Singapore football coach Sundram begins work

New Lions coach rallies players as he gives a glimpse of team's style of play

"I spoke to them and told them we are all together, and we need to work with one another. The most important thing is the team." — National coach V Sundramoorthy (above)

He described his appointment as a dream come true.

But it was very much business as usual for new national coach V Sundramoorthy yesterday, as he took his first training session with the Lions following the announcement of his appointment a day earlier.

He arrived two hours before training was scheduled to start at the Geylang Field and, after a quick drink at the coffeshop next door, got down to work.

The 50-year-old held a briefing with his coaching team as the players started to stream in.

After emerging from his conference, Sundram made it a point to go round the facility to shake hands with each player.

His main message to the squad was that everyone was valuable in his eyes.

"This is a good bunch of boys who are willing to work hard," he told The New Paper, later.

"I spoke to them and told them we are all together, and we need to work with one another.

"The most important thing is the team."

The squad were also greeted by Football Association of Singapore bigwigs Lim Kia Tong (vice-president), Winston Lee (general secretary) and Michel Sablon (technical director), with Lim delivering a short message of encouragement to the team before training started.

When it was time to get to work, the players strapped on heart-rate monitors and then had their first experience of working with new fitness coach Balder Berckmans, who helped them work up a sweat.

Then, they started working with the ball, with Sundram urging his men to play crisp passes in one drill, before carrying out a two-sided possession exercise.

PHILOSOPHY

It was clear this would be the philosophy adopted by the new Lions boss.

Said Sundram: "Fitness is one part of the game.

"The other, and to me most important, is keeping possession of the ball.

"If we lose the ball cheaply, that's when problems come.

"Right now, the boys are in season, so generally their fitness levels are okay.

"But, leading up to the Suzuki Cup, I think we need more centralised training sessions and camps to get it up another level."

He told TNP in an interview after his appointment at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday that he has made plans to take the team on training camps overseas in preparation for November's Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, with the Middle East and Japan possible destinations.

The Suzuki Cup, which will be co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines, will be Sundram's biggest test and he has set the Lions a semi-final target.

Singapore had a dismal outing the last time round under Sundram's predecessor Bernd Stange, as they were knocked out in the opening group stage on home soil in a sorry defence of the title they won in 2012.

Sundram vouched for the current crop of Lions.

"I just need the boys to stay focused and understand what we want in training, and transfer that into games," he said.

"If we can do that, we'll be okay."

  • Sundram's Lions will be playing in the AYA Bank Cup, an international quadrangular tournament, in Myanmar from June 3 to 6. The squad leave for Yangon on Wednesday, and play the hosts on Friday. Depending on results, Singapore will then play either Hong Kong or Vietnam on June 6.

It's beers (& babes) galore

BeerFest Asia is back with more than 500 varieties of beers and ciders, and performances by international tribute bands. You get to meet The New Paper Beer Babes there too. We suss out the five ambassadors

1.SINGHA

Ziyi Kuek, 26

She is a skate instructor and a freelance model, who also blogs and does graphic design occasionally.

The winner of Miss Bride of the World Singapore 2012 aims to run her own business one day.

She says:"Go for what you believe in, regardless of your age. You are never too young to do what you want."

2. TIGER

Venetia Lim, 24

The first runner-up of Turf Club's Turf Belle Search 2015 describes herself as a social butterfly, who loves interacting with people.

A travel enthusiast, she visits places around the world to experience different cultures and scenery and various types of cuisine.

She says: "I am a people person. I hardly stay at home, I much prefer to go out and interact with people."

3. DESPERADOS

Ingelica Lee, 22

She broke three teeth, cut her lip and had stitches, yet she still competed in a dance competition the next day.

A student by day, this seasoned competitive dancer is also an undergraduate a dance and fitness teacher by night.

She says: "Think of yourself as limitless. If there is anything that is worth a shot, give it a shot.

4. DRAFT DENMARK LAGER BEER

Clarissa Tan, 18

She may be the youngest, but the model is definitely a familiar face.

A newly signed deejay, Clarissa enjoys electronic dance music and will make her debut next month under Altra Management.

She says: "Opportunities don't come unless I work for it."

5. STRONGBOW 
APPLE CIDER

Jolene Teo, 21

The Temasek Polytechnic graduate enjoys adventure sports like jet skiing, parasailing and sky diving.

She usually joins her family for hiking at Bukit Timah on weekends.

She says: "Once I set my mind on something, I am determined to do it If I fail, I will try even harder."

Tags: Beerfest Asia and babes

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