FFT’s 2017 S.League Preview: Geylang International FC
Continuity and familiarity will be Geylang International’s biggest assets this term with as many as 14 players going into their second season with the Eagles this year.
While the likes of Daniel Bennett and Sahil Suhaimi have moved on to rivals Tampines Rovers, the Eagles still boast one of the stronger squads in the league on paper.
Current and past national team players like Faritz Hameed, Gabriel Quak, Isa Halim and Shahfiq Ghani along with the likes of Amy Recha, Shawal Anuar and Al- Qaasimy Rahman give the Eagles’ squad a fine balance of experience and youth.
On the foreign front, defender Yuki Ichikawa has been retained after another stellar season last year, while Argentinian playmaker Ricardo Sendra and Costa Rican forward Victor Coto have been signed to bolster their attacking options.
Having gone agonisingly close to AFC Cup qualification last season, the Eagles will be hungry to hunt their way to a more successful campaign this time around.
Ricardo Sendra (America de Piran), Victor Coto (Unattached)
Daniel Bennett, Sahil Suhaimi (Tampines Rovers), Shariff Abdul Samat, Carlos Delgado, Mark Hartmann (Released)
Coach summary: Hasrin Jailani
Eagles’ head coach Hasrin Jailani enjoyed a relatively decent campaign the last time round in what was his first year as a professional head coach and it is no surprise that the club has chosen to back the former Singapore international to lead the side once again this season.
The Eagles were one of the more entertaining sides to watch in 2016 with Hasrin advocating an attacking style of play built on pace.
With lessons learnt aplenty from his maiden campaign, Hasrin will be confident of improving on the fifth-place finish that his side managed last year.
Player to watch: Victor Coto
Goal difference proved to be the Eagles’ undoing last season in their pursuit of securing qualification to the AFC Cup.
While their defence was third best in the league, Geylang were not as productive at the other end of the pitch.
This season, the Eagles will look to the league’s first ever Costa Rica born player, Victor Coto, to get the goals for them.
A physical target man who also has the pace to run in behind defences, Coto has already impressed in pre-season, netting three goals in as many games while his industrious nature on the pitch has gone down well in the locker room.
Expectations: To break into the top half this season
On paper, the Eagles possess a squad filled with exciting talents.
Coupled with the fact that this team will now go into the season with a year’s experience of playing together, Geylang International will be expected to mount a serious title challenge.
The agony of just missing out on the AFC Cup slot last season will mean that the club will look to hit the ground running almost immediately. Expect the Eagles to start the season strongly.
Main Photo: Melaka