Team Singapore

Wilson vows to cut down LionsXII

He is under pressure from his coach to deliver.

And Felda United's Liberian international striker Edward Wilson is aiming to do just that when his team host the LionsXII in a Malaysian Super League (MSL) clash tonight at the Selayang Stadium.

He wants his message to be loud and clear ­- by scoring a hat-trick against Fandi Ahmad's men.

Speaking to The New Paper after the team's training session in Bangi yesterday evening, Wilson (above) said: "Tomorrow is a big match for us and we need the three points. We are playing at home, so I'm confident.

"I know the LionsXII defence has not been doing well. My target tomorrow is to get a hat-trick."

Wilson grabbed the headlines last year after he fired Felda into the MSL by scoring 19 goals as the team finished runners-up in the second-tier Malaysian Premier League.

This term, he has scored twice and is the team's joint-top goalscorer, with Zambian-born Australian Ndumba Makeche and local striker Ahmad Syamim.

But Felda coach Irfan Bakti is not convinced Wilson is anywhere near the top of his game.

"For me, Wilson hasn't impressed," said the coach.

"In fact, I've warned him to buck up or I'll replace him in the mid-season transfer window.

"I told both him and Makeche to prove themselves against the LionsXII.

"They are there for the taking.

"Their players may be national players, but they are still considered 'locals' to us. And when you're an imported striker, you need to show why you are a level or two above the locals."

The experienced Irfan insisted he was not taking the Singapore side lightly.

Indeed, he downplayed his side's position - second in the MSL standings - pointing out that they had yet to play any of the traditional big guns.

"There's no secret," added the 63-year-old coach.

"I just like my teams to attack. Yes, we have scored eight goals in three games. But we could have very easily conceded eight in those games, as well.

"I have told my players to be wary of the LionsXII. Khairul Amri is definitely the man to watch, but I've noticed that this year's team rely more on teamwork than individual talent.

"To be honest, I was shocked they beat PDRM 5-3 even at home, and managed to draw 2-2 away at Perak.

"You can tell their players have a never-say-die attitude, and I think Fandi has prepared them well this season."

- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ