The S.League's most successful coach shared his views on the threat of foreign teams in the league and their impact on the local teamsThis season's S.League has started with great fervour and after seven rounds, out of the thirteen participating teams, only two remain unbeaten - Brunei DPMM and Harimau Muda.
DPMM lead the table with 17 points while the Malaysians are just three points behind going into their battle with Home United on Sunday night. Albirex Niigata (Singapore), the third foreign team in the competition saw their unbeaten record end on Friday night against Balestier Khalsa.
This trend has been a worrying sign for some, but SAFFC coach Richard Bok believes that local teams should treat this a wake-up call.
“Looking at Brunei DPMM and Harimau Muda, I think we need to step up as a local team and make the standard higher," he said, speaking to Goal.com Singapore.
“I think it maybe wakes us up to do something but I don’t know what.
“Like I say, maybe it’s a wake-up call. I’m trying my best for my team and hopefully the other teams can step up.”
Coach Bok was speaking after his Warriors had just faced Malaysian side Harimau Muda last Sunday night and despite putting up a good fight saw his charges lose 2-1 at home to the Young Tigers.
When asked if he thinks that the Young Tigers are unbeatable, Bok believes that it’s all about taking chances.
“I thought we created more chances than them but I think it was about taking chances but we did not really take our chances tonight.
“As you can see, when we are about to score, they score on the other side. We started the second-half brightly, with Kari [Mislav Karoglan] sending in a good shot and [Tatsuro] Inui’s free kick and I thought it was going in but it didn’t.”
Looking on the positive side, local teams have not been that far off the pace. Home United had as well remained unbeaten before losing 2-0 to rivals Tampines Rovers a week earlier.
Apart from the traditional big three of SAFFC, Home United and Tampines, teams like Balestier and Hougang United have also stepped up and been performing well this season.
Bok then concluded by saying: “Home is still there, Tampines is still there, even Balestier and Hougang are doing well so hopefully we can all push for everybody to do better."