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Manager calls time

The time has finally come as Central Park bids farewell to its manager after 10 years at the helm. In a tenure that includes 2 Championship and 6 Runner’s-up position, it was time for the manager to call it a day as he hands over the baton to 2 of its senior players; Charlson Tay and Jason Evans Tan who will be overseeing the running of the team affairs.

Following the exit of the manager, utility player Jeffrey Soon has announced his retirement from the team after making 135 appearances since 2005. The other exit in the team will be Sharks all-time top scorer Heng Li as he seeks a new challenge having scored a total of 147 goals for the club since 2004 with his most memorable was his double against Hougang Sports Club back in 2006. That goal sparked Central Park’s dream run in the Island-wide League that saw them finished runners-up and qualified for National Football League Division 3 at its first calling.

We managed to get an insights from the manager and he said, ’Ten years is a long time to be managing a team and while it’s hard to let it go after all these years, the time is ripe for someone to take the helm as I’m confident that the team is left in good hands.’

When asked what was the most memorable or biggest achievement, he quipped ‘Many would point out the year 2007 where Sharks qualified for NFL as its biggest achievement but for me, the biggest achievement was having the opportunity to have the players that we have then and now; those who have donned the jersey and played their hearts out every game. They are what made Central Park possible till today and for that, I couldn’t thank them enough for being part of this journey with me.’

He added, ‘The club is fortunate to have these committed players who believe in the club cause and despite verbal volleys thrown at them at the sidelines during some games; everything remained on the field and over the years, I could safely say that I call most of them close friends now.’

The end of the manager’s tenure has put the club in good stead as they secured safety in Division 3 for next season after their win against Matador last weekend. Though it will not be a swansong for the manager to celebrate any title winning match during his last game, the players; current and former players will want to get the win for their manager.

When queried what makes the club ticked all these years, the manager commented, ‘It’s the belief of these players that we could compete and to be frank, we were never known to be the skillful team and neither were we known as a one-man’s team; it has always been the workman-like ethics of each players that made the team what it is now and as many of the players would know, I would refer them as a ‘farmer’s team’ where it’s thru hard-work on the field that gets us grinding results.’

Nonetheless, what caught many by surprise was the introduction of the manager as a late substitute in its last game. When asked if that’s a signal of the manager returning to the game, he said, ‘There were not many regrets during the past 10 years but one of the biggest disappointment personally was never having the chance to wear the club proud colours in any competitive game. To be wearing that in a competitive game last weekend was a special one to cherished for a long time even though I don’t even get a touch of the ball, he laughed.'

As to how and what the directions of the club would be, the manager said, ’That will be up to the incoming managers of the team but the most important thing have to be them keeping to the tradition of the team; belief and discipline.’


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