| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC’S new foreign import Blake Ricciuto is impressed with the quality of the local players ahead of the much-anticipated AIA Singapore Premier League season opener against Home United at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore on Sunday.
The Sydney-born Australian along with the rest of the team has entered the final preparations of pre-season training under the guidance of new head coach Adrian Pennock, and is keen to make his mark in Singapore after making the switch to the Brunei club.
Ricciuto, who is of Uruguayan and Italian descent, joined DPMM FC as one of three new foreign imports alongside Charlie Clough and Andrey Varankow, all of them fresh faces in the Singapore footballing scene.
“I am very impressed with the local players. They have very good quality and they also make me feel welcomed when I first arrived here,” Ricciuto said in an interview with the Bulletin after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium recently.
“On the football pitch, everyone is working hard. It is a hard pre-season but the local players are of good quality and they are mentally very strong. They work very hard.”
Ricciuto plays in central midfield and he hoped that he can contribute to the team by bringing his own set of qualities to the field.
He said, “I bring a lot of passion to the game. I like to win a lot of balls in the middle of the park and I like to transmit a lot of energy within the team.”
Ricciuto noted the transition to Southeast Asian football but relishes the prospect of his new and unfamiliar surroundings.
“At first, it is a big change for me coming to Southeast Asia. I didn’t really know too much about anyone and the team. I looked at the team before I came over here and some strong players in the Singapore league.”
He further added, “It has been a very hard pre-season and we have been running up the hills at Tasek Lama but the boys have been very good to me. I am looking forward to the season and to having a good year with these great people.”
The former Rockdale City Suns player has also been informed of how strong reigning holders Albirex Niigata (S) are and he looked forward to the competition in his new colours.
The central midfielder also shared his new teammate Charlie Clough’s ambitions of winning the league title and ending Albirex Niigata’s (S) dominance.
Ricciuto, who also previously featured for Uruguyan second division team Canadian, said, “I have ambitions to win the league with DPMM FC. I’ve been doing some research and looking at some games in the Singapore league. I expect it to be a strong league.
“There are a lot of strong teams and I heard that Albirex is very strong as well as other teams like Home United.
“I’m looking forward to putting my foot in playing in the Singapore league and I’m pretty sure it will be a tough season. But I think we will be able to do the job.
“I can tell the mentality of the players that we are all here to win. We’re not here to come in second nor third place as we’re all aiming for that championship (Singapore Premier League) at the end of the day.”
“But I think we have the ability, quality and all the attributes to win. We were in the cup final last year so we want to have another good cup run and hopefully win that as well,” he said.