TNP league cup: Counting on Kaplan

TNP league cup: Counting on Kaplan
SLOVAK’S SPARK: Geylang captain Jozef Kaplan (right) shaping up to shoot in their 4-2 win over Brunei DPMM.

With 10 goals in three matches, Geylang International go into tonight's The New Paper (TNP) League Cup semi-finals as top scorers.

Brazil-born Japanese attacker Bruno Castanheira's tally of five goals makes him the tournament's leading marksman.

But Jozef Kaplan is the man who makes the Eagles tick.

While comparatively modest in front of goal with two strikes in the League Cup, the attacking midfielder's contributions are much more important than that.

Speaking to The New Paper about his talisman and attacking fulcrum, Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner said: "We all know what Jozef brings to the team, and how important he is when he plays "He brings leadership, composure and he's a good role model for the rest of his teammates.

"He's got heart, a tremendous work-rate, and a never-say-die attitude. That's why he's valuable to us and that's why he's such a key player.

"But as always, it's all about the team. As a coach, I've always maintained that you need the whole team to do their part."

Kaplan, though, recognises the weight of expectation he is set to shoulder tonight.

Geylang have never won the League Cup in the tournament's eight-year history.

The 29-year-old Slovak is well aware that it is a statistic that needs some alteration.

"We are the highest-scoring team, and that's one positive aspect about goals, because it can only motivate us even more," said Kaplan.

"I fully believe my team and I will do our best to achieve (the Cup) and make everyone associated with Geylang proud, but we also cannot put ourselves under too much pressure.


"Doing so will only make things more difficult for us and, with Albirex being such tough opponents, we have to be wary.

"But we have momentum on our side, after playing against DPMM and winning 4-2.

"We haven't had much time to rest and recuperate, but we are motivated and very much looking forward to the game."

With a skilful and determined Albirex side standing in the way of what would be his second League Cup triumph as a coach - he won it with Woodlands Wellington in the inaugural 2007 edition - Steinebrunner insisted he has it all under control.

"To be honest, I haven't given (the prospect of a second League Cup triumph) much thought," he said.

"It's all about the next 90 minutes.

"Albirex will pose us a few problems but, then again, problems are there to be solved.

"In football, you have to analyse the opponent, learn about them, and see what you can exploit.

"We've done our preparations, and now I hope everything falls into place."


This article was first published on July 05, 2015.
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