Spirited Warriors FC can overtake leaders DPMM
HOME UNITED v WARRIORS FC
(Tonight, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
It is easy to forget that Warriors FC are the most successful team in the history of the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.
They have eight league titles to their name, but the fallen giants have languished in the bottom half of the league for the last two years.
But, this season, Alex Weaver and his men are serious title contenders for the first time since 2009, when they last won the league.
Just two points behind leaders Brunei DPMM, the Warriors can put pressure on Steve Kean's side by beating old rivals Home United in a high-profile uniformed derby at the Jalan Besar Stadium tonight.
Weaver has got the Warriors remembering how to win and he insisted their resurgence is down to unity.
"We've got a good team with talented players, but more than that, we have a unique situation," said the Englishman.
"The team spirit we have is unlike anything I've seen before - and I've coached in the United States where they're all about camaraderie.
"We've got so many different personalities, but all contributing so well together, accepting what each other can and can't do."
The positivity in the camp was evident.
From Agu Casmir to Ismail Yunos to Nicolas Velez, the Warriors were joking among themselves after training at Jalan Besar on Wednesday.
Said midfielder Hafiz Rahim, who joined Warriors from Home at the end of last season: "We've brought in a lot of players, and now we've got a good blend of quality, experience, and youth.
"But more importantly, we're a very happy team, we're like a family here, and that will help us.
"In the first round, we lost (4-1), and drew (2-2) in the second. Hopefully, we can win this time."
Flashing a cheeky smile, he added: "I scored two goals against them in those two games, maybe this time I can get the winner."
The players stressed that they will not get caught up with the rivalry or their glorious past.
Instead, they are just focusing on the simple things, such as belief.
Said skipper Daniel Bennett: "We're not even thinking about that whole uniformed derby thing, it's not something that we've thought about for a while now - it's just about the league and us wanting to be relaxed and going out to win (tonight's) game.
"We have to stop thinking about that (winning the league).
"We've had many chances to go top, but didn't take them.
"But still, there's no reason we can't win it. We just have to relax and play the game that we play."
Weaver insisted that they will not be abandoning their attacking game against Home, who have averaged two goals a match.
He said: "We're very clear on what we're supposed to be doing - and if we get the execution right, we'll be good.
"It is important to get at them."
We are at the point where anything can happen. We have not given up yet as there are three more games.
- RODRIGO TOSI (BRUNEI DPMM)]
- KAZUKI SAKAMOTO (ALBIREX NIIGATA)
- GORAN LJUBOJEVIC (BALESTIER KHALSA)
- NICOLAS VELEZ (WARRIORS FC)
- GEISON MOURA (HOUGANG UNITED)
- ROY O'DONOVAN (BRUNEI DPMM)
- LEO FELICE (GEYLANG INT'L)
- DIEGO OLIVIERA (HOUGANG UNITED)
- MIROSLAV PEJIC (WARRIORS FC)
- FAZRUL NAWAZ (HOME UNITED)
A cut above the rest
HAIR'S THE DEAL: (Left to right) Warriors midfielder Hafiz Rahim, Sultans of Shave director and co-founder Lewis Lim, Warriors marketing and communications manager Samuel Tan and Warriors coach Alex Weaver at the signing ceremony on Wednesday.
Warriors FC have been playing good football as they hunt for the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title.
Now they will look sharper as they go on the prowl.
On Wednesday, the S.League club signed a one-year deal worth $25,000 with Sultans of Shave that will see them preened by the male grooming specialists.
Coach Alex Weaver, Hafiz Rahim, Tom Beattie and Shi Jiayi received Sultans' service and they were pleased with what they got.
Weaver's buzz cut is now matched with a well-trimmed beard.
"I'm always appreciative of professionalism regardless of the field of work, and it was excellent," he said after receiving a massage and shave. "I think my wife will definitely appreciate what they've done with me."