News Singapore Premier League • February 22, 2014
Jaguars Joins Cluster of Clubs Striving for Top Three Finish
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Coach Patrick Vallee has his work cut out for him as Tanjong Pagar United are looking to relive their glory days and finish the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season in the top three position, as revealed by club Chairman Mr Edward Liu at a press conference on Thursday.
Vallee had taken the 1998 Singapore Cup winners to a respectable sixth position in the previous campaign and that has earned him a two year contract extension at the club. The Frenchmen will be competing with the likes of Home United, Tampines Rovers, Balestier Khalsa, Woodlands Wellington and Albirex Niigata (S) who have expressed their desire to either capture the title or finish in the top half.
“I am happy to confirm that Patrick Vallee is now retained by us as the head coach for the next two years and he deserved a good contract going forward,” said Liu who also revealed that new foreign signing Sebastien Etiemble passed the mandatory 2.4km fitness test in 7.44 minutes.
“We have also brought back Monsef Zerka and I expect him to do well and I am confident he would deliver.
“I have set a higher target for this year. I am not going to compete with Tampines Rovers or Home United to win the title, we are aiming at the top three position. If they can do better, it would be a big bonus for us and the players.”
Last season, Jaguars were at one stage looking strong to compete for the league title but a slew of injuries, especially to midfielder Sazali Salleh who suffered a broken leg during their RHB Singapore Cup encounter against Philippines outfit Loyola Meralco Sparks, halted their good run and they slid down the table.
This is one of Vallee’s major concerns this year as he hopes to navigate through the season without any untoward incidents to his squad.
“We are looking to be consistent and to improve the standard. Hopefully there will not be any major injury this season.
“We always expect to finish better, even if you win or lose the first game, you won’t know what will happen. We will do our best to meet the management target,” expressed Vallee who won the S.League and League Cup titles with now-defunct club Etoile FC in 2010.
The 2013 RHB Singapore Cup finalist have also strengthened their squad with several local signings with international experience, namely Firdaus Idros, Masrezwan Masturi (both from Home United) and Tengku Mushadad (Balestier Khalsa).
The trio will be joined by new recruits Ruzaini Zainal (Tampines Rovers) and Nor Azli Yusoff (Home). Vallee said that he carefully selected the players to suit his attractive attacking football.
“These are good players that Vallee had picked to form the core of our team. All are first team players and competition will be quite keen to get into the first eleven,” added the Chairman.
For new foreign signing Etiemble, although he speaks little English, he had no problem adapting to the club as the Frenchman found himself at home with fellow countryman Aurelien Herisson, Anthony Aymard, Kamel Ramdani and former Morocco international Zerka, who also spoke his language.
“I am happy to play with all the players here and the atmosphere here is good. I look forward to the new season. I am an offensive midfielder and I like to play simple football, keep it on the ground and score some goals,” uttered the 26-year old who played under Vallee in AFC Compiegne from 2010 till 2012.
The club also announced a new apparel sponsorship deal with Mitre worth SGD225,000 for three years. Mitre was represented at the press conference by Mr Alfred Toh, General Manager of Teamwork Sports.
Tanjong Pagar will start their new campaign with a trip to Pasir Gudang Stadium to face Razip Ismail’s Harimau Muda on 24 February. The match will kick-off at 8.45pm.
Tanjong Pagar United 2014 Squad.
Head Coach: Patrick Vallee
Assistant Coach: Nicolas Possetti
Team Manager: Satiman Saim
Goalkeeping Coach: Chua Lye Heng
Logistics Officer: Leonard Koh
Sports Trainer: Jeffrey Tham
Chua Lye Heng
Hafiz Osman (Captain)
Nor Azli Yusoff