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Albirex's turn to declare their #sleague title bid

Albirex Niigata (S) held their introductory at JBS
"Football is played with eleven players a side and we have been here since 2004, thus it marks our eleventh year in Singapore football that we have set our target this season to win the S.League title in order to repay the faith of our supporters." declared Albirex Niigata (Singapore)'s chairman and CEO Mr Daisuke Korenaga at the team's introductory party held at the Jalan Besar Stadium this evening.

That title ambition echoed that of Korenga's Balestier Khalsa counterpart S Thavaneson who made the same declaration days earlier in the same building.

Korenga (left) set the title target this year
The new season will be kicking off this coming Friday with the Charity Shield match between reigning league champions Tampines Rovers and defending Singapore Cup winners Home United, this pre-season introductory gathering by the White Swans is one of the remaining scheduled for the next coming days.

Gracing the occasion is the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) adviser, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, who believes the Japanese side's capability in breaking new grounds for the upcoming season.

Said the former Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs:"After finishing 4-3-3 (in reference to the team's final league position in 2011, 2012, 2013), I believe this year is a deserving one for the team's quest for the title and I hope they finish well this season,

"Also, I appreciate the efforts made by Albirex Niigata (Singapore) both on and off the field for the show of their professionalism that helps to build the bridge between Japanese and Singaporean youth." added Assoc Prof Ho.

Group photo at the end of the session
That sentiment is shared by Mr Kensaku Konishi, the President and CEO of Canon South East Asia and South Asia, the club's main sponsor.

"I believe Albirex Niigata (Singapore) is important as from here, there are Japanese players who went on to play in other Asian countries and it's like exporting the brand name of Japan through Singapore and I believe with the completion of the Sports Hub we will see more big name teams playing here but at the same time we must also keep improving what we are doing."

The occasion also saw the formal introduction of Tatsuyuki Okuyama as the new head coach of the 2011 League Cup winners for the new campaign alongside with the rest of the squad at the VIP Lounge.

Player cards handed by during the event
However, Coach Okuyama is not a stranger to the league for having served as his predecessor Koiichi Sugiyama's assistant last year.

For having taken over the reins from the man who steered the team to their "golden era" in recent years, the 38-year-old Niigata native appears to be an optimist in facing the title challenge laid down by Korenga.

Speaking to this blogger on the sideline, the JFA 'A' License holder said:"I'm not surprise with the Chairman's (Korenga) declaration and since he has faith in me in doing so, I will have to repay that faith,"

"Of course, every team wants to be the champions, but on top of that, we want to build on the good work (by Sugiyama) by playing attacking, entertaining football because I believe in doing that it will bring in more fans to our games that will help to motivate the players on the field in our title bid."

Albirex Niigata (Singapore) will mark the start of their season when they face Brunei DPMM at their Jurong East base on 22nd of February.


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