A bottom-of-table clash is on the cards this Sunday evening as Geylang International and Hougang United face off at Bedok Stadium.
With only seven points to show for after 17 rounds, Hougang are clearly in a woeful position as they prop the Singapore Premier League (SPL) table.
Geylang sit above them but are a massive 10 points ahead and will come into this game on the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 win over giant slayers Balestier Khalsa.
If there was a relegation system in place, the Cheetahs’ fight for survival would be in mighty doubt given that they are on a five-game losing streak and still have games left with big guns like Tampines Rovers FC.
Hougang Captain Fabian Kwok believes this should be a wake-up call for his team, given the volatile nature of football in Singapore.
“If there was a relegation system in Singapore, then things would become very different for us. This shows we shouldn’t take things for granted,” Kwok said.
“In Singapore, the rulings change almost every year so we don’t know what might happen and if something has to happen to the last-placed team, we do not want to be in that situation.”
Kwok however also rued his side’s luck, after they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Warriors FC recently. The Cheetahs have been creating chances but their inability to convert them has been a consistent theme this season.
“In our last game, our opponents had two shots on target and they scored two goals. It has been this way the whole season,” he added.
“As a team we need to put in a little bit more. With Fazrul Nazwaz coming in and Chang Jo Yoon joining us, we hope we can go forward better.
“Fazrul in particular is very experienced and a good leader from the top so this is someone our young attackers can learn from.”
Geylang will have a largely full squad to choose from, with Fairoz Hasan returning from suspension.
Zulfadli Zainal Abidin is still a doubt while Afiq Yunos will sit out his first game since joining the Eagles as he serves a one-match suspension.
Hougang’s Jordan Vestering will serve the last of his two-game suspension. However the Cheetahs will be buoyed by the return of Nazrul Nazari and Shahfiq Ghani in training.
Geylang International FC: LWLLW
Hougang United FC: LLLLL
12/05/18: Hougang 1-3 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
18/08/17: Hougang 0-1 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
20/05/17: Geylang 1-1 Hougang – Singapore Premier Leagu
27/02/17: Hougang 2-0 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
20/10/16: Hougang 0-1 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:
Fairoz Hasan (Geylang International FC)
Fairoz is enjoying his best season to date and he will look to maintain his form. With six goals, he is Geylang’s second top scorer and they will be hoping he can link up well with Captain Anders in the Eagles’ attack.
Fabian Kwok (Hougang United FC)
Kwok is a tireless midfielder who will press consistently to help his side win back the ball. He can be counted upon when the going gets tough and has an eye for the spectacular goals.
Such is the trust in Kwok that he has started in 14 of Hougang’s games and handed the armband.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:
Geylang International FC Captain Anders Aplin: “We would be foolish if we were to take Hougang lightly.
“They have a couple of new signings in Fazrul and Chang Jo Yoon. They are also a team in transition — they have a new coach and some new players so we shouldn’t underestimate them.
“Of course we are coming into that game on the back of a win, so our confidence should be there, but I will tell them not to be over confident as that will be key.
“Sometimes we need to play it smart a bit, sometimes we are a bit naive but we need to stick to our coach’s tactics.”
Hougang United FC Midfielder Fabian Kwok: “Looking at games like the one against Warriors, which we dominated, we look to do the same against Geylang.
“It has not been easy for us in the fight to climb the table. When we thought we were going to catch up, all the teams above us started to win.
“We have to be thankful there are no relegation system just yet. It’s not even going to be easy to catch Geylang as well and there are other hard games to play so the boys should keep their focus.”