Written by: Kenneth Ho
Prior to the beginning of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2014 season, almost all clubs have declared their intention to challenge for honours.
Hougang United coach Amin Nasir’s stance was no different, and he has already stated his target to improve upon the club’s league standing after finishing tenth last season.
“Of course we want to do better this season, we always believe we can with a new squad coming in,” Amin told the press.
“So we must be realistic, as much as we want to go top three, we have to go one game at a time. I believe the target will be top six.”
Despite the loss of several players including stalwart Mamadou Diallo and Thomas Beattie, Amin insisted that the Cheetahs have had adequately replaced them.
“Up front we got a couple of new signings to balance our attacking. For new players, like Take, his work rate is good, more importantly, he is a team player.
“We have one [Erwan Gunawan] from Warriors FC, so I am quite happy to have him. In good form, he will be a good addition for us. We have Geison (Moura) from Brazilian.”
Hougang have also signed their former player Diego Gama. The Brazilian dazzled the crowd in his short stint with the club, but was often plagued with injury then.
Despite question marks lingering over Gama’s fitness, Amin was convinced the 30-year-old’s injury problems were behind him.
“He (Gama) is fully recovered, he did have injury when he was with us in 2011. [However], after two years he played in Brazil and he came back very strongly and sharp,” Amin said.
Another new addition unveiled at Hougang his season was Shunsuke Nakatake. The Japanese was not signed from S.League team Albirex Niigata as was commonly the case in the domestic league, but from Euros Crescent FC.
“For Take (Shunsuke), he was actually here last year in March but the timing wasn’t right cause the season started already,” Amin revealed.
“Somehow he managed to get Eunos to sign him, and played with them for a couple of months and I saw him play. We tried him out, he is young, skilful and hard working so this is what I felt like in my team.”
Amin felt the Cheetahs’s strength laid in slow and possessive football play, and believed Shunsuke could help his team in this
“He is more into defensive midfield in my team, so his strength is he is more defensive. At the same time he is also capable of giving good penetrative passes, build up plays from the back,” Amin said.
Besides changes in the squad list, Hougang has also seen a change in the captaincy role, with Fadhil Salim assuming the armband from Lau Meng Meng.
“Lau Meng Meng is still our vice captain, the changes is because Fadil is experienced, more into leadership,” Amin said about the change.
“Meng Meng also give good leadership, so what I am looking at the team is all to fight for positions.”
Hougang United take on Woodlands Wellington at the Hougang Stadium on the 22 February at 7.30pm.