News • August 17, 2016

A Test Of Mental Strength For Stags


Written by Rashid Sulaiman


Tampines Rovers vs Hougang United

(Wednesday, 17 August, 7.30pm, Jurong West Stadium)

With six matches to go and a point behind Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Albirex Niigata (S), Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas has called on his players to be mentally strong as they welcome Hougang United to the Jurong West Stadium on Wednesday night.

“Mentally we have to be prepared for the Hougang match and take it a game at a time now. I would not want the players to look at the end (final match of the season) when we are playing Albirex,” said Akbar who is known for his ultra-offensive tactics.

“I want the players to be psychologically prepared for the next game, and then the next and so on. We must be up for it (mentally) and finally we can think about Albirex.

“We have experienced players in the team such as Fara (Fahrudin Mustafic) as they take my instructions and relay it to the team.”

Although Akbar admitted that his team are at times vulnerable in defence, he is not about to switch to a more defensive strategy.

“We have been talking about it ever since I took over (from V.Sundramoorthy), but when you take risks, you will be susceptible for some kind of attacks by the opponents,” explained Akbar.

“But it’s not only about the back four or the goalkeeper. We must defend as a team and attack as a team too. At this stage, definitely the most important outcome is the three points.”

Tampines will be without star player Jermaine Pennant in the starting line-up as he is still not fully fit but Akbar is still hoping that the former Arsenal and Liverpool midfielder will be able to take to the pitch in the latter stages of the match.

Akbar added that he is not taking the Cheetahs lightly as he is aware of coach K.Balagumaran’s charges’ abilities. Hougang turned the tables on their previous opponents Home United as they walked away with a 4-2 win.

The two meetings between the two earlier in the season saw Tampines winning the first encounter 4-1 but Hougang put on a brave performance in the second meeting, holding the Stags to a 1-1 draw at the Hougang Stadium.

Tampines Rovers – WLLWW

12/08/16 Warriors FC 2-3 Tampines Rovers (S.League)

04/08/16   Tampines Rovers 2-1 Geylang International (S.League)

26/07/16   Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)

21/07/16  Brunei DPMM 2-1 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)

17/07/16  Warriors FC 0-3 Tampines Rovers (League Cup)

Hougang United – LWWLW

12/08/16 Hougang United 4-2 Home United (S.League)

30/07/16 Hougang United 1-2 Geylang International (League Cup)

25/07/16  Hougang United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa (League Cup)

21/07/16  Hougang United 4-1 Warriors FC (League Cup)

17/07/16  Hougang United 0-2 Brunei DPMM (League Cup)

Head to Head (S.League)

04/05/16 Hougang United 1-1 Tampines Rovers

26/02/16 Tampines Rovers 4-1 Hougang United

17/10/15  Tampines Rovers 1-0 Hougang United

24/07/15  Hougang United 0-3 Tampines Rovers

18/03/15  Tampines Rovers 2-0 Hougang United