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Jermaine Pennant and Fandi Ahmad's sons headline 2016 S.League season

ESPN FC's Nicole Asgar and John Wilkinson preview the new S.League season where former Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant looks to make his mark for Tampines Rovers.

The 2016 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season is upon us and, as ever, the Lunar New Year brings with it renewed reason for optimism.

While a ball has yet to be kicked, the S.League has already made headlines in recent weeks for all the right reasons. Many are quietly confident this could be the year Singapore's sole professional sporting competition recaptures the imagination of fans.

ESPN FC picks out five reasons to watch in the coming campaign.

1. Return of household names from LionsXII


 By Kelvin Leong

Ten S.League players who could play for Singapore at Suzuki Cup

Home United Azhar Sairudin
Faris Ramli (left) with Home United's key forward Azhar Sairudin. (Photo credit: Home United)

The S.League received a huge boost with the introduction of all of the LionsXII players for the 2016 season, barring Malaysia-bound Safuwan Baharudin. So the Singapore competition will also be a hunting ground for national team coach Bernd Stange as he puts together a strong squad for November's AFF Suzuki Cup.

Regulars like Hafiz Sujad, Nazrul Nazari and Madhu Mohana will have to bring their A-game in order to not let other players steal their Lions' jerseys.

Sources tell ESPN FC that a preliminary...

Balestier's Kristic looking to light up Toa Payoh Stadium in the S.League

Balestier Khalsa striker Miroslav Kristic
Kristic plundered in 23 goals in all competitions for Balestier last year. (Photo credit: S.League)

His first foray into Southeast Asia saw him bang in 23 goals in all competitions for Balestier Khalsa, and the Croatian marksman is back for another shot in the S.League.

Signed from Croatian club NK Imotski, his partnership with compatriot Robert Pericic harvested 33 goals which prompted head coach Marko Kraljevic to keep the duo for the upcoming season.

"Robbie [Pericic] is a very humble man off the field and works very hard on it," Kristic told ESPN FC. "He never fails to give 100 percent in...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Singapore and Malaysia stable while Thailand rise in FIFA rankings

Singapore stay at 148th while Malaysia remain at their lowest at 171.

Reigning Suzuki Cup champions Thailand climbed up a spot to 120th in the latest world FIFA rankings.

The Thais, who are on the verge of advancing to the next stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, are the highest ranked Southeast Asian nation.

Since a low of 146th in 2013, they have steadily risen up the global list on the back of some impressive international performances.

Philippines are the second highest ASEAN nation at 134th, an improvement of one place, followed by Vietnam at 146.


Jermaine Pennant scores first goal for Tampines Rovers in Singapore

Tampines winger Jermaine Pennant
Pennant has given a good account of himself in trial matches for Singapore's Tampines Rovers.

Jermaine Pennant netted his first goal in Tampines Rovers colours on Saturday after opening the scoring in their 1-1 friendly draw against Albirex Niigata (S).

It has been less than a fortnight since the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League giants officially unveiled the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger, but already the 33-year-old is giving early signs that he will live up to the hype that comes up with being the competition's most expensive signing.

Following a goalless first half at the Jurong West...