White Swans eye summit
Their intentions are clear. After finishing as second runners-up in the last two seasons, Albirex Niigata are confident that they can do even better in this Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League campaign.
New head coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama declared that it is time for the Japanese outfit to win the title.
"The young players have a lot of energy and are very skilled. My task is to get them to play as one team, that will be harder," he said.
The club have drafted in a host of new players this season and the average age of the team is 22, but Okuyama believes the White Swans have what it takes to make their mark.
He singled out striker Kazuki Sakamoto - retained from last season - as a potential star of the season and main outlet for goals.
Okuyama, who was part of the coaching staff last season before taking over from Koichi Sugiyama, is familiar with Sakamoto and his playing style.
Said Okuyama: "He has always been a very good striker and I hope he can improve his goalscoring record for us and the fans this season."
Sakamoto was their top scorer from last season, finding the net 14 times.
Fans of the Jurong East Stadium outfit will hope the 23-year-old can do even better this time around.
Sakamoto said: "I think I did well last season, but, of course, like any other player, I want to improve.
"Let's see if I can do better."
Albirex chairman Daisuke Korenaga recently announced that he expects the White Swans to finish top and there is confidence in the air.
Always technically astute and fit, the Japanese team constantly revamp their squad with young faces every season, and the trick is for them to gel quickly.
Okuyama knows that, but he added: "To win, you need to attack. So we plan to focus our play more on our attacking game and get our fans more excited."