| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC forward Rafael Ramazotti is raring to give his side a much-needed lift ahead of their quarter-final first leg clash against Home United FC in his return from a three-month injury at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore tonight.
The Brazilian striker has missed eight games in all competitions following an ankle ligament injury and was nearing a return to competitive action before the league clash with Tampines Rovers FC late last month.
The two-time S League top scorer has found it difficult to be side-lined for a lengthy period, his longest time out in his 12 years of professional football.
Ramazotti’s absence was hugely missed as the Gegar Gegar men who had just 10 goals in 13 league matches were deprived of his goals and aerial threat.
“It’s very frustrating and difficult for two reasons. First because I’ve never been out for such a long time in 12 years of professional football – almost three months,” the striker was quoted as saying by the S League.
“Usually I’m out for only a week or 10 days at most. Also, the injury was sustained in training and not during a game. Secondly, I couldn’t help my teammates while we’re going through a difficult time.
“All these things are in the past now. I just hope we can recover our confidence and finish the season strongly.
“We’re practically the same team that was S League champions in 2015 and League Cup runners-up in 2016, so I believe we have what it takes to bounce back,” the scoring assassin continued.
Ramazotti stressed that the Singapore Cup, the only title that eluded DPMM FC, would be of great importance to them but exercised caution not to get carried away and take “each game at a time” in the build-up to their quarter-final tie.
“Before we can think (about the Singapore Cup), we got to think about every game, step by step and day by day.
“That’s what we aim to do till the end, keep working hard and give our 100 per cent. Once we start regaining confidence, the results will follow,” concluded the Brazilian.
The Gegar Gegar men will be facing a side who were recently knocked out of the AFC Cup after losing 3-2 in aggregate to Filipino side Ceres-Negros in the Asean zone final.
However, Home United midfielder Aqhari Abdullah indicated that they are not short in confidence and that they will be taking some positives from the game despite the disappointment of falling short of an inter-zone semi-final place.
“We’re definitely sad and disappointed not to win the final, but that doesn’t mean we’re done. It means we’re going to get stronger as a team and for any team to beat us from now will be quite difficult,” the midfielder added.