1996 S.League

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S. League
SLeaguelogo.gif
Season 1996
Champions Geylang United
1st S.League title
Asian Club Championship Geylang United
Matches played 113
Goals scored 364 (3.22 per match)
Top goalscorer Eres Jure (28)
Biggest home win

Singapore Armed Forces 5-0 Tampines Rovers
(27 July 1996)

Tiong Bahru United 5-0 Sembawang Rangers
(19 October 1996)
Biggest away win Police FC 0-5 Tiong Bahru United
(5 October 1996)
Highest scoring

Singapore Armed Forces 6-2 Sembawang Rangers
(11 May 1996)

Police FC 3-5 Woodlands Wellington
(19 October 1996)
1997

The 1996 S.League was the 1st season of the S.League, the top professional football league in Singapore.

The S.League came into existence as a result of a fragmenting of relations between Singapore and Malaysian football associations. A dispute over the division of gate receipts for the Singapore representative in the Malaysian Premier League saw Singapore withdraw from the competition in 1995, ending a footballing connection between the two nations that stretched back to 1921, with the first participation of a Singapore team in the Malaya Cup.

A semi-professional Singapore Premier League had been founded in 1988, but had failed to find support amongst the local communities and media. The S.League was therefore created to fill the need to have a fully professional football league within Singapore. The Football Association of Singapore invited applications for clubs to compete in the newly formed league. Eight successful applications were made, these eight teams took part in a two-stage league season, with the winner of each stage qualifying for the end of season championship decider. The first half of the season was known as the Tiger Beer Series and the second half was known as the Pioneer Series.

Geylang United defeated Singapore Armed Forces FC in the end of season Championship Playoff to be crowned the 1st S.League champions.

Clubs[edit]

Eight sides took part in the first S.League campaign; two of whom had been competitors in the former Singapore Premier League. These former Premier League clubs were Balestier United FC who changed their name upon joining the S.League to Balestier Central and the former Singapore Premier League powerhouse Geylang International, winners of six back-to-back Premier League titles, who renamed themselves Geylang United for the first S.League season. The rest were clubs drawn from the amateur National Football League: Police, Singapore Armed Forces, Tampines Rovers, Tiong Bahru United and Wellington Football Club, who renamed themselves Woodlands Wellington.

Sembawang Rangers were formed from a merger between two NFL sides, Gibraltar Crescent and Sembawang Sports Club.

Team Stadium Capacity Location
Balestier Central Toa Payoh Stadium 3,900 Toa Payoh
Geylang United Bedok Stadium 3,900 Bedok
Police Jalan Besar Stadium 8,000 Kallang
Singapore Armed Forces Jurong Stadium 6,000 Jurong
Sembawang Rangers Yishun Stadium 3,400 Yishun
Tampines Rovers Tampines Stadium 3,600 Tampines
Tiong Bahru United Queenstown Stadium 3,800 Queenstown
Woodlands Wellington Woodlands Stadium 4,300 Woodlands

Final tables[edit]

Series 1 (Tiger Beer Series):

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Geylang United 14 9 1 4 27 14 +13 28
2 Woodlands Wellington 14 8 2 4 25 20 +5 26
3 Balestier Central 14 7 3 4 22 18 +4 24
4 Singapore Armed Forces 14 5 3 6 27 25 +2 18
5 Tiong Bahru United 14 4 5 5 20 19 +1 17
6 Police 14 4 5 5 22 23 −1 17
7 Sembawang Rangers 14 3 4 7 17 32 −15 13
8 Tampines Rovers 14 3 3 8 18 27 −9 12

Source:[citation needed]
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.

Series 2 (Pioneer Series):

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Singapore Armed Forces 14 9 5 0 32 14 +18 32
2 Tiong Bahru United 14 8 3 3 35 18 +17 27
3 Balestier Central 14 7 3 4 25 19 +6 24
4 Woodlands Wellington 14 6 3 5 29 25 +4 21
5 Geylang United 14 6 3 5 20 16 +4 21
6 Sembawang Rangers 14 4 3 7 14 23 −9 15
7 Tampines Rovers 14 2 2 10 10 28 −18 8
8 Police 14 2 2 10 18 40 −22 8

Source:[citation needed]
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.

  • Singapore Armed Forces and Geylang United advanced to championship play-off match

1996 S.League Championship Playoff[edit]

November 9, 1996 (1996-11-09)
Singapore Armed Forces FC 1–2 Geylang United
Jure Ereš Goal 52' Mohammad Khakpour Goal 46'
Hamid Reza Estili Goal 61'
Singapore National Stadium, Kallang
Attendance: 30,000

The Geylang United victory in the Championship Playoff saw them qualify for the 1997-98 Asian Club Championship. This was the first Singaporean representation in the Asian Club Championship since 1991/92, when Geylang International participated in 1st Round qualifying. Geylang were comfortably defeated by 1996 J. League champions Kashima Antlers in the first round of the East Asian half of the competition, Kashima finishing with an 8-2 aggregate win.

Foreign players[edit]

Club Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4 Player 5
Balestier Central Serbia and Montenegro Ljutvo Bugucanin Croatia Goran Paulic Croatia Marko Kraljević Serbia and Montenegro Esad Sejdic Australia Warren Spink
Geylang United Iran Mohammad Khakpour Iran Hamid Reza Estili Finland Kimmo Tarkkio Croatia Zlatko Vidan Iran Mohsen Garousi
Police Brazil Egmar Goncalves Brazil Fabio da Silva Brazil Joao Batista Neto Brazil Sergio Cleveland Brazil
Singapore Armed Forces Croatia Ivica Raguz Croatia Jure Ereš Croatia Velimir Crljen Croatia Davor Mioc Croatia Goran Grubesic
Sembawang Rangers Brazil Anderson Da Silva Hungary Laszlo Kardos New Zealand Mark Atkinson Ousmane N'Diaye
Tampines Rovers Hungary Nagy Gabor Brazil Marco Antonio Australia Scott O'Donell Ghana Seidu Suleiman Anas Croatia Nikolic Miroslav
Tiong Bahru United Australia Vlado Bozinoski Slovenia Tibor Szaban Australia David Miller Australia Pedro Ricoy Australia Ivan Kelic
Woodlands Wellington Croatia Ervin Boban Croatia Sandro Radun Czech Republic Jan Janostak Australia Joe Caleta England Darren Davis

Top Scorers[edit]

Rank Name Club Goals
1 Croatia Eres Jures Singapore Armed Forces 28
2 Croatia Goran Paulic Balestier Central 22
3 Brazil Egmar Goncalves Police 19

References[edit]