Singapore caretaker boss Nazri hopes to reignite Causeway rivalry

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Zulhilmi Zainal
Singapore caretaker coach Nazri Nasir wants an "explosive" match when his charges take on Malaysia at Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


Singapore's caretaker head coach Nazri Nasir wants the Malaysia vs Singapore Airmarine Cup clash on Wednesday to be a memorable affair, similar to what it used to be in the past.

The former Singapore international has been tasked with leading the Lions in the invitational tournament, as head coach Fandi Ahmad is currently away with the country's U-22 side for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Nazri explained that he is currently working against the clock to get his temporary charges ready for the tie and the competition. 

"This is my first time as head coach, all this while I had been Fandi's assistant. I was appointed as [caretaker] coach two weeks ago.

"I only got the players yesterday (Monday) as one round of our league, the Singapore Premier League, was played on Saturday and Sunday. We only arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 

"Yesterday we only had a 90-minute light session whereby I focused on recovery as the players just played two days ago. I just want them to be fresh for tomorrow. 

"It's tough for me... but all the boys are experienced players. I want them to play according to my style, and they will give 100 per cent, as I've selected them based on their form and fitness," he noted.

According to him, the experience of his charges who play club football in Malaysia will also be relied upon in the Wednesday encounter. 

"As a coach, having players like Safuwan (Pahang's Safuwan Baharudin), Hariss (JDT captain Hariss Harun) and Shakir (Kedah defender Shakir Hamzah) [is good]. For example Safuwan already knows Pahang players such as Matthew and Sumareh (Matthew Davies and Mohamadou Sumareh) and this helps me as a coach. 

"He can help me identify the formation, the players, their strengths and weaknesses. I don't know everything as a coach, and they can help me with their opinions," explained the 48-year old trainer.

Nazri also spoke of the rivalry between the two sides and sides from the two countries in the past, hoping to see it reignited on Wednesday. 

"[Singapore playing] against Malaysia always comes with a lot of history, especially during my playing days. And this is what I want from my players; when they take to the field, it's a do-or-die game.

"Of course we're still friends outside the pitch, but on it we have to do our best. I'm expecting an explosive game tomorrow, a good crowd as the home advantage is with Malaysia. But there's also pressure for them to win the cup," he pointed out.

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