Ahead of the 14th edition of the Sultan of Selangor’s Cup this Saturday, Kenneth Tan explores the rivalry and history between the two teams in this unique fixture...
The Singapore-Selangor rivalry is one which has been well-documented over the past century with matches frequently played out between the two from 1921 to 1994. The first official match was the 1921 Malaya Cup final where Singapore defeated Selangor by two goals to one.
The two sides were forces to be reckoned with in Malaysian football, winning 71 major honours between them – 28 for Singapore and 43 for Selangor. Matches between both sides are massively competitive, with former Singapore captain Samad Allapitchay once admitting that their hatred for the opposition extended beyond the pitch.
Famous Selangor players included Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk Santokh Singh, Zainal Abidin Hassan, Dollah Salleh and the late Mokhtar Dahari, while the likes of Fandi Ahmad, V. Sundramoorthy, Malek Awab (and many more) flew the flag for Singapore.
The rivalry ended in 1994 when Singapore pulled out of all Malaysian competitions due to ticketing issues with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) went on to start their own national league in 1996 after the breakaway and the S.League is currently into its 20th season.
At the end of 2011, it was announced Singapore would make a return to Malaysian football with a brand new team called the LionsXII. The LionsXII went on to win the 2013 Malaysian Super League and the 2015 Malaysia FA Cup, not too shabby a result for a club which is now only just four years old.
The Selangor Selection has come away with the Sultan of Selangor (SOS) Cup seven times in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014 while the Singapore Selection were champions in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The Sultan of Selangor's Cup was mooted and introduced by Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, with an aim to foster relations and renew the rivalry between the two sides.
It was initially named the Regent of Selangor’s Cup, with the first edition taking place in 2001 at the Shah Alam Stadium where the Veteran and Selection teams of both sides faced off.
A strong S.League Selection which included the likes of current Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang, Mirko Gravobac, Fandi and Nazri Nasir, held the Selangor Selection to a 0-0 draw before falling 4-2 in the penalty shootout. The Singapore veterans suffered the same fate after a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
It was renamed the SOS Cup in 2003 when Selangor achieved the Double again (The Selection team thumped the S.League All-Stars 4-1, while the veterans edged their Singapore counterparts 1-0).
It was played in Singapore for the first time in the following year (2004) where both sides were declared joint champions (for the only time in SOS Cup history), after the S.League All-Stars and Selangor MPPJ played out a 2-2 draw at the old National Stadium.
However that was only one of three occasions (the other two being 2006 and 2009) where it was held in the city-state. Since 2010, the tournament has been held exclusively at the Shah Alam Stadium, home of the Red Giants.
The Singapore Selection are bidding to win for the first time in four years after suffering three successive defeats from 2012 to 2014. The last time they won was in 2011 where the Singapore national team, led by then-coach Raddy Avramovic, triumphed 1-0 courtesy of an Asraruddin Putra Omar own goal.
For the 2015 edition, the Sultan of Selangor's Cup committee chairman, Tan Sri Abd Karim Munisar, has said the organisers are expecting 28 buses of fans to travel up from Singapore. Meanwhile the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has expressed interest in bringing the SOS Cup back to Singapore in 2016.
2013 – Selangor FA 3 S.League Selection 2
- Forkey Doe’s stunner
The Singapore representatives took an early lead with Aleksandar Duric stabbing home after the Selangor defence failed to clear Shaiful Esah’s low cross.
Warriors FC goalkeeper Hassan Sunny kept the home side at bay with a string of excellent saves, but there was no stopping Adam Griffiths from heading home the equaliser four minutes before the break.
Francis Forkey Doe reacted quickest to a loose ball 10 minutes into the second half to put Selangor 2-1 up, but they were pegged back on 70 minutes when Kamel Ramdani stroked home a penalty to restore parity.
However it was the Red Giants who had the last laugh with Liberian forward Doe unleashing a dipping 25-yard effort beyond the despairing dive of Hassan and sending the majority of the 70,000 fans wild.
2010 – Selangor Selection 0 S.League Selection 6
- Singapore's biggest win
No one saw it coming as Selangor slumped to their worst-ever defeat in this tournament.
Led by the fearsome strike partnership of Duric and Home United forward Frederic Mendy, the S.League Selection were two goals up within the first 10 minutes courtesy of a goal apiece from the duo.
That set the tone for the rest of the game, with Ivan Jerkovic and Juma’at Jantan adding themselves on to the scoresheet, while Duric and Mendy managed to complete their braces.
2008 – Selangor FA 2 S.League Selection 2 (4-3 on penalties)
- Safee’s overhead kick
While this match ended in a draw after regulation time, it will be remembered by the Selangor faithful for a truly special goal from Safee Sali.
That moment came in the 60th minute when Indra Putra Mahayuddin’s cross was deflected into Safee's path and the Malaysian international wasted little time in unleashing an acrobatic overhead kick which flew past Singapore keeper Lionel Lewis in a flash.
That was Safee’s second goal of the match, after the striker had scored late in the first half to cancel out Tatsuya Okuyama’s early strike for the visitors.
Ashrin Shariff ensured the match went into penalties by prodding home Aliff Shafaein’s cross late on, but misses by Ali Imran Lomri and Shahril Ishak in the resulting shootout meant the Red Giants reclaimed the Cup after losing the prior two editions.
2007 – Selangor FA 1 S.League Selection 3
- Every S.League club represented
From champions SAFFC’s Therdsak Chaiman to second-from-bottom Sengkang Punggol’s Jonathan Angelucci – each of the nine S.League clubs were represented in this well-balanced S.League Selection side.
The Singapore representatives went ahead midway through the first half after captain Daniel Bennett had nodded in Therdsak’s corner, but Selangor fought back via a thunderous 25-yard volley from the experienced Shukor Adan shortly after the break.
However there was no stopping the visitors from running out winners on the night - with Grabovac first heading home an excellent Noh Rahman right-wing cross, then substitute Farizal Basri coolly nutmegged the Selangor keeper after being set up by young Zulfadli Zainal Abidin.
In Memory of Dollah Kassim (1949-2010)
The 2009 edition of the SOS Cup will forever be remembered for the heart-wrenching collapse of Singapore legend Dollah Kassim.
Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Gelek King’ for his outstanding dribbling ability, the late Dollah suffered a sudden heart attack during the annual game between Singapore and Selangor veterans at the Jalan Besar Stadium. He never recovered from that; staying in a coma for a year before passing away at the age of 61 a year later.
Dollah will forever be revered in Singapore football folklore for the audacious goal which he scored in the 2-0 win against Pahang FA during the 1975 Malaysia Cup. After dribbling past three defenders, the silky attacker made their goalkeeper dive the wrong way before cheekily back-heeling into goal to send the fans at the old National Stadium wild.
- 2001 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 0-0 (4-2 on penalties) S.League Selection
- 2003 (Shah Alam) – Selangor 4-1 S.League All Stars (SEL - Nizarudin Yusof 2’', 23', Juan Manual Arostegui 57’, Rudie Ramli 90’, SLS – Dalis Supait 11’)
- 2004 (Kallang, Singapore) – S.League All-Stars 2-2 Selangor MPPJ (SLA – Shahril Ishak 15’, Agu Casmir 35’, SEL - Juan Manuel Arostegui 50', Fabrico Rene Franceschi 55')
- 2005 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 3-1 S.League Selection (SEL - Bambang Pamungkas 13', 33', Mohammad Noor Md Derus 38', SLS – Baihakki Khaizan 18’)
- 2006 (Kallang, Singapore) – S.League Selection 3-0 Selangor Selection (Mirko Grabovac 5’, Peres De Oliveira 45’, Khairul Amri 55’)
- 2007 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 1-3 S.League Selection (SEL – Shukor Adan 47’, SLS – Daniel Bennett 25’, Mirko Grabovac, Farizal Basri)
- 2008 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 2-2 (4-3 on pen) S.League Selection (SEL - Safee Sali 33’,60’, SLS – Tatsuya Okuyuma 1’, Ashrin Shariff 70’)
- 2009 (Jalan Besar, Singapore) – S.League Selection 3-0 Selangor Selection (Indra Sahdan 27, Aleksandar Duric 34’, John Wilkinson 45’)
- 2010 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 0-6 S.League Selection (Aleksandar Duric 1’, 89’, Frederic Mendy 10', 43', Ivan Jerkovic 46', Jumaat Jantan 76’)
- 2011 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 0-1 Singapore Selection (Asraruddin Putra Omar 66’ og)
- 2012 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 3-1 S.League Selection (SEL – Safiq Rahim 33’ pen, Bosko Balaban 55’, Rozaimi Abdul Rahman 90’, SLS – Aleksandar Duric 24’)
- 2013 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 3-2 S.League Selection (SEL - Adam Griffiths 41’, Francis Forkey Doe 55’, 74’, SLS – Aleksandar Duric 6’, Kamel Ramdani 70’ pen)
- 2014 (Shah Alam) – Selangor Selection 2-1 Singapore Selection (SEL - Paulo Rangel 45’ pen, 79’, SIN - Leonel Felice 68’)