Domestic Competitions ● Oct 27, 2022
Tampines Rovers are COE U21 League champions
L-R: Andrew Aw, Ali Manaf and Neel Manoj celebrate, 25 October 2022
SINGAPORE, 27 OCTOBER 2022 – Tampines Rovers have emerged as champions of the first FAS Centre of Excellence (COE) Under-21 League after three and a half months of battle with seven other teams by sealing the title in their final match.
Heading into the derby clash on Tuesday night (25 October) against Geylang International, Fahrudin Mustafic’s charges knew that a winning margin of at least six goals would see them pip the Young Lions. In an emphatic show of attacking prowess, Ali Manaf bagged a hat-trick to add to braces from Zehrudin Mehmedovic and Neel Manoj in a 7-0 victory as Tampines got the job done.
It was a dramatic end to the U21 League, which had been set to commence in 2020 but was unfortunately put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic until this year. It finally got underway in July and after one round of matches between the eight teams, the league was then split into two groups – Group A featured top four finishers Tampines, Young Lions, Geylang and Hougang United, while Group B comprised Balestier Khalsa, Lion City Sailors, Tanjong Pagar United and Albirex Niigata (S).
Irfan Iskandar celebrates, 25 October 2022
The point tallies of all the teams were reset, which gave teams in Group A the chance to battle for the league crown from a clean slate. Tampines and the Young Lions both recorded opening wins before cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw, meaning that the title would be decided in their final matches. The Young Lions thumped Hougang 5-1 on Sunday (23 October), which meant that Tampines knew exactly what was needed they faced Geylang.
In Group B, Balestier emerged top ahead of the Sailors, who finished three points behind. Four players were tied for the Top Scorer award on seven goals – Nicky Melvin Singh (Albirex), Farhan Zulkifli (Hougang), Ali Manaf and Neel Manoj (both Tampines). All fixtures, results and standings can be found here.
Congratulations to Tampines for winning the COE U21 League title, and well done to all the other teams for making the season an exciting one!
Tampines Rovers receive their COE U21 trophy, 1 November 2022