Crucial time for Balestier and Geylang players to shine
|GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL||BALESTIER KHALSA|
Eliminated from the RHB Singapore Cup and out of contention for the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League title, Geylang International and Balestier Khalsa's seasons are as good as over.
But, the coaches of both teams stressed that there is still plenty for their charges to play for when the two teams meet at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday (Sept 9).
Geylang's Noor Ali said the final stretch of games is exactly when the players must shine, in order to secure their future.
Said the former national winger: "At the end of the day, the players are looking for contracts for next year.
"So their performance in the last few games is very important."
Added Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic: "The players know that they have to perform if they want better contracts next season.
"For us as a club as well, we are hoping we can finish above Brunei DPMM (who are eighth in the table, one place below Balestier)."
Both teams will enter tomorrow's game on the back of improved performances.
Apart from two losses to league leaders Albirex Niigata, Geylang have won five and drawn three matches since Noor Ali took over the reins of the first team from Hasrin Jailani in June.
Balestier, meanwhile, have lost just one of their last five matches in all competitions, also to Albirex.
Said Noor Ali: "To me, the team have been progressing well.
"Players like Gabriel (Quak), Victor (Coto) and Ricardo (Sendra) have all stepped up and taken on more responsibilities in games.
"We are fifth now, and I think it's still possible to move up the table.
"But, in order to do that, we have to take points from some very important games this month against Balestier, Warriors and Home."
Kraljevic is also encouraged by his side's run, during which he saw more maturity from his young charges.
"We scored first against (title-chasing) Home United, then Warriors, then DPMM, but could not hang on to the lead," said the German-born Croat.
"Of course it's frustrating, but we have one of the youngest teams in the S.League and not being able to keep our lead was down to inexperience.
"But, I feel we are making progress.
"We are starting to score goals and, to me, the more you play, the better you get."
- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ