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Players of National Football League Division 3 clubs D2D FC (green) and Vipers FAA (blue) do battle during Round 1 of the 2013 Singapore FA Cup at Serangoon Stadium. Vipers FAA progressed to the next round courtesy of a 2-1 win over their opponents (photo by Lee Jingyi/VOXSPORTS).

The Singapore Pools FA Cup was introduced way back in 1996.  The annual knockout tournaments were initially planned to only cater for the S-League teams and that was the case till 1998. The Football Association of Singapore made a change to the system, whereby only teams from the National Football League (NFL) could take part in it, due to the commitments of the S-League teams in the Singapore Cup. 

With the trophy remaining in the NFL side of the pitch for 7 years, the FAS once again decided to make a change, and introduce a challenge into the FA cup. Prime league teams of the S-league clubs were then allowed to take part in the competition, which indefinitely spiced things up for the teams from the various NFL divisions. 

Fairy-tale ending

The magic of the annual tournament returns once again from the fairy-tale ending it had in the year 2012. A club that would never have dreamed of having a shot at the title made it to the finals of the cup. The newly-promoted NFL Division 3 side, Siglap CSC were huge underdogs coming into the match against the highly fancied S-league side, Balestier Khalsa FC. 

Siglap CSC also had an aim to prove a particular stereotype wrong; that clubs from the lower leagues can also perform well at bigger games, such as the FA Cup where NFL and Prime League teams are incorporated in the game. 

Despite the large majority of people putting Balestier Khalsa FC on the cards as champions, the third division side held their own and performed to the best of their abilities approaching the game very tactically, even holding the Tigers to a 0-0 scoreline at half-time. 

However, the tale for the Siglap side had to end there as goals from Casteels Tzu Ming and Kim Minho capsized Siglap CSC’s hopes of becoming champions of what would have been an unforgettable year for the Singapore Pools FA Cup. Despite losing out in the finals, the sole act of getting into the finals of the Cup was a great achievement for the Siglap CSC side. 

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