The Lion City Sailors Women’s Team enjoyed a sensational 2023 Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) campaign, winning 17 out of 18 games en route to a second straight undefeated title-winning season. 

The Sailors’ Girls Academy provided a sturdy platform for the women’s success in 2023, with a total of seven girls making the step up to make their WPL debuts for the club. 

And the wheels are already in motion to ensure another successful WPL season, both in terms of silverware and ensuring the next generation of Singapore female footballers continue to rise through the club’s ranks. 

Yeong Sheau Shyan, WPL Coach of the Year in 2022 and 2023, will play an integral part in this as she now takes on the overarching role of Head of the Sailors Women’s Programme – which encompasses overseeing the pipeline from the club’s Girls Academy through to the WPL team with a large focus on shaping the next generation of female footballers.

To ensure continuity and succession, 2023 goalkeeper coach Daniel Ong will take over as Sailors Women head coach for the upcoming WPL season. 

The 34-year-old, who owns a AFC ‘B’ Coaching License, has been in the Sailors setup since 2022 and is also a part of the Singapore National Women’s Team backroom staff. 

In 2024, the Sailors Women will continue in the same vein while sporting a fresh new look with a series of young additions to the squad. 

A total of six teenagers ranging from the age of 14 to 17 have been promoted: goalkeeper Izairida Shakira, defenders Tyan Foong and Seri Nurinsyirah and a trio of midfielders in Nadia Nuraffendi, Liyana Rickit and Yuvika Suresh. 

20-year-old forward Raeka Ee has also made the step up after a sterling 2023. She starred for the women’s developmental side Mattar Sailors in the second-tier Women’s National League and made her Lionesses debut against Bangladesh just last month, while Dorcas Chu – a member of the Sailors’ 2022 WPL winning squad – rejoins the team after her successful recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. 

Canadian midfielder Madison Telmer also makes a return to the team after leaving in mid-2023 to further her education. 

Two other teenagers have also been signed, 15-year-old Qarissa Putri Ramandhani arrives from Tanjong Pagar United while 17-year-old Nur Sarah Zu’risqha joins from Albirex Niigata (S). 

Meanwhile, a total of six players – Lila Tan, Munirah Mohamad, Nica Siy and Julia Farr along with the now-retired Noor Kusumawati Rosman and Madelin Lock, who hung up her boots to pursue her dream of playing professional basketball – have departed the club. 

The first challenge for the Sailors Women Class of 2024 is the upcoming Café Football (CF) Charity Cup against WNL champions Royal Arion FC on Friday, 12th January in a game to raise funds for the Singapore Breast Cancer Foundation and the newly-installed Daniel is looking forward to the encounter.

“Firstly, it is a huge honour for me to be appointed as head coach of the Sailors Women’s Team. Coach Sheau Shyan has laid down a sturdy foundation, so it’s my job to build on her legacy and I’ll do my part to bring up the young players in this club,” he said. 

“We’ve put together a new squad with a good blend of experienced and young players that should excite the fans, so I hope all of them can come down to Our Tampines Hub to get behind the girls. It’s a great opportunity for them to come up against some esteemed players who have played at the FIFA Women’s World Cup before and I believe they will rise to this challenge.

“Most importantly, this is a match for a good cause so we’re happy as a club to support this initiative.”