Relieved. Happy. Excited.
Those were the three words that Lion City Sailors defender Naqiuddin Eunos used to describe how he felt following the resumption of full training at the start of this month.
It’s no surprise that the 23-year-old feels so upbeat. After all, the Sailors had been unable to train together as a whole team for the past five months or so, due to the safety guidelines implemented by Singapore’s sports authorities.
While on-pitch training resumed in June, there were still several restrictions placed on clubs, such as being allowed to only train in groups of up to five.
And this, according to Naqiuddin, severely limited the type of drills the players could do.
“When we were training in groups of five, we had to follow certain protocols like not having any body contact, as well as not being able to train with goalkeepers,” Naqiuddin revealed. “So, we could only focus more on the technical aspect of training, like passing and shooting, but even then, only among the five of us, which is quite limiting.”
Now, however, Naqiuddin says they are able to do a whole lot more on the training ground.
“Now that the whole group is training together, there are many other things we can do,” he said. “We can start to work on our build-up play, and because we have 22 to 23 players, we can focus on playing style and team shape, as well as on the tactical aspect of the game.
“And honestly, it’s great. The intensity is much higher than before, but nobody’s complaining. This is what we’ve all been waiting for since April, when training was suspended, and we’re all so happy that it’s finally here. Now, the next thing everyone is looking forward to is for the league to restart.”
Naqiuddin’s enthusiastic response to the resumption of full training was echoed by fellow defender Kaishu Yamazaki.
The Japanese centre-back, however, admitted that it took some getting used to at the start, especially from a physical standpoint.
“We’ve waited a long time for full training so we’re very happy but physically, it was tough at first,” Kaishu said. “Usually when we were in groups of five, we had to do the same drills every day, but now, we can do everything in training, like practice shooting or play small-sided games.
“I did enjoy training with my group of five because they were all very nice and funny, and we trained well together. But it’s important for me now to be able to connect with my other centre-back partners so that we can get a better understanding with each other on the pitch.”