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Singapore Roaring to Go (21/07/2011)

Feature (21/07/2011)

Singapore Roaring to Go

Interview with Solomon (Solly) Casoojee, Singapore’s National coach on his team’s chances

By Eddie dos Passos/HKHA

For Lion City entry _ Singapore, the squad is ready and willing to go ever higher in their bid to finish well in the Hong Kong-hosted 3rd Men’s Junior AHF Cup.

Looking to finish as high as possible in what is considered a ‘Group of Death’, National coach  Solomon (Solly) Casoojee believes his chargers are more than capable of reaching their lofty targets as they dice with other Group rivals China and Oman to earn a booking for a top two finish out of Pool A.

“At the end of the day, we still need to beat the best team if we want to advance,” said Solly Casoojee, who believes fellow Group A rivals are the ones to beat.

Singapore coach Solly Casoojee

The South African coach who has had stints in Australia, England and also in his native South Africa, is firmly convinced the Singaporeans’ preparations and hard training will pay dividends for this Asian Hockey Federation Cup tournament which will also serve as a qualifier for next year’s Junior Asia Cup and the 2013 Junior World Cup.

Despite starting his career as a right-half, Casoojee is far from being a defensive player and is willing to tell his players otherwise.

“I much prefer to use the offensive mentality to contest the game,” he said.

“I have been with Singapore for the past four months and I have used this time to change the style of the game, aiming for them to ‘go forward’ and be more direct and lifted their approach. The tempo now is a lot higher and the support is constructive, we have to make it happen,” he said.

“Overall, this squad is very well balanced with some players coming up from the Under 18 squad with some seven to eight players being promoted to this Under-21 side making this a very strong side,” he said.

Prior to coming to Singapore, Casoojee, who saw his playing career ended through an untimely knee injury, went on to help with South Africa as an assistant coach for the women’s team at the World Cup in Perth in 2002.