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Temasek Polytechnic lifts the President’s Challenge Trophy


Temasek Polytechnic's custodian Jasper Chan was the hero at the S R Nathan Challenge Trophy. (Photo: SSC)

Gunning for their third win in the S R Nathan Challenge Trophy, the combined Institute of Technical Education (ITE) team was expected to waltz past first time finalist Temasek Polytechnic (TP) who were missing key players Faris Ramly and Nigel Navin Vanu who had left to join the Olympic team for the pre-Olympic qualifiers.

The combined ITE team lived up to their tag as favourites by dominating possession but it was TP who took the lead through Eugene Luo’s penalty in the 60th minute. Victory seemed certain until the 77th minute when Alistair Tan conceded a penalty by fouling Sufianto Salleh in the box.

All eyes were on Aqhari Abdullah as he stepped up to take the penalty. Standing tall in goal was Young Lions goalkeeper, Jasper Chan. Jasper dived to his right and managed to parry the ball to safety.

Five minutes later, the 22-year-old business student made another fantastic save, this time foiling Azfar Zainal Abidin’s point-blank shot. Jasper was excellent throughout the game as the ITE team simply could not find a way past him. His match winning performance not only won Temasek the cup, but in the process created history in front of guest-of-honour, President S R Nathan.

His heroics in goal also earned praise from the ITE head coach Emran Yusoff, “When you have a good goalkeeper behind you, the confidence of the team definitely goes up.”

Victory in this year’s finals was especially sweet as they avenged their semi-final lost to the ITE team in last year’s semi-final. 
 “I’m proud that I managed to achieve something for the school and for Mr Tan Yeuan Hui, my football team adviser”, said the Jasper when asked how he felt about the cup final win.

It has also been a very difficult last nine months for him. A torn anterior cruciate ligament in July last year sidelined him for the rest of the S-League season. During that time he also lost his No.1 spot to teammate Izwan Mahbud while Syazwan Buhari also leapfrogged ahead of him.

Hopefully this performance would allow him to regain his No.1 spot sooner rather than later.