|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
History was made on Sunday when National Football League (NFL) club Admiralty FC qualified for the 2013 StarHub League Cup, after they cruised to a 3-1 victory over fellow Division 1 side Singapore Recreational Club (SRC) in the final of the qualifiers at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
This is the first time in the competition's history that a NFL team will have the opportunity to pit their skills against professional clubs from the S.League.
Shaiful Fauzi gave SRC the lead in the early stages of the first half before former Tanjong Pagar United defender Jonathan Xu leveled matters two minutes before the half-time interval.
The comeback was completed in the second half courtesy of a goal each from former Woodlands Wellington midfielder Guntur Djafril and Haziq Sudhir.
After the match, the draw for the League Cup was conducted and the Admiralty "Wolves" were drawn in Group A alongside Woodlands Wellington, Harimau Muda and Home United.
The top two from each group will qualify for the quarter finals while the third-placed team in each group will slug it out for the Plate trophy.
As he spoke to Goal.com Singapore, it was clear that Admiralty chairman Donahue Francis was still coming to terms with his side qualification's for the League Cup, and was also glad that they avoided the defending S.League champions in the group stage.
“I am looking for this kind of draw and it came true and [I am] looking forward to playing against Woodlands, as we [have] got a few players playing for them previously in the S.League and it is good to avoid Tampines [Rovers],” he explained.
“We have to go through the first game first and then we will set the target [and the] most important [thing] is to take each game at a time.”
For the team's head coach Rozaidi Zainal, he was delighted with his team's victory and is eager for the competition to kick-off in late June.
“We are very grateful that the National Football League teams were given an opportunity to qualify for this year’s StarHub League Cup," he stated.
"It provides a platform to showcase what the teams in the NFL are capable of and also provides a chance for the players, who have always wanted to play in the S.League, to be seen by the football fraternity.
“We know that going up against the S.League teams will not be easy, but nonetheless, we will play as a unit and try our very best in the competition.”
The 2013 StarHub League Cup will be kicking off in June and details of the fixtures will be released in due course.
StarHub will broadcast the StarHub League Cup final ‘live’ on SuperSports Arena (StarHub TV Channel 112/201).