Sailors to resume SPL title chase on 23 July with local football calendar adjustments

Lion City Sailors will resume the hunt for the Singapore Premier League (SPL) title with a mouthwatering top of the table clash when the league resumes after a break for FIFA international fixtures.

The Sailors will face league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) at the Jurong East Stadium on Friday, 23 July, just one point behind the Japanese side who lead the eight-team standings with 27 points from 11 games.

The Sailors have 26 points following an eight-match unbeaten run that started on 7 March, in a 2-2 draw with Albirex that the club hopes can continue against the same opponents.

This comes after the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) announcement of the updated SPL fixtures earlier today.

The FAS revealed that while the SPL was initially scheduled to resume on 2 July, fixtures were rescheduled to allow clubs to have at least two weeks of preparation time with their respective players who were called up for international duty with the Singapore National Team. These players were required to serve a Stay Home Notice upon their return to Singapore, ending on 4 July.

This decision was made in consultation with SPL clubs, and takes other scheduling factors into consideration.

Tampines Rovers will represent Singapore in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) 2021 (East) Group Stage from 25 June to 10 July in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. To accommodate the Stags’ ACL participation, the Sailors who were initially scheduled to face Tampines on 11 July, will play the match on 4 August instead.

After taking on Tampines, Sailors will line up against Balestier Khalsa (8 Aug) before facing the Stags again on 15 Aug.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, all SPL matches will continue to be played behind closed doors.


Abdil Qaiyyim joins Geylang International

Lion City Sailors defender Abdil Qaiyyim has joined Geylang International.

The experienced centre-back was a key player for the Sailors in the club’s debut season last year, making nine appearances in the Singapore Premier League (SPL).

Abdil, 32, first played for Home United – the previous iteration of the Sailors – in 2011. He left the following year, but re-joined Home United again in 2015.

Since then, Abdil has proven himself to be an upstanding stalwart of the club, where his consistency, bravery, and no-nonsense style of defending has helped establish him as one of the most reliable centre-backs in the league.

A well-respected leader in the Sailors dressing room, Abdil has made over 120 appearances in all competitions for the club, and played an integral role in Home United becoming Asian Football  Confederation Cup (AFC Cup) Asean Zone champions in 2018.

Abdil also brought a sharp sense of humour to the dressing rooms he was a part of, with the laughter he consistently fuelled being a key facet of the healthy team dynamic.

Sailors Chief Executive Chew Chun-Liang said: “There is no doubt that Abdil has been one of the most respected players at the club over the past few years. His professionalism and dedication have never been in doubt, and we are especially grateful to him for helping to stabilise the ship in the Lion City Sailors’ debut season last year.

“After discussions with Abdil, we agreed to let him join Geylang so that he can enjoy more regular first-team football. We thank our counterparts at Geylang for their collaboration, and we wish nothing but the best for Abdil.”

Speaking about his move to Geylang, Abdil said: “It has been wonderful playing for the Sailors, but I felt this was the right decision to go to a new club for more playing time. 

“I am excited to start playing for the Eagles, and I would like to thank the Sailors for everything they have done for me. I wish the Sailors all the best, and will continue being a Sailors fan in the team’s quest for silverware.”