Exactly a month after their last Singapore Premier League (SPL) game – a hard-fought 3-1 win over the Young Lions – the Lion City Sailors will return to league action once again, when they take on Brunei DPMM in a rescheduled game on Tuesday (18 June) night.

With the return to training of several key Sailors such as Hariss Harun and Christopher van Huizen from the recent international break, Aleksandar Ranković’s charges have ramped up their preparations for the DPMM game over the past few days.

Sailors midfielder Adam Swandi revealed that the whole team is eagerly anticipating the restart of the league, and urged his teammates to build on their winning start to the season.

“Everyone in the team has been training very hard, even during the international break. Now, with the (Singapore) national team boys back, we’ve intensified our preparations, and all of us are raring to get back on the pitch to show what we can do,” said the 28-year-old. 

Unfortunately for Adam, he was not among the six Sailors who were called up to the Lions for the recent international break.

While admitting it was slightly ‘disheartening’ not to receive a call-up, he is determined to channel that frustration into motivation, as he looks to drive the Sailors forward in their pursuit of the title.

“Playing for the national team is the highest honour for a footballer, so I’m definitely disappointed on that front,” Adam said. “But I’m going to work hard to show my abilities whenever I’m on the pitch, and the aim is really to put up good performances to help the team get the results we need.”

While the Sailors have delivered a series of strong performances this season, they will likely be tested by a reinvigorated DPMM side featuring a new foreign attacking trio — Miguel Oliveira, Julio Cruz, and Gabriel Gama — along with homegrown sensation Hakeme Yazid.

Nonetheless, Sailors Head Coach Ranko has backed his players to rise up to the challenge.

“We’ve watched and analysed DPMM’s first two matches (2-1 and 4-1 victories over Young Lions and Albirex Niigata (S) respectively). They’ve improved a lot from last season, and the foreigners they brought in are real quality. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m confident that our boys have the ability to get the victory.”

There might be a new face in the Sailors’ line-up for their match against DPMM, as forward Lennart Thy could potentially make his debut.

With fans eager to see what Lennart will bring to the team, Adam has reassured them that the German is a quality addition and believes he will make a positive difference this season.

“Lennart has been training with the team for two weeks now, and he’s been a great addition on and off the pitch,” said Adam. “Everyone can agree that he’s a goalscoring machine – he can score with his left foot, right foot and with his head. I’m sure with every small chance he gets, he can convert and help us win matches. 

“We’re all excited to work with a player of his calibre. All of us have been helping him as much as possible to integrate into the team and I’m sure he’ll be someone that can light up the league – and hopefully that starts against DPMM.

“We all recognise how important this game against DPMM is. They are also on a good run of form and will likely contest for the title, so we’ll need to put up a dominant performance to get all three points.”