Nigel Chin crunches the numbers to see what the S.League table would look like if teams comprised local players only...
What if Albirex Niigata (S) were excluded from the S.League? Or, if there were no foreign imports scoring any goals, who would be topping the league now?
For years, the bulk of foreign imports in the S.League have been strikers or attacking players. Therefore, they contribute significantly to the goal tally of most teams.
Some may even argue that Albirex are a team made up entirely of foreign imports itself, even though the players are mostly university students and can be viewed as a Japanese iteration of the Garena Young Lions.
But would the league standings change drastically, if Albirex and these foreign import goals were not counted? Let’s take a look.
An S.League without Albirex or Brunei DPMM
But if we remove the top two teams as well as the foreign import goalscorers from the equation, the league table changes drastically.
For all the international players they signed, Tampines would only be in third place. Surprisingly Balestier Khalsa would be topping the league.
Yes, the Tigers – who only have three wins to their name so far this season and are second from bottom in the actual table – will actually be challenging for the title.
It should not come as a shock, though. At the start of the season, Balestier’s foreign striker Robert Pericic did not play a single game till he was let go due to injury, while Miroslav Kristic turned in very poor showings.
As a result, the Tigers relied heavily on their local players to come up with the goods and that’s why they would have been second in this league without foreigners.
Contrary to Balestier’s placing, the Young Lions would still be at the bottom despite being an all-local side, although Home United would take over Balestier's spot as second to last and be level on points with the under-21 side.
The Protectors have been reliant on star striker Ken Ilso for the goals while the local forwards have failed to hit double figures thus far, so it is not surprising that Home would be ranked among the cellar dwellers.
But what if DPMM were included – without their foreigners?
Like all local S.League clubs, DPMM were only allowed three foreign imports, while the rest of their squad must consist of locals.
So, would DPMM still be among the top? Even if their striker is Rafael Ramazotti the league’s top-scorer with 20 goals?
Not quite, but the Wasps would still be among the top.
As hard as it may seem to believe, DPMM’s locals have popped up with essential goals, even though they may not have scored that many.
However, instead of Balestier being at the top of the league, Geylang would instead find themselves as frontrunners.
It gets more interesting at the bottom though, as the Young Lions would climb as high as fifth place, with two wins over DPMM helping their cause.
Warriors' failure to earn wins over the Bruneian side however, would see them relegated to bottom spot.