Singapore Premier League • June 8, 2014

Rafi Proud Of Lads Despite Defeat


Written By: Kenneth Ho

It was his first defeat since taking over the reins at Tampines Rovers, but coach Rafi Ali was not fussed by the Stags’ 1-0 loss to Geylang International at Jalan Besar on Friday evening.

“If you go into coaching, and if you are scare of defeat, then you better don’t coach,“ Rafi said. “This is part and parcel of coaching. Yeah it’s my first defeat but okay.”

“Honestly, I am very proud of these boys, they played their hearts out and we had a few chances, I cannot ask for more and I told them if they can continue playing like this I told them they can get a result.”

The game saw Tampines starting all three of its latest foreign acquisitions, with Jozef Kaplan, Jake Butler and Justin Pasfield taking to the pitch for their debut with the Stags.

All three arguably had a decent outing, although Pasfield will want to forget about his blunder in the 85th minute which saw him drop a Yuki Ichikawa cross into his own net and undo all his good work earlier in the game.

However, Rafi was pleased with what he saw from this debutants, and waved off Pasfield’s mistake.

“Not only these three players (played well today), but all the players that played today. We were dominating the game but you need to score goals to win. With these three players, we can only get better,” Rafi asserted.

“We are all humans and we make mistakes, so we learn from this,” Rafi went on, before adding that Pasfield had apologised for his error and that the issue was over as far as the coach was concerned.

Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner felt that the win was well-deserved, even though the Eagles had enjoyed a bit of luck to do so.

“Defensively we had a game plan and we made life difficult. That’s what we did in the last two months. At the end of day, we work on what we have,” Steinebrunner explained.

“When the goal came in, I would say it was a stroke of luck, but we worked very hard and in football sometimes you make your luck. If we didn’t work so hard maybe it would have been 3-0 for Tampines.”

The match also saw Geylang goalkeeper Siddiq Durimi put in a good shift, as he continuously repelled Tampines’ attacks.

While Steinebrunner acknowledged that Siddiq did produce some tremendous saves in the win, he was keen to reiterate that the result was still achieved due to the team effort on display.

“I think for me it was always a team effort. A game like this sometimes it may be decided by one player but we need the whole team to do this,” Steinebrunner added.