Domestic Competitions ● Jun 01, 2017
Police Zeroing in on League and Cup Double
The Police Sports Association Women‚Äôs Team are aiming to break Warriors FC‚Äôs dominance as they eye both the Women‚Äôs Premier League (WPL) as well as the Women‚Äôs Challenge Cup this season.
Police ended the 2016 WPL in third place on 44 points, nine points behind Warriors who also lifted the Challenge Cup.
Leading the ladies in uniform in the 2017 campaign is former national youth age group player Ahmad Zulkarnain Adam, who takes over from long-serving coach Azmi Othman.
‚ÄúI was an understudy to coach Azmi last year and I learnt many things from him before he handed the women‚Äôs team over to me,‚Äù Zulkarnain shared.
‚ÄúThis is an good opportunity for me to enhance my coaching experience and impart my knowledge to the team.
‚ÄúI have been playing football since my youth and played for the National Football Academy Under-15 team. I have seen the growth of women‚Äôs football and now that I am involved, I hope to bring up the standard of football not only in Police but also in Singapore,‚Äù added the regular in the Singapore Police Force.
At 27 years of age, Zulkarnain may be considered a rookie by many but he is privileged to have played under several notable local coaches during his younger days. He is confident that with the benefit of that experience, he will be able to mould his team to challenge for both the domestic women‚Äôs tournaments.
‚ÄúIt is an open and competitive league as there are only five teams this year. At Police, we always play to win, just like the other teams. If we are to win the Women‚Äôs Premier League, we must remain focused and not let our guard down in any game,‚Äù enthused Zulkarnain.
‚ÄúI am grateful to have played under the likes of Tay Peng Kee, V. Sundram Moorthy, K. Balagumaran, Kadir Yahaya and Sudiat Dali. These are the players I looked up to when I was growing up and I had the opportunity to be trained by them.
‚ÄúI still adopt the things they taught me in training. For example, Sundram was an attacking player but he is very disciplined in his defensive tactics. For fitness training, I remember Balaguraman fondly ‚Äì his method is different as he incorporates yoga in his training.
‚ÄúSo I take a bit from the various coaches that I mentioned above and build up my own coaching philosophy. But the most important aspect of the Police team is all about fitness and discipline,‚Äù explained Zulkarnain who played in the 2014 League Cup with Police SA‚Äôs National Football League team.
Zulkarnain is not alone in wanting to put his hands on both the WPL and Cup titles this year, as Police‚Äôs captain Hamizah Abdul Talib echoed her coach‚Äôs sentiment.
‚ÄúWith a revamped WPL this year, there is no chance for a slip-up,‚Äù said Hamizah who is also a regular in the Singapore Police Force and is based at the Jurong East Neighbourhood Police Centre.
‚ÄúWe definitely do not want to be relegated. With only five teams in the league, a loss can mean going down the table a few spots.
‚ÄúAfter last year‚Äôs disappointment of losing to Arion Football Academy in the third place playoff of the Challenge Cup, we hope to get our hands on a piece of silverware this season. I certainly hope to win the League and if we win the Cup, it would be a bonus for us.‚Äù
Hamizah is no stranger to the women‚Äôs football scene, having played for the national age group teams since she was 15. She was selected to play for Singapore Under-19 Women‚Äôs National Team when she was just a wide-eyed 16-year-old.
While off-the-field commitments have forced Hamizah to put her National Team commitments aside, she hope to don the National Team jersey soon if the opportunity arises again.
‚ÄúI had to quit the National Team earlier this year due to work and other commitments,‚Äù explained the 27-year-old who took over the armband from Darvina Halini, who is unavailable due to a long-term injury.
‚ÄúBut I still hope to one day represent Singapore again. I have been playing for Singapore since I was young and I don‚Äôt think I have retire.
‚ÄúWe are all amateurs and we do our best to juggle between work or school with football. But despite these challenges, I am pleased to see a high level of commitment and passion from the players in the Women‚Äôs League and even at youth level.
‚ÄúIt is our love for the game that keeps us playing, be it in the League or for the National Team,‚Äù added Hamizah who feel that there is an increased participation in women‚Äôs football especially in the youth age group teams.
The WPL is currently underway with Police beating Tanjong Pagar 1-0 in their opening fixture, before they were handed a 3-1 reverse by Warriors in the second match. They then bounced back with a 3-1 victory over Arion in their third match of the season.
In picture above: Police SA’s Emiliah Hazali at the Women’s Challenge Cup 2016 third place playoff