Singapore Premier League • August 23, 2014

Rafi Vows To Continue Title Assault


Written by: Khalis Rifhan

Despite surrendering the opportunity to overtake Brunei DPMM at the top of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League with their recent 1-0 loss to Tanjong Pagar United, Tampines Rovers coach Rafi Ali remains optimistic of their title defence with seven games to go.

Trailing the Bruneians by two points, the former Singapore international called for his players to claim the scalp of his former club and fellow title chasers in their next league match.

“We have to win (against Warriors FC) to fight for the championships including the rest of the games,” declared Rafi after their defeat to the Jaguars at the Clementi Stadium on Friday evening.

Although they walked away without a point, Tampines did not put on a miserable performance. They had their chances on goal but were denied on several occasions by Tanjong Pagar goalkeeper Aurelien Herisson.

“It is frustrating because we came with a gameplan but it did not happen. Sometimes we try and try but just can’t get the goal,” explained Rafi.

“I am disappointed we did not get the results but happy with the players attitude towards the game as they tried their best. Sometimes things don’t go your way but we must not stop fighting.”

The three points lifted the pressure on Tanjong Pagar coach Patrick Vallee after his side lost out to DPMM in the StarHub League Cup Final and coming into this match at the back of a defeat to Home United in the league.

“I am of course very happy. I play Tampines, (then) Geylang on Monday and Brunei (DPMM) next Saturday. I don’t care which team I play as I play to win. The team who want to win the title must win their game, it is not my problem,” said Vallee whose team are currently in ninth place in the league table.

“I give them one target and tonight they prove and showed everybody like those people who criticised Tanjong Pagar. I am very happy for my team and I need to congratulate them.”

For Vallee, despite enjoying only his fifth win of the league campaign, he was nevertheless pleased with his charges’ showing against the defending league champions.

“It is a good performance. We manage well against Tampines. Physically we can keep going until the end of the game.  But Tampines is still a good team, they challenge for the title and got seven more games to win.” added the Frenchman.