5 things to know about the Singapore Women’s Premier League
There is plenty of optimism and excitement for the 21st season of the Singapore Women’s Premier League.
The 21st season of Singapore’s top-flight women’s football competition kicked off at the end of May to much fanfare and optimism, with Tanjong Pagar United leading the table after two rounds of matches.
Women’s football in Singapore has seen a steady rise in 2022.
The Lionesses put on a credible showing at their first SEA Games since 2003, while Putri Syaliza Sazali became the first Singaporean women to sign for a Thai side by joining Chonburi FC.
Now, the Deloitte’s Women Premier League (WPL) is finally underway after a two-year absence enforced by the pandemic, with the season running till mid-October on a double round-robin format.
Optimism and excitement is certainly in the air with a slew of new initiatives to boost the women’s game in the Republic.
Here are five things football fans should know about the Women’s Premier League.
A first-ever title sponsor (and increased prize money)
For the first time since its inception in 2000, the WPL has a title sponsor. Audit firm Deloitte stepped in on a three-year deal, with an option for two additional years, that is worth more than S$300,000.
Prize money for the competition has also been increased fivefold – with this season’s champions set to receive S$25,000, while runners-up will be awarded S$10,000 and S$7,500 respectively. It is certainly a huge incentive for clubs to take the challenge seriously and pump in resources to attain top honours.
All matches are live streamed
With the growing demand in online content, Deloitte and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) are making a point to live-stream every match of the 2022 WPL season online to attract more fans. Matches are streamed live on both Deloitte’s and the SG Women’s Football YouTube pages.
A dedicated WPL Facebook page has been set up for the first time, where fans can get all the information from results, match photos to match highlights.
There is also a weekly magazine show hosted by a familiar face of the women’s scene in Ash Hashim – better known as Futbolita – where she gets up close and personal with the players.
No stones are being left unturned in this effort to bring up the awareness of the women’s game in Singapore.
Unprecedented grants to help club relieve expenses
Another huge boost is FAS’s announcement to provide grants for clubs in regards to the hiring of coaches and payment of allowance and travel expenses for players and staff.
Aided by world governing body FIFA’s COVID-19 relief plan, another S$180,000 in subsidies will also be handed out to the six clubs, excluding the privatised Lion City Sailors.
The injection of such resources go a long way in assisting the clubs to put a robust structure in place for up-and-coming female players to succeed. With the government-backed Unleash the Roar! Project ensuring all seven clubs to have a dedicated field to train on at least three times a week, the ingredients are there for the women’s game to go up another level or two.
5 SPL clubs having a women’s team in the same season for the first time
Following in the steps of Lion City Sailors and Tanjong Pagar United, another three Singapore Premier League (SPL) clubs have now incorporated a senior women’s team within their set-up – namely Hougang United, Balestier Khalsa and Albirex Niigata (S).
Being part of an ecosystem where they can learn and take inspiration from their male counterparts in the professional scene is something beneficial for these female players – especially for those who harbour strong ambitions of making it big or even progressing to play overseas to play in more esteemed leagues.
Quality all around the league
The Lion City Sailors will obviously get everyone’s attention, with the bulk of the national women’s team in their ranks including Singapore’s youngest-ever international scorer Danelle Tan and goalscoring midfielder Nur Izzati Rosni – who is now widely known as the one who scored a memorable last-gasp winner to help the Lionesses pick up their first SEA Games win since 1985.
However, there is plenty of quality in the other teams as well.
Still Aerion boast Lionesses vice-captain Stephanie Gigette Dominguez, who scored a clinical brace in the 6-2 win over Seychelles in the FAS Tri-Nations Series back in April. Seasoned campaigner Mastura Jeilani suits up for Balestier, while free-scoring forward Raudhah Kamis is a real threat for Tiong Bahru.
The WPL is certainly worth following for fervent Singapore football fans!