News Singapore Premier League • March 10, 2021
SPL 2021 Club Guide: Tampines Rovers
10 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 Tampines Rovers!
Nickname: The Stags
Stadium: Our Tampines Hub
Highest finish: 1st (2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013)
2020 finish: 2nd
Chairman: Desmond Ong
Head coach: Gavin Lee
Captain: Yasir Hanapi
Foreigners: Kyoga Nakamura* (Japan), Boris Kopitovic (Montenegro), Zehrudin Mehmedović (Serbia), Armin Bošnjak (Montenegro)
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Having led the league with just two games to go, Tampines will be disappointed that they ultimately allowed the title to slip from their grasp last season.
Still, a second-place finish saw them qualify for the AFC Champions League for the first time in their history and all indications are that the Stags are raring to go for 2021. The loss of Canadian talisman Jordan Webb is a blow but his replacement, Armin Bošnjak, has playing experience in the Montenegrin first tier and will be expected to form a triumvirate with countryman Boris Kopitovic and the skilful Zehrudin Mehmedović. Japanese playmaker Kyoga Nakamura is a classy operator from deep, while Shah Shahiran has become a key player despite his tender years.
Gavin Lee has otherwise opted to bring in young talent over experienced names but the core of the Stags squad is settled, with a strong spine. His philosophy of keeping the ball on the ground and playing through opponents can be a delight to watch and fans will hope for the team to win their first league title since 2013.
Squad (as at time of publication)
Goalkeepers: Syazwan Buhari, Zulfairuuz Rudy
Defenders: Ryaan Sanizal^, Baihakki Khaizan, Madhu Mohana, Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah, Hamizan Hisham^, Irfan Najeeb^
Midfielders: Yasir Hanapi, Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović, Armin Bošnjak, Amirul Haikal^, Marc Ryan Tan^, Shah Shahiran^, Iman Hakim^
Forwards: Boris Kopitovic, Taufik Suparno, Fazrul Nawaz
*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.