SINGAPORE - After dwelling at the bottom two places in the last five seasons as Sengkang Punggol, they had hoped for a turn of fortune with a name change.
It happened: Playing as Hougang United this year, they finished seventh out of 12 teams in the 2011 Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League season.
The club now look to tackle another problem: Indiscipline. While not an uncommon issue for many teams, Hougang's year was blotted by a violent brawl that erupted on their home turf against Etoile in May.
The match was called off even before it started and both the clubs were eventually fined S$10,000 and had five points deducted.
Hougang assistant coach Hasrin Jailani and skipper Shariff Samat, together with Etoile midfielder Serge Souchon and reserve goalie Hadama Bathily were also fined between S$1,000 and S$2,000 and handed suspensions for up to seven matches by the Football Association of Singapore's disciplinary committee.
Hougang club chairman Bill Ng is determined to rid the club of indiscipline and up to 40 per cent of the squad is likely to change.
Former SAFFC defender and Woodlands Wellington coach Nenad Bacina could be taking over Aide Iskandar as coach, although Ng declined to confirm this.
"There will be some changes, and a few new players, but we want to keep 60 to 70 percent of our current squad. We want to build on this season," said Ng.
Although bullish about the club's future, Ng declined to discuss the club's targets for next season.
However, he stressed that Hougang will be a more disciplined side. "I'm not worried about our technical ability, both in terms of the players and the coaches, for next season, but it's areas like the players' attitude and discipline which we need to work on. We have to address this in order for us to move forward."
Last Saturday, Hougang finished the season with a 3-1 win over Tanjong Pagar, with Brazilian forward Diego Oliveira scoring a five-minute hat-trick. Tan Yo-Hinn - (SOURCE)