Albirex Niigata (S) have a real chance of sweeping all the trophies available this season, but legendary S.League striker Aleksandar Duric does not feel it is a bad thing for Singapore football...
Well, Albirex did it again. For the second consecutive year, they won the League Cup after a 2-0 victory over Brunei DPMM. Throw in the Charity Shield that they won at the start of the season and their maiden S.League title on Friday, and Albirex are poised to snare all the trophies up for grabs.
Now all that's left is to win the Singapore Cup against Tampines Rovers at the end of the month. There are some who will suggest this is a bad thing for the league, as it says much about the level of football our local boys can offer.
Teams are in it to win it, and if we didn't welcome such competition, we should not have invited foreign clubs
But in all honesty, I don't feel that way. True, it will pain me as much as any other local fan to see our teams failing to show their worth, but this is the nature of football. Teams are in it to win it, and if we didn't welcome such competition, we should not have invited foreign clubs Albirex or Brunei DPMM to participate in our league in the first place.
If Albirex do end up picking up all the accolades, then kudos to them for doing so. They are showing us where our standard of football should be and we need to applaud that and learn from them.
That said, let's put the League Cup behind us. Our best players from every club were called up for international duties and the S.League clubs have always given the national team their fullest support, so Albirex and DPMM were always going to be favourites in the tournament.
Now is where the excitement really heats up. From my experience, Albirex always play their best football in the first half of the season, but our local boys tend to shine in the next half.
Already, Geylang International showed Albirex can be beaten in the League Cup. Despite missing a plethora of first-teamers, they still eked out a 1-0 win over the eventual champions. It can be argued the Eagles were unlucky not to make the League Cup semi-finals, as an inferior goal difference allowed Home to take their spot instead.
They may have lost 4-0 to Albirex in the League Cup semi-finals, but with a threadbare squad, the result was not unexpected.
I do genuinely believe things will get tougher for Albirex now, with Home United, Geylang, Tampines and DPMM among those stepping up to give them a good fight on all fronts.
This bodes well for the fans and I say, let's all buckle up and enjoy the ride as the end of season approaches.