Singapore Premier League • May 25, 2014

Rafi: “My Team Dedicates Win To Hyrulnizam”


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Tampines Rovers have finally claimed their first win of the season after Rafi Ali’s appointment as head coach, as they narrowly defeated Courts Young Lions 2-1.

Rafi’s face had smiles written all over it, as he praised his charges for their ‘attitude and commitment.’

“It was not an easy game for us because Courts Young Lions is a team with good future and they did not make things easy for us,” Rafi beamed.

“They are preparing for the SEA Games and have the spirit and power. All they need is a little bit more of composure.”

The gaffer was also delighted that his players will feel less pressured after this win.

“The most important thing for my players is the load in their shoulder.

“They were in tremendous pressure to perform well because in Tampines, it is not always about winning, it is about performing with style.

“I hope they can get this off their shoulders and start focusing.”

Rafi also looked forward to the rest of the season, as Tampines have now reduced the gap between them and league leaders Brunei DPMM to six points.

The ex-international also mentioned that his side dedicated the win to goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at, who is expected to be out for two months due to an injury which he has been carrying for some time.

“I salute him because he has been suffering a lump on his back for up to five months and still desires to play every game,” Rafi shared.

“I am pleased with his attitude and commitment because he has been playing with the pain all these while.”

Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar believed that the first half performance of his side let his team down.

“We experienced a very bad first half but the second half was much better. We conceded two easy goals which we should not have; it is unfortunate that we lost.”

However, the ex-national skipper spared some praise for his charges.

“My boys gave everything and they tried their best, it is a pity that we could not get the equaliser against an experienced team,” Aide said.

“But I do not want to give any excuses because at the end of the day, I take responsibility since the team did not do well.”

Aide also mentioned that he foresees progression in the developmental side.

“We have been scoring frequently except for the Balestier Khalsa game. We also played very well against Hougang United and Home United.”