Selvaraj plots Warriors return to summit

V. Selvaraj believes it is time his Warriors FC side reclaim their place as Singapore's top side in the 2013 Great Eastern-YEO's S.League campaign.

The SAFFC veterans hoist the trophy aloft!

By Gabriel Tan

With eight league titles and four Singapore Cups to their name, the Warriors remain a significant distance ahead of the chasing pack as Singaporean football's most-decorated club.

However, they have now gone three years without being crowned S.League champions, viewed by many as a real drought given their illustrious past, and the task of ending that barren run has now fallen on the shoulders of Selvaraj, who took over the reins from Richard Bok at the end of last season.

Admitting that a return to the glory days of the past is way overdue, the ex-Singapore international reveals he will not settle for anything less than a spot in the top three this season, a marked improvement from last season's disappointing seventh-place finish.

"My aim is definitely for us to finish in the top three," he said. "If not, I don't think I would have taken this job or be participating in the S.League as a coach.

"We are Warriors FC - we have to always look to achieve something. If you ask me, we must win.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself but I don't want the pressure to be on the players; I'll soak it all in and let them relax and enjoy the game. But along the way, it's important for us to win titles.

"We have to get back on track as we have been missing in action for quite a while. We may have won the Singapore Cup last season but the league matters a lot.

"We have been there before so we can be there again. It's about time we did just that."

The Warriors will get their first chance for silverware when they take on league champions Tampines Rovers in Friday's Charity Shield clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

And although a win over the Stags, regarded by many as one of the frontrunners for the title this season, would come as a welcome boost, Selvaraj insists he is fully focused on the bigger picture - next Thursday's S.League campaign opener against Woodlands Wellington.

"We are gradually getting ready for the new season and I can't say we are there yet," he conceded. "All the preparation that has been done has not just been to get them ready for one game.

"Of course every game is important, even the Charity Shield, because we are doing something for charity. But the S.League season starts next week and that is even more important.

"It's definitely going to be a fight from the first minute [against Tampines]. They are also a good team but every strong team also have their weaknesses.

"We too have our weaknesses and my main concern is that we survive game by game and take it one game at a time. We want to have a positive attitude and get something to give us a boost so that we can look forward to the start of the season."

While the Choa Chu Kang Stadium outfit have not had the best of results in their pre-season, which included a tour of Thailand, their coach reveals he is delighted with their overall build-up to the 2013 campaign.

"I'm definitely pleased with what the boys have shown so far in pre-season and I'm very happy," he added.

"There are so many things I can praise them for - their professionalism, discipline, attitude, the communication they have shown - these were the things I was really focusing more on.

"We are definitely looking to peak at the right time. In terms of preparation, I'm very happy and everybody is very positive."

Although a significant number of last season's side have been retained, there will be a number of new faces at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium this year, including ex-LIONSXII striker Sufian Anuar, former Home United captain Shi Jiayi and marquee signing Kazuyuki Toda, who played for Japan at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.



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