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Pippo puts faith in Hougang strikers, backs youth plan for Singapore

Pippo puts faith in Hougang strikers, backs youth plan for Singapore
From ESPN - January 12, 2018

Having failed to achieve the management's targets last year, coach Philippe Aw is eyeing better fortunes in his second season in charge of Hougang United in the 2018 S.League season.

Aw aimed to win at least one trophy in 2017, but came up empty-handed, while finishing sixth out of nine teams, despite some promising moments.

"We had an up-and-down year with players missing at times. I feel that it's difficult to go for glory in the first season," he told ESPN FC.

"You need a lot of things to work. First, you need to make sure the players are buying into the training system. Second, you need to build the team spirit. Third, you need to have consistent performances.

"At the end of the day, Albirex Niigata (S) were the champions because they were consistent. They were the most hardworking and professional club. That's what we want to do in 2018 -- copying the good things and that's not something that can be achieved overnight."

A keen advocate of blooding young talent, "Pippo" Aw is fully supportive of Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) decision to introduce youth-oriented rules for 2018.

All six local clubs, including Tampines Rovers, Home United, Geylang International, Warriors FC and Balestier Khalsa, are to register at least six under-23 players and eight under-30 players.

Ex-Home United boss Aw has raided Garena Young Lions to bring in defender Illyas Lee, winger Muhaimin Suhaimi and forward Jordan Chan, while promoting the likes of Gerald Ting, Justin Hui and Syukri Bashir from the Prime League (PL). It brings the number of under-23 players at Hougang to 10.

Meanwhile, Ashrul Syafeeq and Stanely Ng have joined from Balestier and Geylang respectively.

"Definitely, we needed to change something in Singapore football so I am glad that the people in the FA have decided that this is the year to change," he said.

"Basically, what we are doing is to support this initiative. If the FA set an initiative and people do not support, we are not going to achieve what we want to do, which is to work together to help the national team.

"I brought in players like Muhaimin and Illyas because I knew them years ago when I was still a youth coach. What's important is that we wanted to bring in players with good attitude, who are willing to pick up new things and learn the modernised way of training."

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