Tigers' super-sub Jamil has got Kraljevic purring

For the second game in a row, Balestier winger Jamil Ali came off the bench and made a difference to earn huge praises from his coach Marko Kraljevic.

Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic had nothing but praise for Jamil Ali after the experienced winger came off the bench to rescue a point for the Tigers on Saturday evening.
The Tigers were trailing 1-0 to Albirex Niigata (S) at the break and Kraljevic decided to go for broke by throwing on the 31-year-old Jamil in the 53rd minute.
Within two minutes, Jamil repaid his coach's faith in him by slamming the equaliser home. He went on to make a nuisance of himself but the game ended 1-1 to leave both sides with a well-deserved point.

Jamil's performance had Kraljevic labelling him as 'an amazing player' and he is glad he managed to convince the winger to postpone his retirement plans.

I had nothing to lose anymore, I put Jamil on and he did it,

- Balestier coach Marko Kaljevic

"It was 1-0 and I had nothing to lose anymore, I put Jamil on and he did it," Kraljevic said.
"From nothing, Jamil can make something. He did exactly the same in the Maldives - he came on and set up a goal very nicely. He can change the game for us."
Jamil himself always believed that he could make a difference when called upon and it was no different when he was sent on against Albirex.

"It's not always about scoring goals, but the team really worked hard and deserved at least a point," Jamil said. "For me personally, I was confident I could break through their defence."
"I never thought that I would score that early actually, but I was confident that we would equalise cause the team has a good team spirit."


Other teams will and should not be taking us lightly.

- Balestier winger Jamil Ali

Jamil also believed that those whom wrote Balestier off, just after the Tigers lost their first game 1-0 to the unfancied Garena Young Lions, should reconsider their position.

"Young Lions was just our first game, but now we are getting better," he asserted. "We nearly beat New Radiant in Maldives and now we held Albirex.
"Other teams will and should not be taking us lightly."
As for the player himself, Jamil is happy to continue making cameo appearances, as long as it gets the team the full three points.
"As a player of course I want to start every game, but I will let my coach decide how best I can contribute to the team," he added.
Photo: S.League