| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC head coach Rene Weber has expressed contentment on the progress of his players in pre-season training ahead of the upcoming S League which officially starts at the end of this month in Singapore.
The Gegar-Gegar men will host Home United in their opening fixture of the season on April 7 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium with their opponents currently sitting joint top of Group F in the AFC Cup.
The Protectors enjoyed a narrow 1-0 win over Myanmar’s Shan United and held group favourites Ceres Negros to a creditable 1-1 draw in the continental competition.
DPMM FC will then face reigning holders Albirex Niigata (S) at the Jurong East Stadium on April 14.
Weber noted the progress of the new-look squad since taking over the reins in January and shared that the individual players are armed with good qualities in his short time there.
“We have good players with good qualities. We’re preparing our league in Singapore on April 7 where we start at home against Home United so we must start in a good way,” Weber said in an interview with the Sunday Bulletin after their win in a football friendly against the Brunei HBT team at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium yesterday.
The Brunei-based outfit, who also kept a clean sheet in their friendly against MS ABDB, will no doubt be facing a much sterner test during their training tour to Bangkok on March 19.
The club will be kicking off their tour against Thai League 1 outfit Air Force Central at the Thupatemi Stadium in Rangsit on March 20 before meeting Thai League 2 teams Thai Honda FC at 72nd Anniversary Stadium on March 22 and Kasetsart FC at TOT Stadium in Chaeng Watthana on March 24.
Air Force Central, who are still searching for their first win after three games, were promoted to Thailand’s top flight last season while Thai Honda previously competed in the top tier last season but suffered relegation.
“We must be preparing on a high level to reach our target but I am happy here. The club is good and we have good conditions to work. The players are doing what we asked them to do and I hope we can have a good season,” the coach asserted.
Asked about the style of football that he like his side to play, he highlighted that the duties must be shared between attack and defence.
“We must defend well and attack well. I don’t want to play just to defend or just to attack,” said Weber. “We must do both things. We must attack with good organi-sation but when we lose the ball, it is very important to come back and help and apply good pressure to the opponent.”
The coach has already been made aware of strong teams such as their first two opponents and added that they must improve their pressing and defending well.
“That’s why you work in both ways which is to defend and to attack. I think in football it is not just one way and also have ball play. When you lose the ball, there must be pressing.”
The head coach was also informed of the impending arrival of centre back Brian McLean who was an important player when he represented the club three years ago.
“Brian knows the club and the way how to play here, how is the competition,” he said.
With the experienced Northern Ireland defender almost inevitable to be selected as an automatic choice at centre back, the main question is who will be his pairing.
“I am looking now and we are in the beginning. I am choosing who will play besides him.”
The Brazilian sounded potential candidates Abdul Aziz Tamit, Yura Indera Putera, Reduan Petara and Hanif Hamir to partner alongside McLean.
He emphasised that the import players must help the team and added that they can help the side.
The head coach hoped to bring healthy competition in all the positions to the squad, adding that players who perform well will be rewarded with playing time.