Singapore Cup • November 25, 2015

Okuyama Delighted With Chance Of A Cup Double


Written by: Nigel Chin

Albirex Niigata (S) coach could not hide his excitement after his side made it into the RHB Singapore Cup final following their 3-1 aggregate win over Global FC.

Goals from Atsushi Kawata and Rion Taki helped the side to advance, and they will make just their second appearance in the Singapore Cup final.

Having clinched the League Cup in July, Albirex will have a chance to be the first team to do a Cup double in Singapore football.

Incidentally, the last team to make the finals of both cup competition was the White Swans.

Okuyama wants his side to end the season on a high, and show others what they are capable of despite missing out on the S.League title.

“I’ve been hoping to go to the final for Singapore Cup, and I’m very happy with this result today,” Okuyama said.

“We wanted to win all three titles for this season, but we couldn’t win the league title.

“So, for this Singapore Cup, it is a very good opportunity to show everyone the strengths of this year’s team. We want to win the title.”

Okuyama also shared that it did not matter who they will face in the final, be it league champions Brunei DPMM or Home United, who they lost to in the final in 2011.

“We are preparing for whichever team that makes the final,” Okuyama admitted. “Both Home United and Brunei DPMM have very good teams, and they have very strong players.

“But we have been preparing for both teams, so I don’t have a preference on who to face.”

On the other hand, Global coach Leigh Manson was left rueing his side’s defeat.

He lamented about his side’s lack of match fitness, having not played a single competitive game after the first-leg defeat, and their lack of cutting edge upfront.

“The results I think very clearly showed [we weren’t good enough]. I think there were a lot of factors but we don’t want to make excuses,” Manson said.

“Our boys had to keep training without playing football, and I think you saw it today our lack of sharpness upfront.

“Their goalkeeper (Yosuke Nozawa) made two outstanding saves in the second half, one off Misagh (Bahadoran) and one off Mark (Hartmann).

“A lot of that is down to rustiness, we lost a few balls and we didn’t take the opportunities we normally will be taking.

“I still feel our players showed they can play at this level. I’m still not happy with the result, but I am proud of the players. I think we did not have the easiest of situation.”

Global will now face Brunei DPMM in the third-place playoff, and he was unfazed by the challenge.

Instead, he revealed that he is seeking for revenge after receiving a mauling in the quarter-finals last year.

“Second half they tore us apart, I am certainly looking for the team to put in a performance we will be proud off this time around,” Manson stated.

“That second half still hurts a little bit even though we were missing our national team players.

“It will be a tough game. The final four are there because they are all good teams. So I don’t think at this stage you will expect an easy game.

“Hopefully we can have a good game, show that we can compete at this level, and I would be happy. I would like to finish the trip with a win.”