| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC head coach Steve Kean expressed his satisfaction after returning from a pre-season tour in Bangkok, Thailand, with an unbeaten record ahead of their S League opener against Home United FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on March 3.
The Gegar Gegar men remained unbeaten during the pre-season preparations after concluding the tour with four draws against a host of Thai clubs.
“The type of games that you get in Thailand are obviously very competitive,” said Kean in an interview with the Bulletin after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium on Monday.
“We went there two years ago and we went on to win the title so like I said a number of times last season we didn’t feel that we’ve had a good start to the season because we never played any competitive matches.
“We went to play four games and we’re unbeaten and always score first against the Thai teams which were excellent. The week before that some of the other Singapore teams went to Thailand and found it very tough.
“For us to come back unbeaten against the Thai teams that’s already been back a few weeks more than us (they’ve had a head start on their preparations) was excellent,” he continued.
The head coach called their performance against Chainat FC in their third friendly match outstanding adding that they were way ahead than they were at that stage last season.
The club has added firepower to accompany leading striker Rafael Ramazotti in former Tampines Rovers man Billy Mehmet.
“We’ve only been back but he has already got a good understanding with Rafa. I’m sure that will give us a different dimension because you’ve always got to just change the team a little bit because the opposition can get used to playing against the same players year in year out.”
The Gegar Gegar men are still considering an overseas player who plays in a centre back role with quota still available though it could be confirmed next week.
He also hailed all the players who had attended the trials as “excellent”.
The head coach asserted that the slot for a centre back role is still vacant which was previously occupied by former defender Brian McLean.
The club have also recruited former national goalkeeper Alizanda Sitom in his return to competitive football with the veteran impressing the head coach and will be providing stiff competition to current number one Wardun Yussof.
“Alizanda can bring a competitive edge because I felt last year maybe Wardun was a little bit comfortable. I think with Alizanda it’s like a second lease of life”.
“He’s got bags of experience. He’s not here as a training goalkeeper. He’s here to push Wardun”, the head coach affirmed.
Asked if Alizanda will be challenging for the number one goalkeeping spot, Kean replied, “Definitely! If the friendly matches that we’ve seen are anything to go by, he’s excellent.
“He might be slightly smaller than Wardun but his explosiveness and speed to get across the line and up into the corner are excellent,” he continued.
“He’s here to try and get into the starting eleven.”
The goalkeeping pair was reunited after spending their playing years together with the Brunei team who participated in the M League.
Kean asserted that the duo of Mehmet and Ramazotti could cause S League defences all sorts of problems highlighting that the latter has been the top scorer for the last couple of years while heaping praise on the former’s movement.