Singapore hopeful of top-12 finish at World Floorball Championship
Republic eyeing historic top-12 finish at World Floorball C'ship after being drawn into easier group
A favourable draw has given Singapore the belief that they can achieve a top-12 finish - which would be their best showing - at the World Floorball Championship (WFC) in Helsinki, Finland, in December.
Their greatest obstacle to that lies not in the bigger or tougher opponents at the 16-team competition, but themselves, said Singapore coach Lim Jin Quan.
The Republic, ranked world No. 16, were drawn in Group D, along with Australia (13), Canada (11) and Japan (17) earlier this week, avoiding the likes of Slovakia (9) and Poland (12), who are in Group C.
"I believe the team are on track to top the group, our biggest enemy will be ourselves," Lim told The New Paper.
The top two teams from their group qualify for the play-offs for the quarter-finals and are assured of a top-12 finish.
The Republic had finished bottom under the current one-division format in 1996 (out of 12 teams), 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018 (all out of 16 teams).
Their new-found optimism stems from their recent record against their group-stage opponents.
They had beaten Japan 9-5 and drawn 4-4 with Canada at the 2018 WFC in the Czech Republic. They also lost to Australia by just a single goal - 7-6 - in a friendly here last month.
While also optimistic of an improvement, captain Syazni Ramlee was quick to add: "The Australia game was just a friendly, so we can't really draw much conclusions from that.
"I also don't want us to be complacent because we don't know what is in store from Canada and Japan for this upcoming WFC."
Lim also noted that the team struggled previously against Australia and Canada, although that was not reflected in the scorelines.
"Our preparation to play in a different climate and ability to fight as a team will definitely be put to the test," he said.
The 27-year-old, who had advocated a team ethic since taking over from Finn Matti Joutsikoski last year, had led Singapore to the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup and a silver medal in the SEA Games.
The team have been working on their fitness, in the build- up to the biennial showpiece from Dec 4-12.
In view of the coronavirus outbreak, they have also been taking precautions during training, such as temperature taking, observing of personal hygiene and cleaning of equipment.
Singapore were close to a top-12 finish at the WFC in Prague two years ago. But they eventually missed out on goal difference after an 18-2 trouncing by Slovakia in their final group match, which allowed Canada to pip them to second spot.
Entering his fifth WFC, Syazni believes the team just need to show consistency throughout the campaign to write their names in the history books.
Said the 28-year-old: "If we really work hard and put the right mindset into it, maybe going above 12th is really possible. It's a really open group.
"We just need to have the consistency in our performance throughout the competition.
"If we can execute this, the process towards the end product will be evident."