Youth Squad Expansion
The news that youth teams would be limited to eighteen members instead of sixteen was welcomed by coaches worldwide, and those from the Wings, Rabbits and Bees were no exception. Senior Wings scout Tham Beng Li didn't expect too much to change immediately, though.
"We've long optimized our setup for the previous squad size, and while this may mean that we keep a couple of players slightly longer, where we would have been unable to, it's not a gamechanger."
The Rancher Rabbits' Yip De Da concurred, as he reflected on their third-place finish in the Testköz Kupa, behind eventual winners and runners-up Barcia Akadémia and Kunszállás Youth respectively. "It's hard enough to get quality talent to fill the numbers nowadays, anyway. They all just want to study, or play on the computer."
Other than this, the national Lions recorded their third successive draw in the World Cup qualifiers, this time a one-all result away to Peru. They defended Alfredo Barragán's 16th minute opener stolidly, but it would be mirrored by Tan Tong Leong's goal, fifteen minutes from time.
Kwek Yun Jie
and Lau Chang Wan
started for the Lions, with Tham Leng Teck
a late sub for Lau, and all would confirm the pressure playing as wingbacks in a super-high backline. "I had to keep one eye behind me at all times." Lau noted. "Had it not been for the trainers' focus on stamina, it would have been tough to last the distance."