Singapore plan to attack Oman right from the start

SINGAPORE - Oman are streets ahead of Singapore in football - 57 rungs in Fifa's world rankings to be exact.

But, instead of being intimidated into adopting a defensive approach when the two sides meet in an Asian Cup qualifier on Aug 14, national coach Bernd Stange wants his men to attack from the first whistle.

Not only that, he wants the Lions to dominate the 99th-ranked visitors in style, by employing a high-tempo, short-passing game on the artificial turf at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Before Saturday's training session started at 7pm, the German showed the Lions a DVD of Italy's Gianluigi Buffon in action against Spain in the recent Confederations Cup.

In the six-minute clip, the goalkeeper had 42 touches of the ball, each time starting a move by rolling the ball out to his outfielders and at times venturing out of the box in a sweeper-keeper role.

And Stange hopes to see the Lions replicate a similar style of pass-and-move football.

The coach said: "We will attack Oman right from the start.

"This will be our future approach. We want to play a dominating style of football regardless of who the opponents are."

Apart from saving shots, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud now has additional responsibilities as the starting point of the team's attacks. And he is eager to learn.

He said: "I'm still adapting to the new style but it can be done.

"This is the style that the team want to play. Also it is not my instinct to just punt the ball upfield as I have always tried to keep calm and distribute to the nearest team-mate."

Centre-back Baihakki Khaizan said: "Coach wants us to learn from the best, who are the Europeans.

He threw the question at us, asking if we can do what the Europeans do.

"He wants us not to hurry when we're in possession of the ball, and be composed.

"It is not easy but we are trying and, with more time, it will soon become a habit."

The 65-year-old Stange, who took up the reins in May, believes his squad have bought into his philosophy.

He said: "The players are following and they are convinced by what I've told them.

"They are highly motivated even if this is going to be a difficult game. Oman are a better team but we are confident."

 

meng@sph.com.sg


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