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HOUGANG UNITED 2023 SEASON REVIEW: No-holds-barred commentary from the fans 🐆

Updated: Feb 5

Hougang united 2023 season review

Submitted by: KingKiKiLover10 and written by Ian, Clovis and Kingkiki.

Hougang united 2023 season review...

Tactical Review

Firkas ball was interesting, the tactical approach of build up play and dominating posession was extremely promising, with us lining up in a 4-2-3-1.

The tactics and formation gave us hope where we won 3-2 against Balestier in our season opener, but after that it all fell apart, we lost our key player Kristian, and we ended up being winless in 8 games straight. Why? Simply because we couldn’t build up properly and we did not have the quality.

Apart from Krajcek and Maksi our other foreigners (Kuri, Takayama, and Brian Ferreira) did not have the ability to make our tactics work. With no bias at all, Kuri and Takayama were not up to standard for foreigners, therefore our backline was weak. Brian Ferreira was meant to hold up play like Pedro Bortuluzo and find Amy/Gabriel/Hazz to break the last line. But playing out from the back was already an issue, so Brian looked out of place as he dropped into midfield causing us to lose the ball more.

After these horrible runs of games, Firkas was back to coaching the youth team, and up stepped his partner in crime Marko.

Marko ball was the opposite of Firkas ball, it was better suited to the player’s abilities, but it is SO SO BORING. It is quite literally just kick and rush, where we boot it up to the striker and pray that he somehow manages to turn/link up play. If not, we would hit them on the counter where we saw Gabriel Quak get most of his goals from in his Round 2 purple patch. Im not complaining though, it was effective, and it helped us scrape results. Marko wasn’t able to beat the bigger teams like LCS and Tampines, but at least he got results against the ones that we should be getting which is much better than what Firkas did. Basically, he did his job.

With this, we give Firkas ball a 5/10 and Marko ball a 7/10.

Now, let’s talk about our players, with ratings given by Clovis Yio and Kingkiki. It's a long list of our squad players so sit tight and let us go through the list!

Player Reviews

Abdil Qayyim


Came in when we needed more depth in defense and really placed in huge shifts for us in some games, debut was outstanding and despite some poorer performances, generally a much needed mid-season signing.

Jordan Vestering


Jordan has been an everlasting presence at left back and has had brilliant games especially against the likes of Lestienne. Scored one of the fastest goals we have ever seen recorded but can get caught in transition at times.

Louka Tan


Louka has been fortunate to have played a number of games for us this season due to our injury crisis and need to fill the U21 spot, though he does not partake in the most amount of attacking actions and phases he has however, done well for a youth player thrown onto the scene, even scoring a goal in the process.

Gabriel Quak


Weird rating I know however despite moments of brilliance when he comes on his injuries have really done himself and the club no good at all and that’s of course not his fault but it’s something that has tanked his ratings for sure. Additionally Gabriel does have some teething moments with the team when he takes too long to decide what he wants to do on the ball.

Ajay Robson


Was one of our favorite players to watch at the beginning and end of the season when he got himself more starts and gametime. Very energetic and fluid on the ball he is absolutely fun to watch on his good days. However his impact to affect games haven’t kicked in consistently yet but hey, he’s still 20

Irwan Shah


Irwan Shah can count himself unfortunate here as he was used mostly as a center midfielder. Definitely not his favorite position but it was evident that the Hougang staff likened him to come more centrally even under Firkas’ tenure. While he provided that defensive cover and experience in the middle, he can be at times caught wanting, lacking that bite and passing variation in midfield.

Amy Recha


Largely inconsistent and underwhelming in some games but proved his worth on his day (remember that DPMM hat trick?) I’d still consider him a key player given our squad status and he was valuable in winning us games with his direct playstyle.

Idraki Adnan


I think it is difficult to place a number on Idraki considering the bouts of injuries he had to deal with, after a sparkling 20/21 season, this season pales in comparison but it’s not because of his abilities but similar to Gabriel, his injuries just meant he didn't manage to impact the club as we’d all wished he would.

Djorje Maksimovic


Honestly, where would we be without Djorje Maksimovic?? Coming in as a midseason signing, there was no doubt that he would bear high expectations on bringing in the goals and boy oh boy he delivered them. Despite being isolated in huge chunks of the games played thanks to our route one football system, there was rarely any difficulty seeing him appear on the scoresheet. A near season-defining (midseason) signing I must say.

Zaiful Nizam


Although a pretty lackluster season for the former Golden Glove winner, Zaiful has also performed some beautiful saves to salvage us at least some drive to end the match on a better note. It's pretty evident he was brought in for his distribution abilities and he played the role perfectly. Defensive mishaps overall didn't help at all but he's adapted to it well and has salvaged points for us across the season.

Zainol Gulam


A bit weird for the backup to rank higher than the starting goalie but Zainol has not put a foot wrong in the limited games he played this season. He's played well considering he lacked match fitness and has constantly bailed us out in many occasions. Unlucky that the defense couldn't keep up but hypothetically had he played the entire season, his performances might have saw us rank better.

Anders Aplin


Although he thrived in his new right-back role, credit given when it's due he didn't play the best this season. It was a shadow of his 2022 self and he was constantly getting caught out. However he shone in the RB position but he's not played many games in there to justify a higher rank.

Nazrul Nazari


Similarly to Anders, Nazrul was a calamity in defence but his constant attacking output has given him a significant higher ranking than his peer. Naz was constantly an attacking threat and several of his crosses have led to key chances. That including his right-wing cameos provided fresh new legs and even led to crucial winners. His role as the new captain solidified this rank as it pushed him to perform better and it's evident through his latter half stats.

Naoki Kuriyama


Despite his J League experience, Kuriyama did not play the part. Constantly letting his man through or overcommitting to a tackle, he's made several rookie mistakes. Including the several own goals he's scored, there's no justification for a higher rank.

Kazuma Takayama


Despite the shaky start, Taka has played well if you don't consider the fact that his partner was a letdown. Often a beast in the air, he also thrived in a more attacking position at left-back. Taka's will to play for the badge has put him on the front foot, making several key challenges and even scoring key goals for the club.

Shahdan Sulaiman


Two injuries limited his appearances drastically and even in the games he played he was a letdown. However, considering he was pushed back into the squad too quickly I won't hold it against him.

Kristijan Krajcek


Had he not been injured twice this season, he would've salvaged us something in the league. He's been creator, finisher, and leader all in one. Krajcek's influence is unmatched and he's also one of our top scorers in the league.

Umar Ramle


Hasn't been in Kraljevic's favour and injuries hampered his playing time.

Amir Zalani


Was often used as a super sub when attacking threat is needed and he played the part well despite limited appearances.

Fairoz Hasan


Merely a panic signing that provided little to no influence. Had a stupid red card vs Tampines too.

Hazzuwan Halim


Was our topscorer at one point and his runs were influential. Made the off-the-ball movements when nobody wanted to and was often the only one running in the final third bar Maksi.

Sahil Suhaimi


Aside from his goal vs Young Lions, Sahil hasn't done much. His skills and trickery often led to nothing and his finishing skills hasn't been the best. Unfortunate to see from one of the highest potential in the league. Farewell 2023

If you have managed to come this far of the article, we would like to thank you for reading. This season has been a rough one but with high expectations after the SG Cup win in the 2022 season it was not easy to reach the same heights again, but the boys and supporters pulled through and tried their best. It has been an eventfull year to say the least and as the 2024 season draws nearer, may we wish everyone who's reading this a huge thank you for your support this season and see you guys soon! #1H1H


Hougang United FC Quick Report & Transfers:

(As of 4th Jan 2024)

-Contract Extensions: Zaiful Nizam, Jordan Vestering, Hazzuwan Halim, Shahdan Sulaiman, Kristijan Kracjek, Umar Akbar & Anders Aplin

-Signings: Nikesh Singh Sidhu(re-sign)

-Departures: Amy Recha, Idraki Adnan, Kazuma Takayama, Naoki Kuriyama, Sahil Suhaimi, Abdil Qaiyyim, Irwan Shah, Zainol Gulam, Gabriel Quak, Amir Zalani & Djorje Maksimovic

— Tune in to the "Upcoming" section of our homepage after the matchday to see the latest scores. Or simply follow our 'hougang_hools' instagram page or 'Hougang United FC Supporters Club' on facebook to see video snippets or updates on latest scores. All images used are stocks or from the hougang united instagram page unless otherwise stated.

How excited are you for the new season?

  • 0%Very!

  • 0%Nothing to be excited! We lost a huge bunch of our players

Which upcoming 24/25 season new features are you excited about?

  • 0%4+1+1 foreigner slots

  • 0%Shifting of the SPL calendar to match Fifa calendar

  • 0%Entry of the 10th SPL club to make the league wholesome

  • 0%The eventuality of moving to a brand new stadium in Punggol

Which departure are you sad to see leave the club?

  • 0%Amy Recha

  • 0%Idraki Adnan

  • 0%Kazuma

  • 0%Naoki

You can vote for more than one answer.

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Jan 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Well done

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