News Singapore Premier League • June 4, 2014

Steinebrunner Hails Improvement in S.League


Written By: Kenneth Ho

He left for greener pastures in Indonesia in 2011, but former Woodlands Wellington coach Jorg Steinebrunner has since returned to the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League as Geylang International coach.

It has only been a few months into his job, but after seeing the other teams in action, Steinebrunner felt that the domestic league has improved by leaps and bounds.

“The S.League has become better,” Steinebrunner declared. “The clubs have raised the intensity of their teams, there are good players, no game is easy in the league, and that is credit to the S.League.”

Part of it, the German says, is down to the marquee signing scheme which was only initiated last year and has made possible seeing players such as former South Korea international Lee Kwan Woo taking to the pitch for the respective clubs.

Lee vindicated the marquee signing scheme with his scintillating performances for Home United last year, as he also took home the S.League 2013 Player of the Year award.

As opposed to last year whereby there were only three marquee signings in the league, the 2014 season currently boast of four marquee players in the league.

Steinebrunner saw this as a form of progress, and urged the relevant parties to keep supporting the league in such a way.

However, he also expressed caution over rashly signing players, as he felt that marquee signings had a lot to live up to.

“When I saw Monsef Zerka last year, he is a quality player, he works very hard for the team and football-wise we know what he can do, so in my eyes that’s a good sign of a marquee player,” Steinebrunner explained.

“Eventually they can step it up to bring more quality players into the clubs and then the league will go up.

“But they need to be the right player, now you cannot just bring in any foreigner and it is not good for us, they need to be good role models.

“When you bring in marquee players, pay him good money and he is not a role model, and just comes here to pick up his money then there is no point, it is just a waste of time.”

While there is no doubting that the marquee signings are lighting up the league, Steinebrunner was quick to point out that the local lads deserve much credit for stepping up their performances to match those of their foreign counterparts.

Citing his team’s midfielders Ridhuan Muhammad and Mustaqim Manzur as examples, Steinebrunner made it clear that it was a concerted effort by both marquee and non-marquee players that has helped the league improve.

“We cannot only talk about marquee signings, we must also talk about local players who put in their shift and hard work, we have to appreciate them,” the Geylang coach said.