Tampines to head to Cambodia for pre-season tour

The defending S.League champions will fly to the Southeast Asian nation for a six-day trip for two friendly games and also conduct a coaching clinic for youth teams there
S.League champions Tampines Rovers will embark on a training tour of Cambodia as part of their pre-season preparations.

The Stags have been invited to Cambodia for a six-day trip, starting January 15, by NagaCorp Ltd, the largest hotel and gaming operator there. Striker Aleksandar Duric also visited the country at their invitation back in November last year.

Salim Moin's men will spar with two Cambodian league sides, in addition to conducting a coaching clinic for youth teams during their trip to Phnom Penh.

Team manager Clement Teo described the opportunity as an "honour" and hopes it will serve as a good team-bonding experience.

“This six-day pre-season training tour will allow us to gear up nicely for the AFC Champions League (ACL) play-off, where we will take on South China in the first qualifying round on February 2,” he told the club's official website.

“There are new inclusions in the team and the training tour will also allow the new players to fit into the team comfortably."

Tampines were granted a slot in the ACL play-offs in November last year and will have to navigate successfully through three rounds if they want to reach the 2014 tournament proper. They will fall back into the AFC Cup if they are are defeated at any stage.

Former Woodlands Wellington manager Salim, who has been appointed as their new coach, claims to be pleased by the side's progress in training so far.

"We began [training] quite early (first week of December 2013) but we did not play many friendly matches recently. The team worked hard in training – twice a day – even during the festive period to make up for the lack of matches,” he told the club's website on Saturday.

“The players are responding well to the training sessions, and I do not need to remind them on what’s expected of them. They know it, and they are slowly adapting to my football philosophy."

He is also keen to get past the first hurdle in the ACL play-offs.

“Of course we want to win the first match against South China," he added.

"We (Singapore sides) have missed many opportunities to play in Asia’s most prestigious cup competition. Now that we are in, at least we will be able to assess our standard of play against the stronger opponents on the continent."

The Stags have added goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma'at and midfielder Matthew Abraham (both Warriors FC), utility player Ang Zhi Wei and defender Shariff Samat (both Woodlands), centre-back Norihiro Kawakami (Geylang International) and forward Noh Alam Shah to their team. Two Paraguayans, striker Roberto Martinez Gamarra and midfielder Luis Closa have joined them as well.