Tampines load up for possible LionsXII raid as S.League clubs re-tool

Tampines Rovers will start with a clean slate for the 2016 S.League season after releasing the bulk of the squad that fell just short in this year’s title race with Brunei DPMM. 

All S.League clubs apart from Brunei DPMM have finalised their annual ‘retained & released’ list for the upcoming season and it is no surprise to see most announcing wholesale changes.

With the slots for foreign players to be cut from five to three, the onus is on the teams to scour for the best talent in the market. Only three foreigners have been retained, Balestier Khalsa’s Emir Lotinac, Geylang International’s Yuki Ichikawa and Home United’s Song Uiyong.

Despite being pipped to the title by DPMM, Tampines will still return to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competitions for 2016 by virtue of being the highest-ranked Singaporea-based side.

The Rovers will take on India’s Mohun Bagan in the preliminary round of the AFC Champions League playoff qualifiers.

As such, they have culled virtually the whole squad including all five foreigners, although they are still in negotiations with captain Fahrudin Mustafic, Ismadi Mukhtar and Fabian Kwok.

Following the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) announcement they will disband LionsXII, Tampines are expected to sign a significant chunk of Fandi Ahmad’s side, including potentially goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, defenders Madhu Mohana and Hafiz Sujad and winger Christopher van Huizen.

Warriors FC will also ring the changes after a disappointing campaign when they failed to defend their S.League crown, with Hafiz Rahim the only player to be retained. Captain Daniel Bennett, Emmeric Ong and Syaqir Sulaiman could still join him though, if negotiations go their way.

Madhu is one of a number of LionsXII players in the Rovers' sights

Singapore Cup and League Cup champions Albirex Niigata (S) will have a brand-new squad once again, although they are still in negotiations with S.League ‘Player of the Year’ Fumiya Kogure and former J.League keeper Yosuke Nozawa.

Courts Young Lions, set to be an under-21 outfit filled out with a few overaged players, have only kept playmaker Adam Swandi, although they are still in talks to retain Irfan Fandi.

Singapore Cup finalists Home United are the only team to have kept the bulk of their squad, retaining a total of nine players. That number could go up if they reach agreements with the impressive duo of Sirina Camara and Ken Ilso.

It promises to be an exciting off-season with the majority of the LionsXII and Young Lions players available on the market. Geylang had announced on their Facebook page they had secured the signature of marauding full-back Faritz Hameed from the LionsXII and many should follow suit soon.

Full Retained/Released List

* denotes foreigner

Albirex Niigata (S)

  • Retained: Nil
  • Negotiating: Kenjiro Ogino, Mikiya Yamada, Kento Fujihara, Takahiro Saito, Itsuki Yamada, Hikaru Mizano, Fumiya Kogure, Rion Taki, Kento Nagasaki, Shotaro Ihata, Atsushi Kawata, Shun Inaba, Ryuki Matsuya, Rui Kumada, Yosuke Nozawa
  • Released: Yusuke Mukai, Ryoh Hagiwara, Takuya Serizawa, Takaya Nojiri, Tetsu Kudo, Yuki Hidaka, Ryota Nakahara, Taiga Chono, Ryoya Matsuda, Hikaru Yanagawa

Balestier Khalsa

  • Retained: Zaiful Nizam, Ho Wai Loon, *Emir Lotinac
  • Negotiating: Zakariah Nerani, Yusiskandar Yusop, Hanafi Salleh, *Igor Cerina, Zulkiffli Hassim, Ridwan Jamil, *Robert Pericic, *Miroslav Kristic, *Tarik Cmajcanin, Jonathan Xu, Ignatius Ang, Fadhil Noh, Poh Yifeng, Ahmad Syahir
  • Released: Nurullah Hussein, Rizal Rahman

Courts Young Lions

  • Retained: Adam Swandi
  • Negotiating: Ammirul Emmran, Taufiq Muqminin, Irfan Fandi, Taufik Suparno
  • Released: *Sherif El-Masri, Shamil Sharif, Syazwan Buhari, Nur Ridho, Rudy Khairullah, Suria Prakash, Safirul Sulaiman, Shannon Stephen, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Fadli Kamis, Farhan Rahmat, Nur Na’iim Ishak, Shahfiq Ghani, Shakir Hamzah, Ali Hudzaifi, Amy Recha, Anumanthan Kumar, *Jordan Webb, Iqbal Hussain, Afiq Mat Noor, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Danial Razali, Sim Teck Yi, Zakir Samsudin, Faris Azienuddin, Fashah Iskandar, Shameer Aziq, Dhukilan Jeevamani

Geylang International

  • Retained: Hairul Syrihan, Nor Azli Yusoff, Shawal Anuar, *Yuki Ichikawa
  • Negotiating: *Jozef Kaplan, *Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Nor
  • Released: Yazid Yasin, Mustaqim Manzur, *Bruno Castanheira, *Tatsuro Inui, Syed Thaha, Anaz Hadee, Shah Hirul, Sevki Sha’ban, Khairulnizam Jumahat, Farhad Mohamed, Huzaifah Aziz, Hafiz Osman, Zulkifli Suzliman

Home United

  • Retained: Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Juma’at Jantan, Azhar Sairudin, Sufianto Salleh, Redzwan Atan, Abdil Qaiyyim, Nur Hizami, Eko Pradana Putra, *Song Uiyong
  • Negotiating: Imran Sahib, *Ambroise Begue, *Ken Ilso, *Sirina Camara
  • Released: Ang Zhiwei, Noh Rahman, Yasir Hanapi, Stanely Ng, Fazli Ayob, Shahril Jantan, Masrezwan Masturi, *Kamel Ramdani

Hougang United

  • Retained: Ridhuan Barudin, Faiz Salleh, Nurhilmi Jasni, Delwinder Singh, Basil Chan
  • Negotiating: Fairoz Hasan, Muhaymin Salim, Fareez Farhan
  • Released: Taufiq Ghani, *Kunihiro Yamashita, *Atsushi Shimono, *Carlos Delgado, *Diego Gama, *Vuk Sotirovic, Faizal Amir, Ruzaini Zainal, Fazli Jaffar, Tengku Mushadad, Kenneth Chang, Lau Meng Meng, Goh Swee Swee, Ahmadulhaq Che Omar

Tampines Rovers

  • Retained: Nil
  • Negotiating: Jufri Taha, Fahrudin Mustafic, Joey Sim, Fabian Kwok, Ismadi Mukhtar
  • Released: Noh Alam Shah, Jamil Ali, Shaiful Esah, *Roberto Alviz, *Predrag Pocuca, *Mateo Roskam, *Rodrigo Tosi, *Rodrigo Pacheco, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Ismail Yunos, Firdaus Idros, Aqhari Abdullah, Ridhuan Muhammad, Siddiq Durimi, Indra Sahdan, Isa Halim

Warriors FC

  • Retained: Hafiz Rahim
  • Negotiating: Shahul Rayyan, Marcus Wheeler, Syaqir Sulaiman, Azlan Abdul Razak, Emmeric Ong, Fazrul Nawaz, Daniel Bennett, Andy Ahmad, Irwan Shah
  • Released: *Marin Vidosevic, *Thomas Beattie, Shi Jiayi, *Miroslav Pejic, Hafsyar Farkhan, Daniel ong, *Kevin McCann, Nur Asyidiq Sukarto, Hamqaamal Shah