Football: Yoshida not worried about his lack of familiarity with the Lions ahead of Solomon Islands friendly

(From left) Singapore captain Hariss Harun, Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida, Solomon Islands coach Wim Rijsbergen and his captain Benjamin Totori posing at the pre-match press conference on Friday (June 7).
(From left) Singapore captain Hariss Harun, Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida, Solomon Islands coach Wim Rijsbergen and his captain Benjamin Totori posing at the pre-match press conference on Friday (June 7).ST PHOTO: DAVID LEE

SINGAPORE - With just four training sessions before his first game in charge - an international friendly against the Solomon Islands on Saturday (June 8) - Singapore's new national football coach Tatsuma Yoshida admitted there is "not enough time" to fully implement his ideas and philosophy.

However, the 44-year-old said he is not worried. At the pre-match press conference at Hotel Miramar on Friday, he added: "My guys are working hard, and they have good motivation.

"It is my first game and although it is a friendly, it is important for us to play hard and get a good result."

Despite having limited time with Yoshida before tomorrow's game, Singapore skipper Hariss Harun is already noticing the subtle differences.

The 28-year-old said: "He is more in-depth in terms of the finer details when it comes to supporting our team-mates, and things like the angle of the pass, where to pass and where to move.

"It is not that previous coaches didn't work on these things but we spend more time with the new coach on such details as we try to find options to get out of tight situations we will find ourselves in during games."

World No. 160 Singapore will play the 139th-ranked Solomon Islands on Saturday and 140th-ranked Myanmar on Tuesday at the National Stadium but they also have their eye on maintaining their unbeaten run to secure more ranking points for a better seeding in next month's World Cup qualifying draw.

 
 
 
 

In the last international football window, the Lions beat Malaysia (168th) 1-0 and held Oman (86th) to a 1-1 draw before losing on penalties.

Hariss said: "We don't know much about the Solomon Islands but we respect the fact they are ranked higher than us.

"That being said, they are not miles away from us. We have done well to play attacking football and score goals recently. We have the players to try and continue on this way and against teams that are around our level, we have to play more positively and score more.

"We are happy to play at the National Stadium and we have to make our homeground advantage count."

But the Solomon Islands - comprising footballers who mostly play for semi-professional teams in their home country or Fiji - will not be sitting ducks, after a three-week training stint in the Netherlands where they played against local amateur sides as preparation for the Pacific Games in July.

Solomon Islands coach Wim Rijsbergen, a two-time World Cup finalist with Holland and former Indonesia coach, said: "We had a good camp and hopefully we can give a good game.

"I can't tell you much (about how we play) but we have worked hard. Hopefully we can see the results against Singapore and there will be a surprise in our favour."

His captain Benjamin Totori added: "I have watched clips of Singapore on YouTube and we know it's going to be a tough game. We beat Chinese Taipei 1-0 in March and Macau 4-1 last year, we are confident we can keep winning in Asia."