Albirex Niigata FC (S) captain Shuto Inaba believes that the 2017 S.League season will present a unique challenge for the White Swans.
In a speech given to sponsors and key stakeholders during the club's kick off party for the upcoming S.League season on Wednesday night, the captain said: “Expectations will be higher and there will be greater pressure on us to succeed.”
“It is the first time in the club’s history that we will enter the year as defending champions for all titles and trophies.
“There have been many changes within the squad, but we are confident and we will do our best to challenge for honours again.”
Another clean sweep?
Albirex chairman Daisuke Korenaga, who has set a target of winning another clean sweep of all titles for the 2017 season, mirrors his captain's goals.
In a speech given at the same event, he said: "As usual, many players and staff changed. That’s why we will need to change our strategy, formation and tactics.”
“However, I have no doubt that our young and ambitious players will show fantastic achievements on the pitch this year.
“So I have no doubt that we will win all four titles!”
The chairman was also quick to emphasise that Albirex would continue to do its part in contributing to local football.
In conjunction with the Yuhua-Albirex Football Academy, they have announced the launch of a new CSR program called the Albirex Sports Development Fund, which will see the club bring Singaporean players and coaches to Niigata for an exchange program to learn more about the Japanese culture.
Korenaga said: ”Albirex promises to contribute as a symbol for peace and a bridge between Singapore and Japan.”
“Through these kinds of activities, we hope to develop the relationship between Singapore and Japan, forever.”
The White Swans kick off their 2017 S.League campaign on 26 February at the National Stadium against Tampines Rovers for the Community Shield.