Footballing Weekly: Can Lion City Sailors cope with four-pronged trophy assault in upcoming season?

Singapore Premier League favourites also have to contend for the Singapore Cup, AFC Champions League and inaugural Shopee Cup

The Lion City Sailors players celebrate scoring against Tanjong Pagar in their Singapore Premier League match. (PHOTO: SPL)
Lion City Sailors players celebrate scoring against Tanjong Pagar in their Singapore Premier League match. (PHOTO: SPL)

SINGAPORE — With the new Singapore Premier League (SPL) season about to begin with the traditional Community Shield curtain-raiser on 4 May, all eyes are on the Lion City Sailors as they begin their trophy hunt in four different competitions.

Not only are Singapore's only privatised club the favourites for the league title, but they are also challenging for three other honours: the Singapore Cup, the newly-launched ASEAN Club Championship (Shopee Cup), as well as the AFC Champions League 2 competition.

It will be a massive task for the Sailors, which finished second behind Albirex Niigata (Singapore) in the 2023 SPL season, defeated Hougang United to win the 2023 Singapore Cup and won two of out six group matches in the 2023/24 AFC Champions League.

Yet, with Albirex transforming from a team of predominantly Japanese players into a predominantly Singaporean team this season, the Sailors are poised to take advantage of the defending champions' transitional period and dominate the SPL with new signings Bart Ramselaar and Toni Datkovic joining the reigning SPL Player of the Year Maxime Lestienne.

However, with the likes of Albirex as well as BG Tampines Rovers equally capable of mounting title assaults, the Sailors could be under pressure from the get go, and whether they can manage the four-pronged trophy challenge remains to be seen.

Still, it is the first SPL season since the Sailors' 2020 inauguration that they are starting the SPL season as title favourites. "Yahoo Footballing Weekly" co-hosts Neil Humphreys and Chia Han Keong chat with Sailors superfan Eddy Hirono about the club's hopes and aspirations in the latest episode of the award-winning podcast show.

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