Singapore Premier League • August 1, 2014

Rafi’s Faith In Players Pays Off


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Tampines Rovers’ latest 2-0 win over Woodlands Wellington means that they have drawn level with league leaders Brunei DPMM in the table, and they would be hoping the Bruneians lose points against Hougang United on Sunday.

Just when everyone thought it was a mountain to climb for the Stags at one point of the season, coach Rafi Ali has now successfully accomplished what he had promised – showing their true colours as title challengers.

“I am very happy tonight and so are the boys,” the delighted gaffer started off.

“I have always had the belief in my boys that they can play and get valuable points. We have finally reached a point where we are sharing points with DPMM.

“This was the aim as I had always been confident that we can close the gap.”

The former Tampines skipper then mentioned that he was not expecting an easy game but was hungry for the win.

“We play every game with three points in the back of heads but playing away is not easy,” he expressed.

“Today I am proud to say that my boys controlled the entire game and kept the ball very well.

“We came with a motive and my players did what they were supposed to. The whole team was fighting and moved the ball around well while utilising the space.”

His former boss and current counterpart, Salim Moin, was more contented than displeased after the defeat, although the tactician admitted that a positive result would have given his team a huge pack of confidence.

“I am a little bit disappointed that we could not gain anything out of this game,” the Woodlands coach shared.

“There were a few individual errors in defending and communication. The players should understand and be aware of the happenings because they already know their roles and responsibility.

“They have to be certain with the chances they get. When they are not sure, they cannot score. Certain players were hiding when we had possession of the ball.”

Salim believed that an equaliser was something not far away as his side did create chances.

“It was possible because after that we were controlling the game. We defended well but lacked in terms of ideas,” he stated.

However, despite the defeat in the hands of his former club, the former national player decided to look at the positives.

“Overall I am satisfied with the team performance,” he praised.

“My tactics and formation is working out now. When we have possession, we are having numbers to support. My players were confident and willing to shoot and I could see players wanting and asking for the ball.”