All quiet in the Tigers' den

With just three weeks to go before the 2017 S.League season kicks off, Balestier Khalsa have still yet to sign any foreign players.

The Balkan brigade of Miroslav Kristic, Niko Tokic, and Emir Lotinac have all been released after a disappointing 2016 in which the Tigers finished 8th out of nine teams.

Speaking to FourFourTwo after his team’s training session on Friday evening, Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic revealed that budget constraints meant that negotiations with their transfer targets have been protracted.

We are not a rich club, so it’s not easy. Budget is one thing, and we also have to make a right choice. The foreign players we sign must bring us up to the next level

- Kraljevic

“We are not a rich club, so it’s not easy," said the 51-year-old. "Budget is one thing, and we also have to make a right choice. The foreign players we sign must bring us up to the next level.

"We are still in negotiations but I really cannot give you any names. Some are from Europe while a few are from Asia.

“I am looking at attacking players, a good striker or maybe a good winger, but you know, attacking players are always more expensive than defensive players.”

Kraljevic would reveal, however, that he has almost finalized his roster of local players.

Tan will be looking to fly down the wings at Toa Payoh this term

Winger Jonathan Tan, 21, and defenders Ashrul Syafeeq, and Tajeli Salamat, both 22, have been signed from the Garena Young Lions. Raihan Rahman, 25, and Huzaifah Aziz, 22, joined from Hougang United while Mahathir Azeman, 21 will join the Tigers from Home United after he completes his National Service.

The influx of young players have greatly lowered the average age of the side, with Kraljevic relishing training with his new-look squad so far. 

Former LionsXII midfielder Raihan will add more bite to the Tigers engine room

“We have a much younger squad this year. They are very fit. I am really happy with them," he added. "They are eager to learn, to improve and it’s been very enjoyable.

"We took the 2.4km fitness test recently and there were no problems everyone cleared it. If we bring in the right foreign players, I have faith in my boys that we can challenge this year.”

Photos: Weixiang Lim