Jaslee happy to lead by example

Balestier Khalsa defender Jaslee Hatta has no problems being the oldest head in the Tigers dressing room and is hoping to lead his younger team-mates by example.

Balestier Khalsa vs DPMM FC: Jaslee Hatta

By Gabriel Tan

Jaslee is currently part of a Balestier team that have enjoyed an excellent start to the 2012 Great Eastern-YEO's S.League season and at the halfway stage of the campaign, they are currently sixth on the table.

The 30-year-old was one of several players who followed coach Darren Stewart to Balestier at the start of the season after the Australian tactician took over at the Toa Payoh Stadium, and despite being a new face at the club, Jaslee admits he has not been afraid to be a leader in the dressing room.

"I think being one of the oldest, in fact the oldest, the players look up to me," Jaslee told ESPNSTAR.com in an exclusive interview. "I have to step up a notch and behave more professionally.

"It's been good, even though we've had a lot of players come over from Gombak. It's still a new club for many of us, we've had to get used to our new team-mates but it's been good so far."

After a storming to the season, the Tigers faded a little towards the end of the first round after a number of key players were hit by injury, including centre-back Goran Subara and anchorman Ridwan Jamil.

However, Jaslee believes Balestier have plenty in reserve although he admits it is key they keep the fringle players motivated to make an impact whenever they get called upon.

"The spirit in the dressing room is still high, but we now have to push the reserve players to step up and fill in for the first XI," he added. "We have enough cover and hopefully they will be up for it in the second round.

"What I'm trying to do is help the reserves feel good about themselves and to enjoy the trainings and games. Hopefully I can get the best out of them."

And while the former Singapore international is still most comfortable playing in the heart of defence, he has been happy to play a role at full-back considering the good form centre-backs Subara and Cunningham have shown, highlighting his constant desire to put the team above his own interests.

"I still prefer to play in the middle but considering the fact we have Goran and Paul, I don't mind playing wherever I can contribute to the team," he admitted.

It doesn't get any easier for the Tigers as they restart their campaign with a tricky home game against second-placed Home United.

However, Jaslee believes his side have actually done alright when playing against tougher opposition, and is hoping they will be able to record victories in games which they are expected to win.

"We are definitely confident we can get a result against Home United," he insisted. "When we played them in the first round, they didn't have Qiu Li and John Wilkinson, but we were also only starting to gel.

"Hopefully we can get three points from the game. We've won several important games, but we need to concentrate on the type of games where we should have gotten the three points but didn't.

"We originally wanted to finish in the top three or four and that remains our target."

Balestier have made three additions to their squad ahead of the second round of the season in Fathi Yunus, Ridhwan Jamaludin and Anatha Rajan.

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