By Kenneth Tan/Red Sports
Mohd Luqman (Sengkang #3, in red) tries to keep possession among a sea of Naval Base players. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Sengkang Secondary School, Saturday, 27 March, 2010 – Defending champions Seng Kang Secondary School qualified for Round 2 of the Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) Singapore along with Tanglin Secondary School (Team A) after both teams finished as the top two of Group B.
The MUPC is a worldwide football tournament that gives talented footballers under the age of 15 a chance to showcase their skills and talent and come up against other young footballers around the globe. The tournament is jointly sponsored by Nike and Manchester United as part of their commitment to grassroots development.
The winning team from Singapore will go through to the SEA Regional Finals in Thailand where they will face other strong winning teams from Asia. The winner of the Regional Finals will get a chance to participate in the Global Finals held in Manchester.
National team players such as Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Khairul Amri participated in the tournament back when they were under-15.
In Round 1, Round 2 and the quarter-finals, teams play 20-minute games while from semi-finals onwards, the games are 40 minutes.
The first fixture of Group B kicked off with Seng Kang Secondary beating Naval Base Secondary (Team A) 4 goals to nil to start off their campaign well.
The second fixture saw Tanglin Secondary (Team A) settling the encounter against Clementi Town Secondary with a solitary goal from right winger Jamuel Feng Jiawei.
Tanglin (Team A) surprised everyone in the next encounter by holding the defending champions Seng Kang to a goalless draw, a result that put both teams on four points each.
A stalemate next followed as both Clementi Town and Naval Base (Team A) failed to breach each other's defence in the 20 minutes played.
Naval Base (Team A) finished off their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Tanglin (Team A), a result that put them put them both in third position with two points from three games. Meanwhile Tanglin's one win and two draws from the three games meant they achieved five points in total, successfully qualifying themselves for Round 2.
The last fixture of the day saw Seng Kang run riot against Clementi Town as they hit them for seven without reply to complete their Group B fixtures on a high. That result put them on top of the group with seven points achieved via two wins and a draw, while Clementi Town finished last in the group with only one point from the three games played.
"It was rather expected," commented Mr Donald Wan, said coach of Seng Kang about qualification for the next round. "We are the defending champions, thus we have to at least go past the first round."
"I was not that satisfied about our second game because we drew 0-0 (against Tanglin)," commented 14-year-old Mohd Nor Afiq B Udin, captain of Seng Kang.
When quizzed about what he thought of the opportunity to play at Old Trafford if they go all the way to win the Regional Finals, he said, "Of course it's great, every player wants to play there. It's certainly an added motivation for me."
Meanwhile the teams that did not qualify also shared their thoughts about their matches.
"Even though this is our second team, I felt we did well," 13-year-old Naval Base (Team A) goalkeeper Megat Khairul Hazwan shared. "I think this team got a lot of potential."
His teammate 15-year-old Muhd Afiq also added. "This is our first time participating in the MUPC. I think we played our best and performed very well today."
"I think we fared okay today," commented 15- year-old Mohd Aliff, captain of Clementi Town. "The matches were not that hard for us, except the last game against Seng Kang."
"What I want is my team to improve in the future games, especially in our midfield and defence," he also elaborated.
Both Seng Kang and Tanglin now go through to Round 2 with 18 other qualifying teams where they will be split into groups of five each. The top two for each group will progress further into the quarter-finals.
Round 2 will commence on Saturday, April 3rd.
Seng Kang 4 Naval Base (Team A) 0
Tanglin (Team A) 1 Clementi Town 0
Tanglin (Team A) 0 Seng Kang 0
Clementi Town 0 Naval Base (Team A) 0
Naval Base (Team A) 1 Tanglin (Team A) 1
Sengkang 7 Clementi Town 0
Sunny Wang (#1, GK), Ahmad Izzudin Amat Zaki (#2), Mohd Luqman B Mohd Kamarozaman (#3), Zakaria B Abdul Razak (#4), Rayyan B Mohd (#5), Mohd Noor Afiq B Udin (#6, captain), Mohd Helmi B Ridzwan (#7), Hafiz B Ridzwan (#8), Mohd Shameer Aziq B Razak (#9), Muhd Ariyan B Shamsuddin Malik (#10), Benedict Sim (#11), Muhd Rashe B Abdul Rahman (#12), Muhd Haiqal Ashidiq Khairul Anuar (#13), Erwannurrakim B Aminurlahim (#14), Benedict Ang (#15), Muhd Ridhuan B Shamsuddin Malik (#16)
Tanglin (Team A)
Abdillah Bin Omar (#4), Jonathan Cheok Sien Wei (#5), Muhd Izzat bin Saharrudin (#6), Muhd Syarifuddin Bin Suhaimi (#8), Muhd Zahid Bin Abdul Razak (#9, captain), Muhd Asyraf Bin Osman (#10), Kieren Lim Shih Hern (#12), Alex Cheang Wee Keong (#13), Gerald Bey (#18), Jumuel Feng Jiawei (#20), Foo Wai Seng (#23), Muhd Shahrizal B Mislan (#28), Choi Woo Seok (#30), Muhd Haqib B Kamsani (#31)
Joshua Lu Huan Xuan (#1, GK), Marcus Yeo Jin Hern (#4), Huzaifah (#5), Mohd Aliff (#7, captain), Muhd Hakim (#9), Muhd Syafiq (#13),Muhd Syaqir (#15), Chua Guo Xian (#17), Nur Hakim Luqman (#20), Quah Jia Yong (#31), Kaneshpillai (#32), Muhd Noor Hakim (#34), Syazrin (#52), Danial (#54), Fahmi (#60), Muhammad Aidil (#62)
Naval Base (Team A)
Md Safwan (#2), Muhd Afiq (#3), Muhd Amirusholeh (#4), Shah Idham (#5), Irsyad Syahmi (#6), Md Zulraimi (#7), Muhd Zulfiqar (#8), Jimmy Chan (#10), Muhd Fatullah (#11), Muhd Faiz (#12), Muhd Farhan (#13), Sollehin (#14), Md Noor Syafiq (#15), Muhd Arfizan (#16), Muhd Quyyum (#20), Megat Khairul Hazwan (GK)
Mohd Helmi (Seng Kang #7) comes under pressure from a Naval Base player. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
A Clementi Town player clears the ball. (Photo 3 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Fahmi (Clementi Town #60) tries to intercept a Tanglin player. (Photo 4 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
A Clementi Town player fighting to win the ball under pressure from three Tanglin defenders in their 0-1 loss. (Photo 5 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Abdillah Bin Omar (Tanglin #4) gets to the ball as his opponents watch on. (Photo 6 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Benedict Ang (Seng Kang #15) sees the ball tackled away from him. (Photo 7 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
A Naval Base defender holds off his Clementi Town opponent as the goalkeeper rushes to the ball. (Photo 8 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Tanglin doing an interesting cheer before the start. (Photo 9 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Muhd Rashe B Abdul Rahman (Seng Kang #12) threading a pass to his teammate in his team’s 7-0 thrashing of Clementi Town. (Photo 10 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)