News • April 22, 2014

Shahdan: AFC Cup Progression Is In Our Hands

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Written By: Kenneth Ho

After suffering the heartache of elimination from the AFC Cup at the group stages for the past two years, the Stags are now a draw away from progression into the next round.

Sitting in second spot in Group H on six points, Tampines Rovers will face Myanmar-based Nay Pyi Taw, who are a point below them.

With that in mind, Tampines midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman asserted that his teammates were ready to do battle with their opponents, even though the Stags have been experiencing mixed results in recent weeks.

“We are currently second, so we don’t need to rely on other results. I think it’s quite important that we make it through to the next round,” Shahdan added.

“We played well in one game and we don’t play well in another game. But for tomorrow it’s a brand new game, and it’s a game for qualification so I think all the players will look forward for tomorrow’s match.”

Having seen his side receive a 3-1 loss in Myanmar, Tampines coach Salim Moin admitted that Nay Pyi Taw are ’a very good team’. Despite that, he will still be looking to earn a win on Tuesday evening.

“We are not looking at draw at the moment, we are looking for a win. To play draw, I should say, is a little bit risky, so we want to go for a win, and from there we will see how the result will be.”

The Stags have Jamil Ali listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s match, and Salim said that he will assess the winger’s fitness on Monday evening to determine whether he should risk selecting the player.

With the Myanmar domestic league having a month lay-off, Nay Pyi Taw has only been playing in AFC Cup matches in April, and this was an advantage for the club according to Nay Pyi Taw coach Myo Hlaing Win.

“Last month our matches in my country are very close, so our players were very tired. But this time, our national league give a rest for one month, so we have a lot of time to take a rest, and we are ready and our players are fit,” Myo said.

While the onus was on Nay Pyi Taw to get a win if they wished to achieve progression, Myo was adamant his team were not feeling the heat to do so.

“We don’t have any pressure for this match,” he declared.

“We still have chance to get to the next stage, so we don’t have any worries about this.”