Singh Sabha-A Implode Under Pressure

Premier Hockey—Hong Kong
February 2, 2016 Updated: February 3, 2016

HONG KONG—Singh Sabha Sports Club-A (SSSC-A) players and officials left King’s Park with bitter disappointment etched on their faces after crashing to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Khalsa-A last Sunday Jan 31, 2016.

Played in-front of mainly diehard Khalsa fans, both sides were made to fight for every inch of space with the first half ending in a 0-0 draw in a fast paced, all action encounter.

Adding to the pressure on the SSSC bench was the sin-binning of four of their players Asad Bashir, Minta Singh, Abdul Ishmail and Satwinder Singh for disputing umpire calls, which saw them play with nine players for periods of time in each half.

Pity, as the boiler pressure on the pitch was mainly focused on SSSC-A players intent on closing the gap between themselves and Khalsa in the Premier division and their bid on occasions looked likely to pay dividends. But lady luck deserted them at times as there were at least five clear cut scoring chances begging to hit the target.

As they tried valiantly to score with each passing raid on the Khalsa goal, not connecting on three penalty corners and two going wide, clearly showed the intensity of the game.

Despite the rivalry between the sides there was clearly no animosity as Khalsa players consoled their opposition after the final whistle in good sportsman-like fashion, in a match played to a near capacity stadium that witnessed hockey played at the highest level.

SSSC-A club vice-president, Kuldip Uppal was visible distraught with the result but more so as to why his players were sin-binned for making comments on some decisions. This included one controversial decision, 10 minutes into the second half that would have seen them level from a Kindri Singh shot after Khalsa had opened their account through a Razie Rahim drag-flick five minutes earlier.

“I am not happy with the way the game ended and how we had four players carded,” complained Uppal, as he left the pitch fuming. ‘We had a clear shot at goal and my player only asked why it was not a goal and he is sin-binned,” he added, referring to their Malaysia player Abdul Ishmail.

For Khalsa it was a different story with player coach, Arif Ali, who felt the score-line told a different story. “Today was a tough match for both teams, it was really tight and if it was not for the runaway goals, it might have ended in a draw,” he said, which began with a Rahim penalty corner, followed by a brace from Ishtiaq Ahmad.

Full Premier league results
Premier A: HKCC-A 0 HKFCA 5; KNS-A 5 Pakistan-A 1; SSSC-A 0 Khalsa-A 3.
Premier B: HKU 1 Shaheen-A 9; HKFC-B 1 KCC-A 3.

Eddie So is a seasoned sports reporter and photographer having worked for several media companies over the last 20 years.