With one draw and one loss, it would be fair to say that the Lion City Sailors did not enjoy the best of starts to this season’s Singapore Premier League (SPL).
Before the Sailors could bounce back, the SPL was suspended, with no football action for close to seven months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now the SPL is set for a restart. And so are the Sailors, according to goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.
With the Sailors set to play their first match of the league restart on Oct 18 against Geylang International, the 36-year-old shot-stopper claims that everyone in the team is ready to start afresh after their disappointing opening two games.
“Everyone of us have been waiting for months for the league to restart, and now that it’s here, we are all excited and cannot wait to get back on the pitch to play competitive football matches again,” said Hassan.
“Unfortunately, the team didn’t get off to the best of starts to the season. But we have been working hard throughout the past few months to ensure that we are in the best of shape for the league restart because we are all determined to do better.”
Hassan added that he has seen an “improvement” in the cohesiveness of the team, with the players now more attuned to head coach Aurelio Vidmar’s footballing philosophy and tactics.
“I’ve definitely seen our team cohesiveness improve since the start of the season,” said Hassan. “All of us are focused on getting our season back on track, and I’m happy to say that preparation has been good so far.
“The boys have all been putting in their 100 per cent effort during training, and we are all feeling positive ahead of the league restart. I have full confidence in the team and the coaches to achieve our goals this season.”
One of the reasons for Hassan’s confidence stems from the Sailors’ capture of hotshot striker Stipe Plazibat, who joined the club at the start of last month.
When asked whether Plazibat – who has to date recorded an incredible 54 goals in 70 SPL matches – has managed to get the better of him in goal yet, Hassan laughed, and revealed that both he and the Croatian striker would always challenge each other during training.
“I always compete with him (Plazibat) during training!” said Hassan. “He will try to score and of course, I will try to stop him from doing so. We always challenge each other to do better, and this competitiveness has helped both of us improve as players.
“But so far, he’s adapted very well with the group because many of us already know him. He’s no stranger to the league, and he will definitely be a huge asset for us this season.”
Nonetheless, while Hassan is brimming with confidence for the restart of the league, he is aware that their upcoming game against Geylang – with a record of two wins and a loss so far – will be anything but a walk in the park.
He explained: “We all know that Geylang are a very difficult team to beat. They have players who will fight till the final whistle. All of them are willing to put their bodies on the line, so we will have to be at our best to beat them. But I’m sure that if we perform to how I know we can, we can get the victory.”