News Singapore Premier League • January 28, 2021

Tampines Rovers undaunted by tough AFC Champions League draw


Tampines Rovers in 2020


SINGAPORE, 28 JANUARY 2021 – Tampines Rovers are relishing the prospect of competing at Asian club football’s highest level this April.


The Stags will make their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) debut later this year and were handed a tough draw yesterday after being grouped with A-League champions Sydney FC, K League 1 and Korean FA Cup champions Jeonbuk Hyundai and J1 League runners-up Gamba Osaka in Group H.


However, the 2020 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) runners-up, who will become Singapore’s first representatives in the ACL group stages since Singapore Armed Forces FC competed in 2010, are looking forward to testing themselves against the region’s best.


Captain Yasir Hanapi said on the club’s social media platforms: “I think it’s a good draw. Even though our opponents in the group are very strong, we are looking forward to the challenge. It will be a good gauge of where we stand. We are not going in to make up the numbers but we are going in to compete and to try to win.”



Head Coach Gavin Lee added: “It’s very exciting and we can look forward to three interesting games against top quality opponents from three different countries. We will look to capitalise on the opponent’s weaknesses and aim to win. The players are all excited to showcase their talents on the biggest stage in Asia. You can really see it on the training ground. Since we started pre-season training, the attitude has been fantastic and everyone has been putting in extra effort. Everybody sees the big picture and everybody wants to improve for the big stage.”



Tampines chairman Desmond Ong told The Straits Times: “There are no easy draws for us at this level, and we want to pit ourselves against the best. We want to carry on the process we started and play in the Champions League year after year. Nobody gave Denmark a chance at Euro 92 too. All we can promise is we will do our best.”


Veteran centre-back Baihakki Khaizan also weighed in with a simple “I love big games” on his social media platforms.



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A post shared by Baihakki Khaizan (


Tampines is part of the East Zone group stage, which will be played from 21 April to 7 May. The teams will play in a double round-robin format at a centralised venue, which has yet to be confirmed.


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