Geylang International will hope to carry on where they left off last season, and get off to a flying start this term in their season opener against wooden spoonists Tanjong Pagar United at Our Tampines Hub on Sunday.
Morale is high within the Eagles’ nest after the club secured their first AFC Cup qualification since 2010 as they finished fourth in the Singapore Premier League and qualified as the third-best local side, and Noor Ali’s side will look to build on that success.
Geylang have significantly strengthened in the attacking department with the signing of Dutchman Sylvano Comvalius and Brazilian Moresche. While they did not feature in the pre-season friendly against Balestier Khalsa, Christopher van Huizen and Zikos Chua came up with the goods in a 2-1 win at Our Tampines Hub last Saturday.
Even though Tanjong Pagar lost their pre-season friendly to defending champions Albirex Niigata, the 1-0 defeat suggests they will not be rollovers this season, like they were at times last season after re-joining the league at the 11th-hour with a hastily assembled squad.
Like Geylang, the Jaguars also beefed up their attack by signing former Albirex striker Reo Nishiguchi, and three-time AFF Championship winner Khairul Amri. They also aim to plug their leaky defence with Australian Blake Ricciuto, a former SPL winner with Brunei DPMM, who could play in front of Eagles old boy Shahrin Saberin.
Noor Ali said: “Our boys did well in the friendly and while we are nursing a few injuries and suspensions, we are raring to go.
“Sylvano and Moresche are good individual talents that will help us upfront, and we will look to include them as soon as possible. The more important thing is to steer clear of injuries for three rounds of competition, but the good thing about this club is we give opportunities to our young players and we have a good bunch who are ready to step up.
“It will be another even and competitive season and we will not take any opponent lightly. Tanjong Pagar are a good side and we are looking forward to a good fight.”