Play hard, get result

The Lions being put through their paces at the National Stadium yesterday. Coach Tatsuma Yoshida admits there is "not enough time" to implement his ideas, but captain Hariss Harun has noticed subtle changes.
The Lions being put through their paces at the National Stadium yesterday. Coach Tatsuma Yoshida admits there is "not enough time" to implement his ideas, but captain Hariss Harun has noticed subtle changes.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

What new Lions coach Yoshida wants in tonight's friendly against Solomon Islands

With just four training sessions before his first game in charge - today's friendly against the Solomon Islands - 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 Japanese is not worried. At yesterday's pre-match press conference at Hotel Miramar, 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 tonight's game, Singapore skipper Hariss Harun has already noticed subtle differences.

The 28-year-old defensive midfielder 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."

SETTING THE TONE

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

TATSUMA YOSHIDA, Singapore coach, wants a positive start to his new job. 

World No. 160 Singapore will play the Solomon Islands (139th) and Myanmar (140th) 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) 1-1 before losing on penalties.

"That being said, they are not miles away from us. We have done well to play attacking football and score goals recently.Hariss said: "We don't know much about the Solomon Islands but we respect the fact they are ranked higher than us.

"We have the players to try and continue 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 home-ground advantage count."

In yesterday's session, the Lions focused on passing drills before a two-sided game in the hour-long, closed-door workout at the National Stadium. It is understood that Yoshida could deploy his men in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

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

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."

• Tickets are available at the stadium or online via fas.org.sg/tickets

READ MORE: More to coaching than speaking the right language. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Play hard, get result'. Print Edition | Subscribe