League Cup • July 15, 2014

Hisham Encouraged By Display Despite Defeat


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

They might have lost 7-1 to Tanjong Pagar United in their StarHub League Cup Group A clash, but Police SA team manager Hisham Saad was heartened with the team’s display especially after having come into this one on the back of a 13-0 drubbing by Albirex Niigata (S) in their last match.

“It’s a good game and a much-improved performance compared to the game against Albirex. In the first-half, we lost to Tanjong Pagar but you can see that we matched them player for player in the second,” he assessed.

“We tried our best today but I think credit should be given to Tanjong Pagar, they displayed an outstanding performance. We did our very best but what we learnt from this game was the fitness and experience playing at higher level of football.”

Head coach Azmi Othman similarly believed that playing in a competition like the League Cup will provide the opportunity for his players to grow.

“I can tell you that none of them has played in the S.League before, so this is a good experience for them. But this is what we want, more exposure for our players. If we don’t expose them, then we won’t have the chance to see the locals getting better,” he continued.

“Look at Albirex, they are better than us in terms of fitness. But when it comes to the S.League and especially playing against foreigners, we are still far behind. So it’s good to see our local players catching up and see them getting exposed in such tournaments and I hope the FAS will continue to give NFL teams a chance to participate in this tournament in the future.”

On the other hand, Tanjong Pagar coach Patrick Vallee was pleased with the team’s performance on a whole and paid credit to his opponents whom he thought gave a decent showing of themselves.

“I’m happy because many players scored goals and assisted especially when [the likes of] Monsef [Zerka], [Ahmad] Latiff, Asraf [Rashid] and Firdaus [Idros] all scored. The most important thing was that everyone in the team played their part to help because it’s not an individual effort,” he explained.

“We tried to score more goals, we tried to play football on the ground and I asked them to avoid mistakes. We cannot score a lot of goals in second-half, but it’s not a big problem because what’s most important was the qualification to quarter-finals which was our main objective.

“The opponents fought very well in second-half and they have got some good players. We need to congratulate them because after first game [where they lost] it’s not easy for them coming into this. They never gave up and tried to play good football. It’s very nice to see this style of team. In football, you have to firstly respect your opponents which we did today.”