RHB Singapore Cup 2017: Wasps Look To Salvage Season
RHB Singapore Cup 2017 (Quarter-Final, First Leg)
Brunei DPMM vs Home United
(13 August, Sunday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Ryan Low
Brunei DPMM are looking to put their Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League struggles behind them as they take on Home United in the RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final first-leg tie at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday night.
The Wasps are currently languishing second-from-bottom in the league after picking up just four points from a possible 39.
Failure to put away their chances have been a key issue, with just 10 goals scored in 13 league games – only seventh-placed Balestier Khalsa and developmental side Garena Young Lions have scored fewer.
Thus, the potential return of Rafael Ramazotti into the starting eleven will be crucial as they look to salvage their season in the Singapore Cup.
The towering Brazilian frontman, who won the Golden Boot for the last two seasons with 21 and 20 goals respectively, has recovered from a ligament injury that saw him miss the Wasps’ last eight games in all competitions.
He is now champing at the bit to make up for lost time.
“It’s very frustrating and difficult for two reasons. First, because I've never been out for such a long time in 12 years of professional football – almost three months,” said the 28-year-old, whose last game was coincidentally against Home in a heavy 9-3 defeat on May 25.
“Usually I’m out for only a week or 10 days at most. Also, the injury was sustained in training and not during a game. Secondly, I couldn’t help my teammates while we’re going through a difficult time.
“All these things are in the past now. Now I just hope we can recover our confidence and finish the season strongly. We’re practically the same team that was S.League champions in 2015, S.League and League Cup runners-up in 2016, so I believe we have what it takes to bounce back.”
With the Singapore Cup the only trophy that has eluded them since their introduction into Singapore football in 2009, they have the chance to set the record straight this season.
“It’s very important for us since we have not won this trophy before,” said Ramazotti. “But before we can think about it, we got to think about every game, step by step and day by day.
“That’s what we aim to do till the end, keep working hard and give our 100 percent. Once we start regaining our confidence, the results will follow.”
It will not be easy against Home, however, with the Protectors reeling from a 2-0 midweek loss in Philippines to Ceres-Negros FC that led to them losing 3-2 on aggregate and missing out on winning the AFC Cup ASEAN zonal trophy.
Despite the loss, midfielder Aqhari Abdullah is upbeat as they remain in the hunt for two trophies this season.
“There’s a lot of positives that we can take from the two games,” said the 26-year-old. “We’re definitely sad and disappointed not to win the final, but that doesn’t mean we’re done.
“It means we’re only going to get stronger as a team and for any team to beat us from now will be quite difficult. We have senior players like Hariss (Harun), Hassan (Sunny) and Juma’at Jantan who always encourages the boys and give positive talks so we’ll definitely bounce back.”
Although Home have come out on top in both head-to-head encounters this season, Aqhari refuses to take progression into the last four of the Singapore Cup for granted.
“It’ll not be easy for us because the schedule is not on our side,” he explained. “There are tired players and some are still carrying knocks. It’s going to be quite tough for us to be at 100 percent, but we’ll definitely give our best and do what we can.”
Brunei DPMM - WDLLL
28/07/17 Tampines Rovers 2-0 Brunei DPMM
24/07/17 Brunei DPMM 0-1 Geylang International
18/07/17 Brunei DPMM 1-5 Warriors FC (The New Paper League Cup)
14/07/17 Brunei DPMM 3-3 Geylang International (The New Paper League Cup)
11/07/17 Brunei DPMM 3-0 Balestier Khalsa (The New Paper League Cup)
Home United - DLDWL
09/08/17 Ceres-Negros FC 2-0 Home United (AFC Cup)
02/08/17 Home United 2-1 Ceres-Negros FC (AFC Cup)
25/07/17 Home United 1-1 Warriors FC
13/07/17 Home United 0-1 Albirex Niigata (S) (The New Paper League Cup)
10/07/17 Home United 1-1 Hougang United (The New Paper League Cup)