LionsXII

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This article is about the current Singaporean team that is competing in the Malaysia Super League. For the former team which previously competed in Malaysian domestic football competitions, see Singapore Lions.
LionsXII
Lions XII Logo.png
Full name LionsXII
Nickname(s) The Lions
Founded 5 December 2011
Ground Jalan Besar Stadium
Ground Capacity 8,000
Ground Coordinates 1°18′36″N 103°51′37″E / 1.3100°N 103.8603°E / 1.3100; 103.8603 (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Chairman Zainudin Nordin
Manager Visakan Subramanian
Coach Fandi Ahmad
League Malaysia Super League
2013 1st (Champions)
Website Club home page
Current season

LionsXII ("Lions Twelve"), also known as Singapore LIONSXII, is a Singaporean football club based in Kallang, Singapore. Founded in 2011, they play in the Malaysian Super League and have spent all of their history in the top tier of Malaysian football. Their home ground is the 8,000-seat Jalan Besar Stadium, where they have played all their home matches since their establishment.[1]

Managed by the Football Association of Singapore, the squad marks the return of Singapore to the Malaysian football scene after leaving the Malaysia Cup in 1994. The name is a combination of Lions and XII, which is a special tribute to the fans, who are generally recognised as football's "12th Man". Its motto is "For Country, For Fans. For Passion, For Football".[2]

LionsXII had their first major success in 2013, when they won the league championship. The 2013 squad consists of many younger players than the 2012's, and have clearly outshone them to clinch the title through consistency and efficiency.[3] To highlight its great success and extreme fan support, a fan bus was launched to cater tourists around Singapore and also mainly to provide free shuttle service for the fans to transport to the stadium on match-days.[4]

LionsXII's regular kit colours are royal red shirts and shorts with red socks, simultaneous with the nation's colour symbol. The club crest has also been created in red too, with a fierce and aggressive-looking lion embedded through the white feathery lines. It has not changed since its creation in 2011. The away jersey is in blue, which is symmetrical to the jersey back in 1994. The club has sustained their best attendance of a full house, 8,000 supporters, in several occasions, especially during blockbuster matches.

History[edit]

In 2011, the Football Association of Singapore and the Football Association of Malaysia reached an agreement that would see greater co-operation between the two nations. One of the intended avenues would see the Under-23s play in the Malaysian Super League and Malaysia Cup from 2012 onwards, the first time a Singaporean team would be participating in Malaysian domestic football since 1994, when Singapore won the M-League and Malaysia Cup double.[5] Although the new Singapore team would have the existing Under-23s forming its core, senior players were also called upon to guide the younger players. No foreign players were allowed to be part of the Singapore team as this project served as being developmental.

2012 season[edit]

Main article: 2012 LionsXII season
Typical support from LionsXII fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium every home match

LionsXII debuted in the 2012 Malaysia Super League on 10 January 2012 with a 1–2 home defeat to defending champions Kelantan FA.[6] The LionsXII's first win was a 2–1 victory over Kuala Lumpur FA on 17 January.[7] The LionsXII's first away win was a 1–0 victory over Sabah FA on 21 January.[8] LionsXII began their 2012 Malaysia FA Cup quest on 18 February, with a 3–0 win over UiTM FC.[9] The LionsXII made their way to the quarter-final with a 2–0 win over Betaria FC[10] on 10 March 2012. However, they were beaten by Terengganu FA in the quarter-finals. On 16 June 2012, they defeated Sabah FA 9–0 at home, the biggest win in the MSL season. LionsXII finished second in the league behind Kelantan FA, and bowed out of the semi-final of the 2012 Malaysia Cup after losing in a penalty shoot-out against ATM FA. On 29 December 2012, assistant coach Kadir Yahaya left his position at LionsXII. Soon, Gombak United FC chief K. Balagumaran took over his post.[11]

2013 season[edit]

Main article: 2013 LionsXII season
Captain Shahril Ishak receiving the 2013 Malaysia Super League trophy from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

LionsXII were set a target of finishing top five for the 2013 Malaysia Super League.[12] Five overage players were included in this year's squad to guide the younger players, namely Shahril Ishak, Isa Halim, Fazrul Nawaz, Irwan Shah and Baihakki Khaizan. Other key players such as Shahdan Sulaiman and Shaiful Esah no longer featured. The main aim was to develop the U–23 players and prepare them for the upcoming 2013 Southeast Asian Games that would be held at the end of the year.

LionsXII began their campaign by defeating ATM FA 1–0 away. Subsequently, they vanquished the nation's traditional rivals Selangor FA. However, LionsXII stumbled to three losses against lowly T-Team FC and PKNS FC away. One sent them crashing out of the 2013 Malaysia FA Cup. In a turn of events, LionsXII went on a long unbeaten streak, securing important wins over Pahang FA (3–0), Kelantan FA (1–0), and ATM FA (3–1) at home.[13]

On 2 July 2013, a 4–0 win over relegation-threatened FELDA United FC in the penultimate league game made LionsXII league champions.[14] Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong was present for the match played in front of a sold-out crowd at the Jalan Besar Stadium. The MSL trophy was also brought to the stadium as the LionsXII received it on home soil after the final whistle. LionsXII became the first foreign team to win the MSL, adding to the four Malaysian league titles it had won in 1979, 1981, 1985, and 1994. The title run was defined by a combination of good defence (13 goals conceded, the best record in the MSL) and goals from set-pieces (17 out of 32). The club chalked up their best home record (10 wins and 1 draw) in the league, making Jalan Besar Stadium a fortress.

On 27 July, LionsXII were drawn into Group D for the 2013 Malaysia Cup with Perak FA, Sarawak FA and Kedah FA. They drew Kedah (2–2) in Singapore and succumbed to two collapses against Perak (1–0) and Sarawak (2–1). With such results, they nearly bowed out of the tournament. At that time, coach V. Sundramoorthy was said to leave LionsXII at the end of the season to take charge of Malaysian Premier League side Negeri Sembilan FA.[15]

On 28 September, LionsXII narrowed a 1–0 victory over ATM FA in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the 2013 Malaysia Cup but squandered to a 1–4 mauling to the Gladiators in the return tie on 4 October. The news of V. Sundramoorthy leaving to helm Negeri Sembilan FA was also then confirmed.[16]

On 13 October, the Football Association of Singapore posted an advertisement openly to recruit the succeeding LionsXII coach. Former Johor Darul Takzim coach and ex-Singapore international Fandi Ahmad is speculated to take over the position.[17] Other candidates include former Warriors FC coach Richard Bok[18] and Liverpool FC stalwart Steve McMahon.

2014 season[edit]

Main article: 2014 LionsXII season

Sufian Anuar and Khairul Amri were recalled to join LionsXII following the exit of Baihakki Khaizan, Hariss Harun, and Shahril Ishak to Malaysian clubs.

On 7 December 2013, Football Association of Singapore finally offered Fandi a 3-year contract with an extension of 2 years and unveil as the new Head Coach for Singapore's side LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League His first task is against Malaysian's side, Pahang FA as a Charity Cup Match Curtain Raiser on 17 January 2014.


Crest and colours[edit]

The club crest signified the paw of a lion in appearance, with very much relevance to the nickname Football Association of Singapore has adopted as Singapore is known to be a Lion City. Looking closer at the crest, there is a lion being embedded in it. Using the lines as contrast, the lion shows ferocity and aggressiveness, resembling the fighting spirit and determination of all the players in the squad. It also illustrates the hunger to win games. All the meanings from the crest have also been included in the official LionsXII theme song, called The Roar Anthem. The XI in the word LionsXII is in black to represent the eleven players on the pitch. I is in red to show that the 12th Man to do make a difference in the team's success. Energetic, ready and passion are the crest's main ideas to be conveyed.

Kit evolution[edit]

2012
2013

The kit launched in 2011 had the primary colours of white, red and blue. Playing at home, the players were stripped in the white/red/red kit while in blue/blue/blue kit when playing away in Malaysia. Many t-shirt designs were based on white and red, which are the colours of the Lion City. Also, white symbolised purity and humbleness of the LionsXII. However, during the semi-final Malaysia Cup game between ATM FA and LionsXII in Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Selayang in which they were defeated on penalties and bowed out of the tournament, they wore a combination of the white top and blue bottom. Many fans were feeling displeasure as it looked hideous.[19]

A revamp for the jerseys were called for as many players were dropped in 2013 while young players from S.League club Courts Young Lions were brought in.[20] It unearthed many promising talents such as Hafiz Sujad, Gabriel Quak and Nazrul Nazari. They went back to the traditional red/red/red and blue/blue/blue to present, designed by Nike.

Stadiums[edit]

Main article: Jalan Besar Stadium
Jalan Besar Stadium
惹兰勿刹体育场
Jalan Besar Stadium.JPG
Location Kallang, Singapore
Coordinates 1°18′36″N 103°51′37″E / 1.310016°N 103.860347°E / 1.310016; 103.860347Coordinates: 1°18′36″N 103°51′37″E / 1.310016°N 103.860347°E / 1.310016; 103.860347
Owner Singapore Sports Council
Operator Singapore Sports Council
Capacity 8,000
Surface artificial turf
Scoreboard Yes
Construction
Opened 1932
Renovated 1999–2003
Tenants

Young Lions(2003–present)
Singapore LIONSXII(present)

Singapore national football team(present)

LionsXII have only ever had one home ground, Jalan Besar Stadium, located in Kallang, Singapore, where they have played all their home matches since foundation. It holds up to eight thousand people. It only comprises an artificial football pitch. The stadium has been known to be the Lions' Den where the LionsXII were undefeated in the entire 2013 season, making it a talking point for visiting teams about this impregnable fortress.

The original stadium was opened on Boxing Day 1929 and is considered to be the birthplace of Singapore football. Malaya Cup matches were played at the stadium from 1932 to 1966, and Malaysia Cup matches from 1967 to 1973. It has been used to host many national and sports events after it was rebuilt during 1999 to 2006. The capacity increased from 6,000 to 8,000 after King George's Stand was built to meet the demand.[21]

The stadium is divided into three main parts. The first is the Grandstand, which is sheltered and were main activities take place. The fans there receive a better experience overall. The camera is focused towards the Grandstand, where main offices and commentary boxes are found too. Tickets are usually priced S$13 (for league games) and S$15 (for cup games).[22] The second part is Gallery, which is a hot favourite among the fans, where the view is slightly better and clearer. King George's Stand is the last part, named parallel to the road. It is vertically in line with the pitch, so action is from goal and away. Both are priced at S$8 (for league games) and S$9 (for cup games).

Visiting fans will sit at the far corner, isolated at the Gallery and segregated by the CISCO personnel. They are usually allocated up to 200 seats.

On 30 October 2012, a new high-definition LED scoreboard was implemented at the Gallery to provide better quality to the spectators as it will be able replay video highlights of the action on the field.[23] Two new screens were also placed at the two ends of the Grandstand, North and South, to enable better match experience for the Gallery fans.

The club, led by a new coach, is set to play at the New Singapore National Stadium in the Singapore Sports Hub in 2014 which will house a capacity of 55,000 spectators.[24] The key feature is that the award-winning stadium ensures that the matches will go on as scheduled despite rain or shine due to its retractable roof.[25]

Support[edit]

A LionsXII fan showing his support for the team by having his face painted like a lion

LionsXII regularly attract over an average of 6,200 fans to Jalan Besar Stadium. The stadium is always minimally half-filled across all matches in all the seasons LionsXII have participated in.

LionsXII unofficial fan group based at the Grandstand, named Grandstand Maki Kaki providing their usual support to the team during every home match
LionsXII fans from the Gallery stand as they watch their team play against Selangor PKNS FC

Rivalries[edit]

LionsXII hold a strong rivalry with Malaysian club Angkatan Tentara Malaysia FA, with the two clubs meeting recently in a cup game in the 2013 Malaysia Cup. In 2012, ATM ended the dream of the club of going into the final of the 2012 Malaysia Cup in a dramatic game. In 2013, LionsXII took revenge by defeating the Armed Forces 1–0 in the 2013 Malaysia Super League opener. However, ATM once again shattered the double wish as they overturned the deficit sustained in the first leg of the 2013 Malaysia Cup quarter-finals and emerged triumphant 4–2 over the LionsXII.

Along the way, long standing issues with Malaysia Super League participants PKNS FC and T-Team FC also arose. Although they are just average clubs based on rankings, Malaysian Super League champions LionsXII are still unable to break the voodoo of winning them in away fixtures. In 2012, Selangor PKNS and Terengganu PBDKT T-Team both edged LionsXII with a solidarity goal, 1–0 and 2–1 respectively. In spite of beating them 5–0 and 2–1 accordingly at home, they continued the spell in 2013. LionsXII were booted out of the 2013 Malaysia FA Cup in the first round's encounter with PKNS FC.[26] LionsXII also suffered their losses against PKNS FC (1–0)[27] and T-Team FC (1–0), the latter questioned controversy.

Partners and sponsors[edit]

StarHub and Football Association of Singapore sign partnership to be the Official Broadcaster and Shirt Sponsor of LionsXII. It will telecast all LionsXII matches on its SuperSports Arena channels. Non-StarHub fans can also view them on frequency VHF 76.25 MHz.
Partnership with SilkPro with a projected S$1 million sponsor amount signed at the beginning of the 2012 season at Jalan Besar Stadium VIP room

At the start of 2012, Kingsmen was announced to be the official marketing and sponsorship representative of the LionsXII.[28]

Yolk also began its website partnership with LionsXII as they realised that the voices of the nation were also in need of modernisation to unite the nation behind the LionsXII in their Malaysian Super League run.[29]

Along the way, LionsXII's success has attracted many sponsors. Their Facebook page has hit the total number of 80,000 likes so far. Other partners on social media include Temasek Polytechnic, The Cage, X-League (Singapore) and Tiger Beer Football.

Kit manufacturer and shirt sponsor[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2012– Nike StarHub

On 5 January 2012, Football Association of Singapore announced the appointment of StarHub as the Official Broadcaster and Principal Sponsor of LionsXII. As part of the partnership, StarHub will carry all LionsXII content on its pay TV, online and mobile platforms.[30] Two days after the announcement of the kit, LionsXII sealed a second major sponsorship deal, with news that SilkPro will fund the Singapore outfit to the tune of S$1m during its debut season in Malaysia Super League.[31] On 23 February 2012, LionsXII secured another sponsorship deal, with Shop N Save, a Singapore supermarket, coming on board as the 'Official Supermarket' for the Singapore outfit in its debut season in the Malaysian Super League.[32]


Players[edit]

Squad[edit]

The starting eleven for the home game against Kuala Lumpur FA on 17 January 2012
The starting eleven for the home game against Johor Darul Takzim F.C. on 22 June 2013

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Singapore GK Izwan Mahbud
2 Singapore DF Shakir Hamzah
3 Singapore DF Afiq Yunos
4 Singapore MF Isa Halim (captain)
5 Singapore FW Syafiq Zainal
6 Singapore DF Madhu Mohana
7 Singapore MF Gabriel Quak
8 Singapore MF Hafiz Sujad
9 Singapore DF Faritz Hameed
10 Singapore FW Khairul Nizam
11 Singapore MF Nazrul Nazari
13 Singapore MF Aqhari Abdullah
15 Singapore FW Sufian Anuar
16 Singapore MF Raihan Rahman
No. Position Player
17 Singapore MF Faris Ramli
18 Singapore GK Khairulhin Khalid
19 Singapore FW Khairul Amri
21 Singapore DF Safuwan Baharudin (vice-captain)
22 Singapore MF Ignatius Ang
23 Singapore MF Zulfahmi Arifin
24 Singapore MF Firdaus Kasman
25 Singapore DF Emmeric Ong
26 Singapore FW Shahfiq Ghani
27 Singapore MF Samuel Benjamin
28 Singapore DF Baihakki Khaizan
30 Singapore GK Abdul Qadir Yusoff
Singapore DF Faliq Sudhir
  • LionsXII are predominantly a Under-23 team. Senior players aged 23 and over are indicated in bold.
  • The number 12 is retired in honour of the fans, also known as the "twelfth man".

Captains[edit]

Year Player
2012–2013 Shahril Ishak
2014– Isa Halim


Management[edit]

Former Lions head coach V. Sundramoorthy and his assistant Kadir Yahaya. Kadir resigned at the end of 2012.

Current coaching staff[edit]

Fandi Ahmad took over as head coach for the 2014 season.
Position Name
Manager Singapore Visakan Subramanian
Head team coach Singapore Fandi Ahmad
Assistant coach Singapore Nazri Nasir
Goalkeeping coach Singapore Lee Bee Seng
Fitness coach Serbia Aleksandar Bozenko
Fitness coach Singapore Gurnaya Singh
Physiotherapist Singapore Nurhafizah Sujad
Kitman Singapore Omar Mohamed

Head Coaches[edit]

V. Sundramoorthy and Fandi Ahmad were both part of the Singapore Lions 'Dream Team' that won the M-League and Malaysia Cup double in 1994.

Name From To P W D L Win%[33] Honours
Singapore V. Sundramoorthy January 2012 7 October 2013 48 27 12 10 56.25 1 Malaysia Super League title
Singapore Fandi Ahmad 7 December 2013 Present 14 6 3 5 42.86
  • Information correct as of 19 April 2014. Only league matches are included.

Competition records[edit]

Season Malaysia Super League FA Cup Malaysia Cup
Pos P W D L F A Pts
2012 2nd 26 15 5 6 48 23 50 Quarter-finals Semi-finals
2013 1st 22 12 7 3 32 15 43 1st round Quarter-finals
2014 6th 14 6 3 5 18 15 21 2nd round -

Last updated on 19 April 2014

Club records[edit]

Wins

Defeats

Goals

Player records[edit]

Goalscorers

Honours[edit]

League[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.lionsxii.sg/page/about
  2. ^ http://www.lionsxii.sg
  3. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/sports/story/lionsxii-crowned-2013-malaysian-super-league-champions-4-0-win-over-felda
  4. ^ http://www.todayonline.com/sports/football/lionsxii-fan-shuttle-service-launched
  5. ^ Singapore Lions to participate in 2012 Malaysia Cup – Asia One, 7 December 2011
  6. ^ Singh, Patwant. "Football: Kelantan beat LionsXII 2–1 in opening Malaysia Super League". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Singh, Patwant. "Football: LionsXII beat KL FA 2–1". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Singh, Patwant. "Football: LionsXII secure first away win against Sabah". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Malaysia FA Cup 2012: Wonder-goal sets LionsXII to comfortable 3–0 victory – Straits Times, 18 February 2012
  10. ^ LIONSXII through to the Quarter-Finals of the Malaysian FA Cup – LIONSXII, 10 March 2012
  11. ^ http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Sports/Story/A1Story20121022-379011.html
  12. ^ http://www.tnp.sg/msiacup/content/top-five-target-lionsxii
  13. ^ Malaysian coaches concede MSL title is Singapore's – TODAYonline, 27 June 2013
  14. ^ "Football: LionsXII crowned Malaysian Super League champions". Channel NewsAsia. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  15. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/sports/story/lionsxii-coach-sundramoorthy-set-join-negeri-sembilan-after-malaysia-cup-
  16. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-sg/news/3879/malaysia-super-league/2013/10/07/4316693/sundram-leaves-lionsxii
  17. ^ http://www.todayonline.com/sports/football/fas-refute-claim-fandi-next-lionsxii-coach
  18. ^ http://voxsports.co/football/s-league-most-successful-coach-richard-bok-declares-interest-for-lionsxii-post
  19. ^ http://sg.sports.yahoo.com/news/atm-fa-6-5-lionsxii-5-4-pen-170000542--spt.html
  20. ^ http://www.tnp.sg/msiacup/content/lionsxii-wear-red-new-season
  21. ^ http://archive.is/siJN
  22. ^ http://www.lionsxii.sg/page/ticketing
  23. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-sg/news/3880/singapore/2012/10/31/3490589/high-definition-led-video-wall-launched-at-jalan-besar
  24. ^ http://www.sportsguide.sg/Singlenews.aspx?DirID=170&rec_code=891291&title=LIONSXII make history
  25. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/new-national-stadium-have-worlds-largest-dome-20121005
  26. ^ http://www.footballopod.com/ViewArticle.aspx?id=7584
  27. ^ http://www.footballopod.com/ViewArticle.aspx?id=7542
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Yolk launches the Kallang Roar
  30. ^ StarHub Appointed Official Broadcaster and Principal Sponsor of LionsXII – StarHub, 5 January 2012
  31. ^ SilkPro to back LionsXII campaign – ESPNSTAR, 8 January 2012
  32. ^ Shop N Save Singapore named 'Official Supermarket' for the LionsXII – LionsXII, 23 February 2012
  33. ^ Win% is rounded to two decimal places