Synopsis: 4 random strangers have been drugged, kidnapped and placed in an abandoned warehouse. The air inside is running out and the only thing standing between them and the way out is a psychotic racial-harmony-emphasising-quizshow host. These 4 agree to take part in the game show to vie for their right to be released, only to win a prize much greater than that.
Prologue: It was a dark and stormy night. 4 random strangers have been drugged, kidnapped and placed in an abandoned warehouse….
Last Sunday, CMC FC travelled cross-country to the small village of Yio Chu Kang for their match against Sapphire FC. It was an extremely wet day in the Singaporean countryside, which had led to fears that the match would be postponed due to inclement weather. Fortunately, the heavy rains eventually subsided and the match went on as planned to the relief of the numerous CMC supporters who had braved the rain and travelled all of 20km just to support their beloved club.
Perhaps unaccustomed to the rituals of away matches, several CMC players discovered that they were severely underequipped once they stepped into the changing rooms at Fernvale Stadium, provoking the ire of their manager. Striker Nigel Koh had forgotten to bring his Red away jersey, thus forcing CMC to change hurriedly into their famous Green strip just as they were about to walk out of the tunnel and onto the pitch. Jarvin Lim and Marcus Low had forgotten to bring plastic bags for dirty clothes, and were seen scrounging for used ones in dustbins and dumpsters. Jonathan Lew had forgotten to bring his sunblock, Timothy Seow forgot to bring his confidence in front of goal, Ashok Palaniappan had left his scoring touch at home and, as usual, defender Keith Lim had forgotten to bring himself to the match.
Despite these pre-match distractions, CMC started the match at a blistering pace and were 3-0 up within the first 20 minutes. Nigel Koh, perhaps eager to avoid the hairdryer treatment from his manager (the feared and formidable Mr Jacob, sometimes referred to as Judgeking-JJ-no-mercy) after bringing the wrong jersey, was involved in all 3 goals. 10 minutes into the game, he threaded a through ball behind the Sapphire fullback into the path of right-winger Shannon Tan, who burst into the box and fired a shot across the keeper and into the bottom-left corner of the goal. The winger/part-time model then celebrated by ripping off his shirt and throwing himself into the crowd, much to the delight of all females in the stadium.
A few minutes later, Shannon turned provider as his pass found Nigel alone in the penalty box, who could make no mistake. Actually, he did make a mistake, scuffing his shot with the goal at his mercy but somehow, someway, the ball trickled slowly past the hapless keeper and into the net. A third CMC goal soon followed as Nigel played yet another through ball behind Sapphire’s static and aging defence, which was latched upon by CMC left-winger Eng Song Yun. Once upon a time, ‘The Only Song’ would’ve juggled the ball for twenty seconds and dribbled around an imaginary defender thrice instead of shooting when put through on goal, but this mercurial architect to-be has learnt to curb his well-chronicled attempts at Joga Bonito. Instead of attempting an ill-advised back-heel chip, as is (his) tradition, Song Yun restricted himself to a delicate left-footed shot which evaded the keeper and hit the back of the net, giving CMC a sizeable advantage after only a quarter of the match.
Content with protecting the lead or perhaps just wanting to avoid standing in the centre of the pitch, which had turned into a muddy quagmire, central midfielders Roy Chou and Mark Chiang decided to sit deeper and slow down the pace of the game. This allowed Sapphire FC to take the initiative and push further up the field, leading to some good chances. Firstly, a quick one-two released a Sapphire FC winger into the penalty area, but the chance went a-begging as he blazed his shot high and wide. The fact that he was being flattened from behind by the beast commonly referred to as Kah Chee had little to do with him missing the target, at least in the referee’s opinion. A little later, Roy scythed down another player just outside the CMC penalty box, as is (his) tradition. The resulting free kick skipped dangerously across the muddy surface but thankfully for CMC, keeper Chia Han Sheng was up to the task. Hans was called into action again a few minutes later when a through ball created half a yard of space in the penalty area for a Sapphire striker. His first-time shot seemed destined for the bottom corner until Hans stretched out a spindly leg and deflected the ball past the post, thereby preserving CMC’s three goal cushion into the break.
Unhappy with the way that the first half ended, Mr Jacob subbed on Ashok Palaniappan at the break in the hope that the striker’s talismanic presence would be able to motivate the rest of the team to reinstate their stranglehold on the game. Sure enough, CMC immediately started playing better and what little resistance Sapphire had left was quickly shattered by CMC’s fourth goal some 15 minutes into the second half. Song Yun’s delightful free kick from the left was met impressively by Roy, whose towering header left the keeper with absolutely no chance.
A few minutes later, the moment that all CMC fans had been waiting for came to pass; Tim Seow TS finally put the ball in the back of the net! Despite having just missed his 57th consecutive one-on-one a few minutes earlier, Seow was in the right position at the right time when the ball sprung loose in the Sapphire penalty book. With the goal at his mercy and the centre backs in no-mans land, Seow took aim… and then blasted the ball straight at the keeper! Thankfully, the keeper spilled the shot straight back to Seow, who then gleefully tapped the ball into the net for his first goal since October 2009. With the huge monkey off his back, Seow sprinted off and dove towards the corner flag on his knees, rupturing both his left and right ACLs in the process. It is now known when he will return.
Down 5-0 with only a quarter of the match remaining, the Sapphire FC left back decided to help his team by getting himself sent off. From this reporter’s perspective, it looked as if the fullback thought that constantly arguing with the referee and insulting his mother would be a smart and productive thing to do.
Unfortunately, he was mistaken; the ref lost patience and banished him from the pitch. With Sapphire FC self-destructing, Mr Jacob let left-back Jonathan Lew realize his life’s ambition by allowing him to replace Jarvin as CMC’s central attacking-midfielder for the final 10 minutes. Taking immense pride in displaying his attacking instincts against a fatigued, listless and depleted opponent that had little motivation to continue playing, Lew ran his heart out and chased down the Sapphire players like a man-possessed. He was eventually rewarded for his efforts when he latched onto a pass from Mark Chiang in the final minute, out-sprinted a 40-year old, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty Sapphire net. Lew’s goal made it 6-0 to CMC, and that was the way it stayed until the final whistle.
“We showed real quality out there,” said Mr Jacob after the game. “We kept our focus, kept a clean sheet, and accomplished what we set out to do”.
“To score 6 goals is one thing, but to have 6 different scorers really showed that we aren’t reliant on Ashok anymore to score goals, and I’m really happy about that. The lads did extremely well today”.
The newly renamed CMC FC took to the hallowed Bukit Timah turf last Sunday for their match against Lega Calcio FC under a wave of immense pessimism and frustration.
For a club embroiled in scandal, a 2-0 defeat in the opening week against Mik United was the last thing player-manager Jonathan Jacob could have asked for. 2 weeks had passed since defensive midfielder Joel Kuan was banished from the country for repeated criminal offenses, and the effect of this on the rest of the team was there for all to see against Mik. CMC had surrendered meekly after going a goal down, with many fans suggesting that they were missing the dog-like aggression provided by their exiled number 18.
This lack of heart in the team coupled with the disappointing defeat had sparked rumours that disgruntled club owner, Sheik Zulhimie bin Za’ba, was already looking for a replacement manager one game into the season. With defender Justin Low also being sent back temporarily to China with work permit issues and fullback Jonathan Lew unable to recover from a hamstring injury, the pressure was truly on for CMC and their manager ahead of the clash with Lega Calcio.
In Lew’s absence, CMC started with their enigmatic talisman, Shannon Tan, at left back, while injury-prone striker Tim Seow TS was given a rare start up front, spearheading a 4-2-3-1 formation. With diminutive recess soccer legend Jarvin Lim playing in the hole behind Seow, CMC started the match brightly, dominating possession while carving out a few chances. After a defensive mix-up in the first few minutes, Seow found himself through on goal with the keeper at his mercy. Unfortunately, he dragged his shot agonizingly wide, to groans of “alamak..” from the sidelines. A few minutes later, a swift counter attack led to Jarvin putting Seow through with a sublime through ball but once again, his low shot rolled past the post and into the gutter.
Luckily for CMC, Seow made up for what he lacked in finishing skills with industry and persistence. From one throw in, Seow’s mere presence caused a Lega defender to clear the ball straight to CMC ‘s Mark Chiang, who made no mistake from the edge of the box. The fierce shot hit with the outside of his boot was a thing of beauty and taiko-ness, swerving away from the keeper and nestling into the top corner. 1-0 to CMC.
Having taken the lead, CMC then grew lazy and complacent. Passes went astray, the tremendously complex gameplan was abandoned and tempers began to flare. Seeking an outlet for his frustration, Roy Chou scythed down a Lega attacker from behind, conceding a foul just outside the penalty area. The ensuing free kick cruelly deflected off Marcus Low’s leg and into the back of the net, leveling the scores at 1-1. Conceding a second own goal in as many games was too much for CMC keeper Chia Han Sheng, who unleashed a torrent of vulgarities upon his defenders, who could hang their heads in shame. The sides went in even at the break.
With many players suffering from the 35OC heat, Mr Jacob was forced into a tactical reshuffle. On came Asian rights activist Sean Low and star striker Ashok Palaniappan, while Shannon Tan was moved back to his preferred position on the right wing in a 4-4-2 formation. Unfortunately, bringing on an extra striker seemed to disrupt the integrity of the CMC midfield. For all his pace, skill, strength, fitness and unrivalled ability in front of goal, Ashok provided little help to central midfielders Chou and Chiang, and Lega duly capitalized with 2 quick goals after the break.
Exploiting the space in the centre of the park, Lega’s number 6 unleashed an unstoppable curling effort from outside the penalty box that dipped into the net just beyond Han Sheng’s outstretched fingers. His cries of ‘’BEAUTY LAH DEY” reverberated around the stadium as the Lega celebrated taking the lead. Just as the wild celebrations were dying down, Lega struck again with another superlative long-range effort. Tired of protecting the defence or perhaps just tired from partying the previous night away, Roy Chou tried to dribble his way through the midfield and was promptly robbed. The Lega midfielder took one stride forward and hit the ball on the half-volley, sending it swerving into the bottom corner from all of 30 yards. Hans had no chance. 3-1 to Lega.
Staring humiliation in the eye and on the brink of failure, CMC were galvanized into action. The typical AC sportsmen mentality of only playing properly when facing defeat kicked in, and the game turned on its head. A long ball into the Lega box was allowed to bounce, enabling winger Nigel Koh to get to it ahead of the keeper. Some genuine contact plus one theatrical dive later, and it was a penalty to CMC. Shannon stepped up and placed it to the keeper’s left. 3-2.
Sensing an opportunity for a comeback, CMC went on the offensive. Wave after wave of attack fell upon the Lega goal, and it was only a matter of time until another was conceded. Shannon’s looping free kick from the right was misjudged by the Lega keeper, allowing Roy to sneak in behind. Finally putting his head to good use, he slammed the ball into the net while absorbing a (deserved) slap to the face from the keeper, leveling the scores once again.
From then on, it was all CMC as Lega self-destructed. Jarvin evaded a hapless defender in the box before cooling slotting home for his first ever goal for the club. A few minutes later, his cross from the left was tapped into the net by Shannon, making in 5-3 to CMC. Frustrated with falling behind, Lega resorted to sliding tackles and all out attack, leading to yellow cards and aggressive behavior. Lega’s tactics were perhaps best personified by their number 18, who curiously kept saying, “want me to break your face?” or “come ah come, we take this outside” to CMC centre back Tang Kah Chee, who politely declined the striker’s courteous invitations. In the end, CMC rounded off a great comeback with a sixth goal as Seow flicked a delightful ball into the path of winger Eng Song Yun, whose shot was parried into the net by the Lega keeper.
After the impressive come from behind victory, CMC’s manager could breathe a sigh of relief. “It’s been a tough few weeks for the club, both on and off the field”, Mr Jacob said, “but the players showed today that they are all professionals of the highest quality.
“I hope Sheik Zulhilmie was watching. The boys made quite a statement.”
Happy Founder’s Day people
Zul introduced this personality test to our football team last week. It’s the standard Myers-Briggs Type Indicator thingy, you’ve probably done something like it before but nehmine just do it again… This post-ORD period is very conducive for introspection and comparing with other people is always fun!
I’m an ESTJ apparently, which means that i’m some Guardian-type figure who detests incompetence, has a heart of stone, has some strange desire to join the PTA and is keen on smiting minions who do not meet my high moral standards. Cool eh?
Naturally, the profiles generated (you can look at the 16 different personality types here) aren’t entirely accurate… but they do get some things down pat.
It’s worth a look
Yea why not
My previous wordpress appearance theme was called ‘Chaotic Soul’ lol.. it’s about time that changed
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