riki Kimura^
Defenders: Fadli Kamis, Ensar Brunčević, Amer Hakeem^, Gaye Sameer^, Ahmad Syahir, Aiman Zavyan^
Midfielders: Faizal Raffi, Aarish Kumar^, Hazzuwan Halim, Kristijan Krajček, Jordan Emaviwe^, Hariysh Krishnakumar^, Gautam Selvamany, Gareth Low
Forwards: Šime Žužul, Shuhei Hoshino
*Local SPL clubs, excluding Albirex Niigata (S) and Young Lions, are allowed to sign 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 fielded in any one match.
^ Local SPL clubs, excluding Albirex Niigata (S) and Young Lions, are required to have a minimum of six local U-23 players (born on or after 1 January 1998) for a squad size of 18 (minimum) to 25 (maximum) players. At least eight local U-30 players (born on or after 1 January 1991) have to be registered as well.