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League Cup 2016: FFT’s five who defied the odds

Shawal Anuar Geylang International
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Shawal Anuar

The winger had only featured fleetingly for Geylang, with 12 appearances (six coming off the bench) all season.

Coach Hasrin Jailani intended to start Shawal right from the go but he had just recovered from a fever and was used as a substitute instead in the opening 2-2 draw with Balestier Khalsa.

More misery was to come in the next game, as Shawal was part of the team that was whooped 5-0 by Home United in the next game. It was a disappointing outing by him and he knew he could do better.

Watch Shawal's goal here:

That he did, and much more, as Shawal sent a 35-yard effort into the back of the net in Geylang’s last group game, as they beat eventual League Cup champions Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0.

Hasrin continued to keep faith in Shawal and it paid off in the League Cup Plate final, as the 25-year-old struck what proved to be the winner against Hougang United and earned Geylang their first piece of trophy since 2009.

If Shawal continues to perform like he did and improve on his final ball, then making the first team should not be difficult for him in the near future.

Isa Halim

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When the season started, many expected Geylang captain Isa Halim to be among the starters.

However, Isa failed to nail down a regular spot and the form of Nor Azli meant he had found himself more often than not on the bench.

Coach Hasrin Jailani gave Isa a chance in this tournament and the former LionsXII skipper grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Isa showed glimpses of the form that made him a Singapore international regular over the last few years as he put in tough but fair tackles. His passes were sharper and he was a vocal presence in the middle of the park.

Hasrin expressed delight with his skipper’s return to form and Isa could find himself earning a recall to the international fold should he continue to perform with aplomb.

Photos: S.League