Duric's last hurrah: 'Put pride back in S-League'

Duric's last hurrah: 'Put pride back in S-League'

Last Friday, the whistle blew to kick off the new Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League season, with Tampines Rovers beating Home United 1-0 in the season opener at Jalan Besar Stadium.

It also signalled the start of a long goodbye for the most successful player to have graced the league - Aleksandar Duric.

The striker will turn 44 on Aug 12 - an age which an overwhelming majority of professional footballers have long hung up their boots - and has long stated that this will be his final season.

His extraordinary S-League journey has taken him through 16 seasons, eight league title victories, three Singapore Cup wins, four top scorer awards, three Player of the Year accolades and a record 378 goals.

Yet, it is ending at a time when the Singapore professional football league is at a critical juncture.

While attendance is up, from an all-time-low average of 932 in 2012 to 1,200 last year, it is a league that had lost its lustre amid the rising popularity of the LionsXII and their Malaysian Super League exploits.

With the ASEAN Super League readying for launch next year, the S-League is facing its stiffest competition for star players, for fans and for sponsorship.

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