As we come to the end of the 2014 S League season this Friday, we will witness the crowning of a new S League Champion, but who will it be? In addition, the legendary and well respected Aleksander Duric will be playing his last match of his professional career, finally drawing his curtains to a close after an illustrious decade in Singapore.
Although the championship could go either ways, Brunei DPMM is the clear favourites when they beat Albirex Nigata to put them level on points with Warriors FC and ahead on goal difference. However their last match will see them playing against Tampines Rovers, the defending champions for the last 3 seasons. It will definitely be a close and tough match, considering the Rovers would surely want Duric to go out on a high.
Albirex Nigata should have won against Brunei DPMM and made the final day a 3 horse race. But with their domination of possession football and coming close a few time, they failed to break down DPMM. a lapse of concentration in defence saw DPMM nicked in a header which proved to be the winner, thus sending the White Swans out of the title race. If they had won the match, their final match will be against Warriors FC and what a match it could turn out to be. The epic last day battle between 2 title challengers while their destinies might also depend on the results elsewhere.
The Warriors might have started out slowly in the season, they have slowly and surely shown their quality and commitment by constantly producing results. Their mental toughness brought them to the top of the summit only just a few weeks ago, while Brunei was inconsistent and unable to extend their advantage. Alex Weaver had done well with the team since taking over midway last season. There's a lot more fight in the team and they are grinding out the results. Winning the league title will also help Weaver in his credentials where he was unceremoniously dumped by Hougang United.
So now it's down to the wire between Brunei and Warriors. As a Singaporean, I hope the S League title can stay in Singapore, which means Warriors have to win and hope Tampines beat or draw against Brunei. It is not a good feeling that our local teams could not even win in our local domestic league. Just ask the Malaysians how they felt when we last won the Malaysian Super League in 2013. On top of that, Brunei could not even qualify for the Suzuki Cup, where their players are effectively their DPMM local players and coached by Steve Kean. So if Brunei DPMM wins the S League, that could really show our quality of football and development compared to the region.