Weaver: Title triumph a fantastic achievement for players

Warriors Head Coach Alex Weaver paid tribute to his players after winning the S.League title on Friday evening.

The Warriors defeated Albirex Niigata 1-0 at Choa Chu Kang Stadium, but were given a helping hand as Tampines Rovers defeated title rivals Brunei DPMM FC 2-1 in a match held simultaneously at Jalan Besar Stadium.

This is the Warriors’ first trophy under their current name, having won the last in 2009 as Singapore Armed Forces FC.

It is also a record 9th title, the most of any S.League clubs since the league's inception in 1996.

“It was just very tense today,” a delighted Weaver said after the game.

“We got that all important goal that we wanted.

“All this week and all of today, we tried very hard to focus on what we were doing.

“We found out about the scores from Jalan Besar, but we didn’t want to get that across to the players because we wanted them to focus on hanging onto the lead, and they did it.

“They were superb today as they were throughout the season.”

Weaver also singled out Warriors captain Daniel Bennett for praise, as the veteran defender joined in the celebrations on the night.

“I’m delighted for Daniel Bennett, our captain who has been fantastic,” he said.

“A very good leader in his own way, I’m just delighted that he has that.

“But also very single player in the squad, they’ve really played their parts - even the players who haven’t played much.

“The focus has been fantastic, we deserved it really. It’s been a long time coming.”

"I'm gonna have to give Rafi a call."

The Warriors coach took time to express his gratitude to Tampines Rovers, whose defeat of DPMM had allowed Warriors to pip the Brunei side to the title on the very last day, after trailing on goal difference initially.

“I’m gonna have to give Rafi and the club a call, but that’s just credit to Tampines,” Weaver said.

“It reflects what they have been for the S.League over the last few years.

“We set ourselves a target at the start of the year, and used them as a benchmark. They have done well for themselves, but I expected that from Rafi and Tampines Rovers.”

Despite the league title triumph, Weaver hinted that he will be keeping celebrations to a minimum personally, and instead start planning for the upcoming season – where a title challenge and the AFC Champions League playoffs await.

“That (the title win) puts us into the Champions league qualifiers. So we will plan for that properly,” he said.

“I’m going to take the weekend off and come back and sort the players’ contract next week.

“Hopefully get those confirmed and then literally spend a lot of time thinking about next year in the AFC Champions League.

“We want to strengthen the club as much as we can. We have to be intelligent around the budget, but we want to keep the vast majority of players around for consistency and also because they are very good players.”

Photo: Halim Hakim/Football Association of Singapore