After a memorable debut campaign that saw them winning the Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL), finishing their season as Invincibles, the Lion City Sailors Women will be looking to defend their crown in 2023 against an expanded field of challengers.
Yeong Sheau Shyan’s charges will start off the new WPL season with a clash against Police SA – who have been promoted after winning the second-tier Women’s National League (WNL) last season – on Sunday, 19 March at Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
Police SA are one of three new outfits joining the WPL this season, alongside Tampines Rovers and Geylang International – bringing the total field of teams from seven to 10 and adding new obstacles in the Sailors’ title assault.
That also means each team will play 18 matches – up from the 14 in 2022 – in a long season that lasts till late November, with various breaks in the league for FIFA International windows, as well as the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
The Sailors Women will conclude their 2023 WPL campaign against Tiong Bahru FC on Saturday, 25 November at Choa Chu Kang.
Sheau Shyan acknowledged the challenge ahead, but asserted that the Sailors Women Class of 2023 – blending the bulk of the title-winning squad with several youngsters – are equipped to grow into the Sailors’ philosophy of progressive attacking football.
“It’ll be challenging, no doubt, most of the existing clubs have boosted their rosters and the new teams look good too. This is the first time we’re going to have such a long season with many international breaks in the calendar, so it will be an uphill task maintaining the team’s form,” said the 2022 WPL Coach of the Year.
“We want to pick up where we left off and become sharper in attack – our aim is to maintain our style and keep improving.
“We will have academy players stepping up this year as part of our long-term plans to help them develop, but it’s up to these girls to earn those game minutes,” she said.
“We’re doing everything possible to help them and I hope they give me a hard time in making my team selection for every game.”
The Sailors Women’s full fixtures list for the 2023 WPL season can be accessed here.