|By Khalis Rifhan
Twenty four hours after their 1-1 draw against Courts Young Lions on Wednesday, Balestier Khalsa were awarded all three points after the S.League overturned the result on Thursday evening, awarding the Tigers a default 3-0 win.
It was found that the Young Lions fielded ineligible players in their matches – against Hougang United on February 20, Tampines Rovers on February 28 and Brunei DPMM on March 7 and Balestier Khalsa FC on March 13.
Speaking to Goal.com Singapore about the decision to award the game to Balestier, head coach Darren Stewart was not too keen to jump for joy as he said it was not a genuine victory for his team.
“That does not give me satisfaction as it is not a real win, it is through somebody’s mistake that we got the full points; it is not something that will get me going on to celebrate,” said Darren
“We actually did not win the game. On the other hand, I did not know why it happens and we just got to follow the rules.
“It does not make me feel great. I feel sorry for Aide (Iskandar) for losing a point. But rules are rules and we got to abide by it.”
Darren feels that this incident is a timely reminder for all to constantly be on their guard so as to avoid a similar situation in future and took the opportunity to express gratitude for the assistance that he has been getting from others in the club.
“If Young Lions can be penalised, every club has to be on their toes now and be aware of all the rules in the S.League," pointed out Stewart.
"It is a wakeup call for all the clubs now. Now we will be double and triple checking whatever rules they have in the league. I must say that I have got to mention these people in the clubs too. Kevin Wee who is my assistant coach and Tim Nee, our team’s general manager. They are in a different class and they gave me their guidance in regards to the rules and it has been absolutely immaculate.
“I am very lucky to have them here as they guide me along the rules in the league. I am here to do my job as a coach and I am thankful for them here and I trust them.
“I am constantly calling and checking with Kevin and Tim daily to make sure that the team I am putting on the field is eligible.”
Towards the end of the interview, Stewart mentioned again that he felt bad for his counterpart whom he had known since his arrival in the S.League.
“It makes me feel sorry for Aide than feeling happy for getting the points," he reiterated.
"It has been more than 12 years since I've known him, starting when I first played in the S.League.
“He gained one point which he really needed it and I feel for him now.”