New Woodlands Wellington head coach A. Shasi Kumar target is one day to win the S-league title.
The 33-year-old does not lack confidence, and he expects his charges to have the same qualities in carrying out his ideas of “positive football” out on the pitch.
It is such optimism that showcased why the Rams are confident of a good season ahead as they continue to rebuild for the 2010 season as they signed Japanese defender Kazuki Yoshino and got back former S-League player of the year Laakkad Abdelhadi with local veteran Noor Ali joining them as well.
Shasi believed he can play his preferred style with them.
“I saw him (Kazuki Yoshino) play in a few games last year for Albirex and he is big, strong and quick. Apart from that, he is also good on the ball and that’s something I liked,” said Shasi.
“We aim to play positive football – positive going forward, positive when defending.
“When we play teams like Home United and SAFFC, we will not park the bus in front of the 18-yard box. That’s the only way I know how to play the game.”
Afterall, his vision is forged both by a playing career at clubs like SAFFC and Geylang United, as well as experience as a part of the coaching staff at Gombak United when he even took the reins of Gombak as caretaker coach in 2008 following the departure of Swandi Ahmad and guided the Bulls to 10 wins in their last 15 games.
Gombak scored 27 goals in those 15 games – an average of almost two every game – and it is no surprise Shasi’s favourite teams are England’s Arsenal and Spain’s Barcelona.
For his first adventure as a head coach, Shasi will be assisted by former Singapore international midfielder Hasrin Jailani, who played for the Rams from 2006 up till last year. The two were also team-mates at Geylang in 2003.
The rookie head coach believes that having been players themselves, the coaching partnership of Hasrin and himself “could be an advantage”.
“Both of us have played football, and one thing I have learnt from being in football is that these guys are human beings first, then footballers,” he said.
“We treat them well when they do good, and also kick their backsides when they are in need of one – we treat them as how we would like to be treated.”
Having said that, though, Shasi believes he also has a group of “very hungry” players on his hands, who are motivated to prove their abilities on the pitch.
The duo of striker Guntur Djafril and midfielder Syed Karim, 24 and 25 respectively, signed from SAFFC are two such individuals. The pair hardly had a look-in with the champions, and will look to resurrect their careers which stagnated at Choa Chu Kang.
Noor Ali responded positively to that with his trademark cheeky smile as he was quoted: “Just come and watch us play, I think we’ll be able to surprise quite a few people.”