A surprise appointment, Hasrin Jailani knows the position of head coach at a club like Geylang International comes with relentless pressure. But the former Eagle is determined to thrive in it as he aims to deliver.
Standing at one end of the running track that bounds the parched football pitch at the Bedok Stadium, Hasrin Jailani implores his troops to quicken their pace. The players respond almost immediately and soon cross the finish line in what is a fitness-based pre-season training session.
Training then comes to an end and it is time for Hasrin’s interview with FourFourTwo. His thoughts on his first season as a head coach, his new signings and his targets for his side are at the top of the afternoon’s agenda.
Our reporter waits almost nervously by the sidelines and as soon as Hasrin is finished training, he comes over to be greeted by a customary salutation: “Hello Hasrin, I am the reporter from FourFourTwo.”
Hasrin’s response unveils a personality that is a far cry from the intense persona that he took on during training.
“FourFourTwo? But I don’t like to play 4-4-2. I prefer the 3-5-2 or the 4-3-3,” he quips, breaking into a chuckle.
The 2004 AFF Suzuki Cup winner is all business when it comes to his job, but off the pitch, he is a figure of merriment.
They are qualities Hasrin says were the reason his Geylang side won the 2001 S.League title when he was a midfielder, while they are also attributes he wishes to see in his current charges.
I really am thankful for the opportunity and I must admit that my aspiration was always to take a team of my own.
“When we went on to the pitch, be it a match or during training, every player fought hard and gave his all,” Hasrin said of the class of 2001.
“We had such a good camaraderie in the squad and the unity of the squad and the way we fought for one another really helped us to win the title that season.”
When the new Eagles management appointed Hasrin as coach for the 2016 S.League campaign, incoming chairman Ben Teng highlighted the fact the 40-year-old former Singapore international knows what it takes to help Geylang win.
He added that Hasrin understands the values and traditions of the club.
FourFourTwo understands the club spoke to a host of names, including former Warriors coach Alex Weaver and ex-LionsXII assistant coach Nazri Nasir before handing the reins to Hasrin.
“I was a youth player with Geylang and I won the league here as well so this club means a lot to me,” said Hasrin, whose previous stint in the S.League was as an assistant coach to Aide Iskandar at Hougang United in 2011.
“I really am thankful for the opportunity and I must admit that my aspiration was always to take a team of my own.”
Hasrin is eager to make his mark in his maiden season and he will be helped by players who the coach believes are as hungry as ever.
He revealed: “We have made signings in a way to ensure that the team has a good balance.
“The 2001 team fought for their place and that is what we want to instil here with this side. Every player needs to fight for his place.
“Players like (Daniel) Bennett, Isa (Halim), Indra (Sahdan) can certainly all play a big role for the club. They will give my team the extra element because the younger players need someone to look up to on and off the pitch.
“The younger players are hungry as well and this is exactly what I wanted when I came in.”
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Photo: Geylang International