Majulah Tampines!

By Greenrover

Tampines Rovers got their 2017 AFC Cup campaign off to a winning start when they accounted for Malaysian Super League outfit, Felda United, 2-1 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night.

It was just as well they did as there’s going to be tougher AFC Cup games than this to contend with in the weeks ahead, with two consecutive away matches to play in the Philippines and Vietnam respectively.

There’s at least some breathing space after this coming Sunday night’s Community Shield game against reigning champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) before the discrete AFC Cup squad heads off to foreign lands.

On opening night, in front of an encouraging crowd of almost 1,300 fans, the Stags virtually controlled the game from the opening whistle, although the scoreline might not reflect the relative comfort of the win.

“I felt we were always going to win it,” said coach Herman Zailani, standing in for an indisposed head coach Jurgen Raab.

“Even when we conceded a late goal I wasn’t too concerned,” he insisted.

Be that as it may, Tampines Rovers would probably have preferred to maintain a clean sheet and establish more than this slender one-goal advantage from their opening home encounter.

There were plenty of positives to be taken from the game, against an opponent undergoing some turmoil off the field and whose own start to their domestic season has been less than ideal.

The Stags had the luxury of Singapore internationals Khairul Amri, Hafiz Rahim and Sahil Suhaimi warming the bench and it was the second goal, put away effortlessly by star striker, Amri, that ensured ultimate victory.

A late consolation from Felda would not have pleased either Raab or his players, who dropped their focus enough to give the Malaysian side a sniff at snatching a valuable point.

The team has a decidedly new look about it and it’s clear that it’s obviously still settling down.

Two of the players registered for this AFC competition only, can’t play in Sunday’s opening S.League fixture that doubles as the annual Community Shield.

One of those newcomers, Raspreet Sandhu, impressed enormously and it was his expert cross that led to 25 year old Korean Son Yong Chan opening the scoring just over an hour into the game.

Those two players looked the part, as did Japanese forward, Ryutaro Megumi, whose cross set up Amri’s goal seven minutes from the end.

With both the Korean and Japanese starlets free to play on Sunday hopes are high that the new season can begin in style against an imposing Albirex Niigata (S).

Sahil and Raspreet are only participating in the AFC Cup at this stage, but either, or both, could feature in the local league if they are able to demonstrate consistency and offer the team something special.

Sahil only had ten minutes to show his wares, so he’ll be looking for more game-time in the matches coming up against Ceres Negros and Hanoi FC.

Son, a very worthy Man of the Match and not only for his superbly-taken opening goal, but for his all-round midfield supremacy, joined the Stags from Ceres and has mixed feelings about meeting his former club so soon after leaving them.

“I can show them what I can do with my new team,” he observed at the post-match press conference. “I’ll aim to show them what they’re missing!”

Albirex will provide a tougher challenge than Felda did, but the confidence gained from this opening AFC Cup fixture should ensure that the Stags are in the right frame of mind to face the boys from Jurong East.

Sunday’s game is becoming more tantalising with each passing day.

Click on the following link to view the Post-match Press Conference Video

Match Stats:

Tampines Rovers
Starting XI: Izwan Mahbud, Ismadi Mukhtar, Mustafic Fahrudin, Daniel Bennett, Madhu Mohana, Son Yong Chan, Ryutaro Megumi, Raspreet Sandhu, Yasir Hanapi, Ivan Dzoni, Irwan Shah
Substitutes: Jufri Taha, Syed Haziq, Khairul Amri, Hafiz Rahim, Farhan Rahmat, Joey Sim, Sahil Suhaimi

Yellow Cards: Izwan Mahbud (93’)
Goals: Son Yong Chan (64’), Khairul Amri (83’)
70’ Ivan Dzoni OUT, Khairul Amri IN
75’ Yasir Hanapi OUT, Hafiz Rahim IN
84’ Raspreet Sandhu OUT, Sahil Suhaimi IN
Head Coach: Juergen Raab

Felda United
Starting XI: Nor Fazly Alias, Mootaz Jounaidi, Lucas Cano, Zah Krangar, Shukor Adan, Stuart Wark, Aizulridzwan Razali, Hasnizaidi Jamian, Hadin, Ridzuan Pula, Farizal Harun
Substitutes: Kalamullah Rowi, Khairul Ismail, Fakrul Aiman, Fazrul Hazli, Syahid Zaidon, Gaston Cellerino, Alif Yusof

Yellow Cards: Ridzuan Pula (39’), Farizal Harun (40’)
Goals: Fazrul Hazli (87’)
68’ Ridzuan Pula OUT, Gaston Cellerino IN
81’ Radin OUT, Fazrul Hazli IN
Head Coach: Mohd Nik

A Big Thank You

Thank you to all our fans who visited us at the new Tampines Town Hub this morning. The official fan club was there to sign-up the queue that formed to become part of the Tampines Rovers’ family. Many current and former Tampines Rovers players and coaches were present to chat with fans and take selfies… lots of selfies 🙂

Organised to coincide with an Active SG football event at the hub, we were honoured by the support of Teo Ser Luck (Minister of State, Ministry of Manpower & Mayor, North East District). Excitement was definitely in the air as we took a look at the progress of the new football stadium. We are looking forward to our homecoming later this year.

In the meantime, we have our first AFC Cup game against Felda United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday 21st February and the Community Shield (and S.League season opener) at the National Stadium on Sunday 26th February. Don’t miss out on what promises to be a very exciting season ahead for all of us in the Tampines Rover’s family.

Autograph Hunter Targets Tampines Rovers

Adrian Dzieniszewski, from Poland, describes himself as a ‘traveller’ who has been collecting autographs from around the world since 2005. He has recently travelled to Thailand, Cambodia, Albania, Hong Kong, England, Malaysia to name but a few; he is now in Singapore, his 28th country.

Targeting mainly national team players, to-date he has over 5,000 autographed photographs. In September 2016, Adrian met a Singaporean in Albania. He was planning a tour around south-east Asia and was advised to visit “the biggest club in Singapore”, Tampines Rovers.

We caught up with him when he attended our senior squad training session yesterday. His travels and love of football are fascinating. His most famous autograph encounter was with Cristiano Ronaldo. Adrian remembers well when Portugal played Poland in an international friendly. He stood outside the hotel for three days in a temperature of minus ten; with a large crowd hoping for a signature. When Ronaldo came back from training, he held up his Ronaldo photograph and struck lucky.

Adrian also has autographs from the whole England squad, excluding Rooney (who refused), Cavani, Suarez and the best Polish player, Lewandowski, from whom he got an autograph when Lewandowski played at Znicz Pruszków in 2007.

Apart from Rooney, his most memorable refusal came from former Sporting manager Ricardo Sa Pinto. At the airport (too tired), at breakfast (too early), at lunch (before match), at the match (see me after the match), after the match (too tired). In all Adrian tried seven times; but to no avail.

At our training session he managed to get the autographs of many Singapore internationals. He left us with his photographs of currently injured Fazrul Nawaz and Shakir Hamzah (as his rushed off to his next country). We are more than happy to fill-in his gaps for him. After all, it would take quite some time to collect the autographs of Tampines Rovers internationals.

Stags Ready For Felda United

Stags Up Early For Training In Preparation For Felda United AFC Cup Match

With only five days to go before our first AFC Cup game, our Stags were up early this morning for a training session at the PUB Recreation Centre. Having had a rest day yesterday, they were back to work with a high-intensity session under the blistering heat — so hot some of our players even had to wear sunscreen to protect themselves.

Head coach Juergen Raab was right there under the sun with all of our players, constantly pushing and motivating the squad to ensure they were training at a high standard and were all up to par. Coach Thomas Silvas and Coach Sugunan Perinan were very involved as well; ensuring that all the players stretched properly and worked on their fitness. Both were also continuously assisting Juergen throughout the session. William Phang, our goalkeeper coach, put Izwan Mahbud and Joey Sim through an intense session as well. Team manager Alif Danial was present at the training session, dealing with off-pitch matters concerning the team.

An intense session it was, with our players walking off the pitch completely drenched in sweat. Our sports trainer Premjit Singh and logistics officer Goh Koon Hiang were there for the players immediately after the training ended, providing the squad with drinks and fruit, such as grapes, bananas and apples, to aid with the players’ recovery. These fruits offer antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that players need after a training session to help the body replenish itself. In fact, whilst our squad was training, Premjit and Goh were up in the stands separating all the grapes from their stems! Whilst taking the fruit, the players were joking amongst themselves, saying it was “feeding time”.

Juergen Raab ended the session by speaking to the players and coaches as a whole, summarising how he thought the training went and giving the players what some would call a “motivating and inspirational” talk.

Overall, the squad are in good spirits and are preparing well for their first AFC Cup game of 2017 against Felda United on 21st February at Jalan Besar Stadium.

See the photo gallery below for photos from the training session today!

Keep Up To Date With TRFC:

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Second Pre-season Win for Our Women

At ITE College East yesterday evening, the final selection for this year’s Tampines Rovers Women team took on local Junior College, Meridian, in our second pre-season friendly match.

For us, the game was a game of two halves, with the stronger players coming on in the second half. The first half finished 0-0 with our women unable to put the the finishing touch on any of the numerous chances they created. To their credit, Meridian put up a strong defence.

The second half was a different affair, our attacking force was rested, and the expected starting XI sprung in to action. Some fast-paced play down the left wing, in particular, led to many crosses into the six-yard box. As the pressure mounted, the Meridian defence was finally beaten. The game finished 5-0 and, following the 4-2 victory in the game against GDT Circuit FC the previous week, bodes well for Coach Ratna’s squad in the upcoming Women’s National League Season.

Jita Singh is with the Stags

By Suresh Nair

HOME sweet home and award-winning coach Jita Singh has returned to home pastures to contribute to Singapore football.

And he instantly picks Tampines Rovers to be the Director of Football Excellence.

The former national football coach left as Academy Director at Pahang-based Frenz United Football Academy (FUFA), an ambitious centre founded by a Singaporean that announced it is ceasing operations.

“Yes, I’m back to home ground and I’m delighted to be with the Stags,” says the 68-year-old Jita. “(Chairman) Krishna Ramachandra has ambitious plans to make Tampines a regional football power and I intend to help him achieve the target, especially looking at grassroots levels.”

Jita played for the Lions for five years (1969–1973) after which he was motivated to become the first Sikh national coach from 1979 to 1984. He was the youngest national team coach when he led Singapore at age 29 and in his first assignment, he guided the Lions to victory in the 1980 Malaysia Cup, as well as two South-east Asian (SEA) Games silver medals (1983 and 1989).

Former FAS Chairman Nadesan Ganesan hailed Jita as the “Man with the Midas touch”. The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) decorated him with the “Coach of the Year” award in 1981, his highest national decoration to date.

Prior to taking up the Malaysian appointment, he was Senior Head of Game Development at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS). He joined the FAS in 2007 as Head of Grassroots Development and spent the next seven years devoting his time and efforts to reform and enhance the youth development structure in Singapore.

Apart from youth development, he was also involved in other aspects of Singapore football: overseeing women’s football, coaching and development, the National Football Academy, as well as club and junior centres of excellence.

Chairman Krishna Ramachandra hailed Jita as my “guru” and he is confident the Stags will take an internal and international higher step with his expertise.
“His distinguished track record says it all,” says Krishna. “We need more decorated and committed football personalities to bring Tampines to its best potential and to be recognised as a top club with clear aspirations to work with the grassroots, especially along the heartlands of Tampines, where there’re thousands of young kids who want to make it big with football.”

Welcome Jita Singh to the family of the Stags!

Tampines Rovers Alumni Launch

The Padang last Friday afternoon (and late into the evening) bore witness to a wonderful event. Under a beautiful blue sky, and with the Singapore skyline as a backdrop, 75 years of Tampines Rovers was celebrated with a coming together of heroes from over the years.

This was the launch of the Tampines Rovers Alumni; a culmination of the hard work of many people, the Alumni is open to anyone who has given their time and effort to the club that we love.

The highlight of the event was a friendly match against Singapore Recreation Club Veterans. The end-result does not matter, although, by most accounts, we won 4-3. The game was played in an excellent spirit, with plenty of action and goals in skilful end-to-end play.

This will be first in a series of events; all concerned are of the firm conviction that it is important to recognise all those who have contributed to the club over the decades.