Roundup And Departures
Moey Xin Seng
's latest foot injury was just the latest in a string of bad fortune for the Grilled captain, hitting right as he had been recovering from an extended period of poor form, and mustering a challenge for his first team place. Moey declined comment, but sources close to him suggested that he would be heading to the neighbourhood temple with offerings.
The Farmer Bunnies also had Aswad Mohd Jafni
go off with a badly-bruised collarbone in their 6-0 home friendly against Canadian fourth divisioners Turbo poney; Grilled International would shortly afterwards pull off a 3-2 away win at former Bangladesh Consolation Cup winners Isótopos Nucelares C.F., as Collin Kleden
tapped in right at the death, to undo Nischal Lokre's free-kick equalizer in time added on.
The clubs had organized a joint briefing after this last game of the season, in which their head coaches discussed what was to come. For Grilled, II.2 saw the return of two very-known oldies in Joker 9 and Chemistry, and Holland-based competitors FC Tobi 74. The latter had previously managed three short stints - two of them lasting a single season - in this division, a reputation they must surely be looking to rectify with a solid all-round game, revolving around Kenyan veteran John Momanyi.
Noubaryan would further announce the impending retirements of Leong Wan Kang
and Remco van der Ban
, both around 39 years of age. Also, long-serving team psycho Lee Puay Kwang had also tendered his resignation, having arranged a new post in Japan. He will be replaced by Alex Lee, who had been seconded from the sports ministry. Reserve goalie Krystian Rykowski
had also been slated to leave, but signed a one-season extension in light of Eren Serpin
As for the Bunnies, they will have to contend with five fresh faces in II.3, with last season's cup conquerors littlehorse arriving from the S-League; from how they had bested the Birds in II.2 before that, the Buns will have their work cut out. Other than that, Club Dinosauria and The EV won their qualifiers to replace Terillions FC and Controlar, while The Sing Tigers - whom the Birds had replaced in II.2 not so long ago - and Pasir Ris mainstays Phantasm Hotspurs also join the fray.
On the personnel end, midfielders Cheah Chang Ming
, Milán Bolgár
and Che Din Mohd Akram have decided to retire, with Sarkis Krikoryan
reported to be weighing his options, after not being able to negotiate playing time guarantees. Argentine playmaker Llamil Vener
has however confirmed a new two-season contract, after earlier being tipped to leave.
It was finally Roar Olaisen
's turn to speak for Grilled International, and he had little to say. "Another title? Maybe. I just want the team to rediscover their inner fire for now."