Sundram targets fresh Tampines title charge
The 49-year-old tactician is no stranger to pressure or silverware, having steered local Malaysian League representatives LionsXII to the Malaysian Super League title in 2013.
That knack of delivering under intense pressure and scrutiny will be vital as Tampines look to rebound following a disappointing 2014 domestic campaign where they finished third behind champions Warriors FC and Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota FC (DPMM FC).
Looking energised after a five-month sabbatical following his departure from Malaysian second-tier side Negeri Sembilan last July, Sundram is relishing the challenge of getting the five-time league winners back on top.
“We have an exciting team and our boys are all good players,” he told FourFourTwo on the sidelines of the club pre-season press conference at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium.
“We have the material to do well and we will want to attract the fans with an exciting and entertaining brand of attacking football.”
The Stags have been bolstered by the signings of several seasoned local players including Indra Sahdan Daud, Ismail Yunos and Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, to complement an already stellar cast of retained players.
Wholesale changes have also been made with regards to imports, with Sundram tasked with finding five new replacements.
Club chairman Teo Hock Seng explained the decision to give the new man at the helm such authority.
“(Club advisor) Jeffrey Low and I spent the last few years trying to look for imports,” he said.
“But sadly, the imports, having seen the standard of the locals, ended up playing at the lower level instead of what we expected.
“This time, there is no interference and I trust Sundram to sign the imports he believes can fit into the team.”
Four out of the five – Haitian American forward Fabrice Noel, French defender Eddy Viator, Croatian duo Mateo Roskam and Predrag Pocuca – signed for the upcoming campaign are familiar to Sundram as they spent the past year plying their trade across the Causeway.
The fifth foreigner, former Australian Under-21 international Srecko Mitrovic, had spent the last couple of years with Indonesian clubs before signing for his present employers.