Mrdakovic to aid Stags' treble quest

Mrdakovic to aid Stags' treble quest

RETAIN the league title? Sure. And while we are at it, why not throw the two Cups into the mix?

It may be a bold declaration but there was no hiding the confidence in the voice of new Tampines Rovers coach Salim Moin on Thursday as he laid down the gauntlet for the coming season.

"Why not?" came the reply when asked if his side could sweep the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League, RHB Singapore Cup and StarHub League Cup.

"I believe that the players we've got are quality." Salim, 52, was speaking at a press conference to unveil their latest star signing, striker Miljan Mrdakovic.

The 31-year-old from Serbia joins Paraguayan midfielders Roberto Martinez and Luis Alberto Closa, as well as Japanese defenders Kunihiro Yamashita and Norihiro Kawakami, as the Stags' imports for 2014.

"I hope that they will enhance the performance of the team," said coach Salim, whose arrival from Woodlands Wellington allows Tay Peng Kee to return to his general manager post.

Following a pre-season tour of Phnom Penh, during which they picked up 1-0 victories over Cambodian champions Svay Rieng and NagaCorp, Tampines' next test promises to be more daunting.

On Feb 2, they will take on Hong Kong's South China at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the first of three qualifying rounds, with the ultimate prize of a place in AFC Champions League group stage.

"I'm looking forward to it," Salim said of his first venture into continental competition. "It will be a big challenge for the team and myself."

He can depend on the experience of newcomer Mrdakovic, who played among Asia's elite in 2009 for China's Shandong Luneng.

"It's a very tough competition - almost comparable to the Uefa Champions League," acknowledged the 1.87m striker, who netted twice in that campaign. "But having played in the competition, I think I can help the team."

Not just in the Champions League, either - Salim's new target man is keen on helping his coach achieve his treble dream.

"I know everybody expects me to score more than 20 goals," Mrdakovic said. "I don't know the level of the league yet but wherever I've played, I've scored.

"I don't think it'll be a problem here."

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.