Johor Darul Takzim FC vs Hougang United.
Monday 28th January 2013
Stadium Larkin, Johor Bahru
Tickets: Grandstand RM10, Others RM5.
Hougang will have their 2nd pre-season test, when they take on Fandi Ahmad’s Johor DTFC team at Larkin Stadium.
The Malaysian Super League will be taking a 3 week break, due to internationals and cup tournaments. The Southern Tigers will be looking to keep their players fit by arranging friendlies with their Singaporean counterparts.
Fandi will be also giving a run out to his reserve squads, as the season had taken a toll for his stars. Safee Sali is out indefinitely with torn ankle ligaments, plus his foreign stars, Dani Guiza and Simone Del Nero all became customers on the treatment table after four games into the season.
Coach Alex Weaver have shown promised for the Hougang fans and the football fraternity in Singapore. A 3-1 win over Warriors FC on Jan 14th showed aplenty of promise, with new signings Robert Eziakor and Liam Shotton all looking like they had played for Hougang for ages with scintillating performances.
Coach Alex has given his statement in prior to this game:
“The game on Monday is only our second pre-season fixture having seen the last game v Tampines Rovers cancelled due to the bad weather. It was unfortunate as it means that we are a game behind in our preparation but we will be fine as the players are developing a very adaptable mindset – they are challenged to be so in training as this is very important for the way we are going to play this season. The trip to compete against Fandi Ahmad’s team provides an exciting opportunity not just for the team but for myself, personally. I have yet to meet Fandi but I have heard so many positive things about the man and not just about his ability as a player. It will be great to talk with him and share experiences. I’ve worked in quite a few countries now and I always appreciate gaining more insight into the local culture from a variety of people and it should be great to hear Fandi’s prespective.
The game itself will be another step in the team’s training programme. The players are doing extremely well in practice and we will continue to set challenges based on their training up to this point, for the game in Johor. We will play a starting XI for about 60 minutes before making changes. We played two different sets of players in each half for the last game against SAFFC and we were going to do the same against Tampines but now we have had more sessions and more conditioning work we will allow one set of players to stay on for 60 mins while the players that finish the game will probably do some extra work once the game has finished – if they keep the lights on!
I have been delighted with the development of the team culture since we have all been together. Besides Liam everyone has been together since the first day of training but they have all made Liam feel really welcome too so it’s been a very smooth integration for him which is a huge positive – obviously the fact that he did so well in his first game for the club helped greatly. The fact that we have such a tight group of players with everyone really getting on well is a huge advantage. It makes everything seem so positive and it saves me having to manage the various dynamics of the squad as closely as I would probably normally have to do. Everyone of our players have applied themselves very well up to this point and it should be very difficult for me selecting that first XI come the S-League kick-off. I’m excited to see the players against Darul Takzim and hopefull they will have a good crowd there to watch it. It would be great to see some of our wonderful Hougang fans make the short trip over the causeway to cheer on the lads as they normally do, so very well here in Singapore. The fans at this club are quite unique from anything I have seen in Singapore and I hope it continues to grow even more.”