Cup dilemma is a 'happy problem'

Brunei DPMM players celebrating their late winner against Courts Young Lions in their 2-1 win in September. They will be hoping to celebrate again tomorrow with a title-clinching performance.
Brunei DPMM players celebrating their late winner against Courts Young Lions in their 2-1 win in September. They will be hoping to celebrate again tomorrow with a title-clinching performance.TNP FILE PHOTO

S-League trophy will be in Brunei with DPMM favourites, but Stags do not mind a shield

With the S-League title race still a two-horse race going into tomorrow's finale, two pieces of silverware will be in two countries as the final round of fixtures are played out.

Leading the 10-team standings, Brunei DPMM are on 49 points while second-placed Tampines Rovers are two points behind.

But with the Bruneian side hosting Balestier Khalsa in Bandar Seri Begawan while the Stags host Harimau Muda, the S-League has decided to send the golden trophy overseas to Brunei while a shield will be used as a substitute at Jurong West Stadium to solve the prize presentation dilemma.

An S-League spokesman explained: "In this season, as the matches will be held simultaneously in both Brunei and Singapore, that (rushing the original trophy from Singapore to Brunei) will not be possible.

"As such, the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League championship trophy will be located at the stadium of the club in the best position most likely to clinch the championship title, based on present table standings and points."

The spokesman added that the original 15kg and 67.5cm-tall trophy will be flown to Bandar Seri Begawan in anticipation that DPMM can seal the title at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium.

Should Tampines beat Harimau Muda and DPMM lose, the Stags will hoist aloft a shield measuring 15x10.7cm, with the unique shape of the championship trophy in gold emblazoned onto it.

The shield is also given to all S-League champions to be kept and displayed at their clubs.

Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin will present the trophy in Brunei.

S-League chief executive officer Lim Chin will be ready on site to present the replica at Jurong West.

Lim said: "It is most thrilling that once again for three out of the last four seasons, we have the S-League championship going down to the very last game.

"I guess we are more experienced now to manage this exciting and interesting dilemma."

He added: There is a lot more coordination and logistics but it is a happy problem."

Nonetheless, the true weight of the silverware lies in its significance on whose name will be engraved onto the metal.

Veteran midfielder Isa Halim is looking to help Tampines claim their sixth title - and their fourth in five years - in his debut season with the club. He said: "As long as we are champions, I don't care which trophy we lift."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2015, with the headline 'CUP DILEMMA IS A 'HAPPY PROBLEM''. Print Edition | Subscribe