Football: Stags missing key men Webb and Megumi for Asian Champions League qualifier against Bali

Tampines Rovers player Jordan Webb will not be playing in the Asian Champions League qualifier because of an ankle injury.
Tampines Rovers player Jordan Webb will not be playing in the Asian Champions League qualifier because of an ankle injury.PHOTO: ST FILE

S-League football club Tampines Rovers will enter their important Asian Champions League qualifying play-off against Indonesian side Bali United at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium on Tuesday (Jan 16) without their two imports-cum-wingers.

Canadian Jordan Webb, 29, is sidelined with an ankle injury while Japanese speedster Ryutaro Megumi, 24, is nursing a knock to his knee.

Tampines coach Jurgen Raab, who is German, told The Straits Times: "We were told by the doctor that Jordan is out for two weeks and Megu is out for four.

"It is like Bayern Munich without (Franck) Ribery and (Arjen) Robben. Both players with high quality and it is not easy to replace both.

"We also have a few local players unavailable so we will travel to Indonesia with just 16 players.

"But we will not lament. We will not say we have no chance. That is wrong.

"We have a good team, but we must replace two very important players. Our target is still to go into the next round."

The injuries to Webb and Megumi mean Tampines will have to overcome Bali with an all-local team.

Tuesday's match is the first of three hurdles Tampines have to clear if they hope to become the first Singapore club to compete in the Asian Champions League group stage since SAFFC (now known as Warriors FC) in 2010.

If the Stags overcome Bali, Thai side Chiangrai United await in the next play-off match.

The winners will then face Chinese side Shanghai SIPG, who boast Brazilian stars Hulk and Oscar.

Raab admitted that the Stags do not know much of their opponents, who finished runners-up in the Indonesian domestic league last season because of their weaker head-to-head record with champions Bhayangkara.

But, for Tampines skipper Mustafic Fahrudin, the match will be a chance for him to catch up with some familiar faces.

The 36-year-old played for three years in Indonesia, first for Persija Jakarta and then Persela Lamongan.

Fahrudin was at Persija when current Bali and Indonesia national team star Irfan Bachdim went for trials at the club in 2010. He also played alongside Bali midfielder I Gede Sukadana at Persela.

Said the Singapore international: "We know Bali are a really strong team. They lost their top scorer (37-goal Dutchman Sylvano Comvalius joined Thai club Suphanburi), but they brought in (naturalised Montenegrin striker) Ilija Spasojevic as a capable replacement.

"I played there for three years so I know it'll be tough, and we have to be ready to get physical.

"They are definitely the favourites given our problems and also because they are playing at home, but we will go there without pressure.

"We have shown in our pre-season games so far that we are quite organised at the back and can score some good goals... We will go there to compete."