Written by: Nigel Chin
LionsXII head coach Fandi Ahmad expressed his satisfaction after his side finished the 2015 Malaysia Super League with an unbeaten record at home following a 3-0 victory against Sime Darby.
The Singapore side were one of the three teams to do so in the league, with Johor Darul Ta’zim and Pahang FA, the top two teams in the league, the only other sides to do so.
The LionsXII finished with a record of eight wins and three draws at the Jalan Besar Stadium, and it was the second time they finished the league with an undefeated record at home after 2013.
Fandi was left grinning in the post-match press conference, and he congratulated the players for preserving the home record.
“First and foremost, congrats to the team, especially the players who gave their best today,” Fandi said. “And of course, our special fans have been here, they never gave up on us.
“I thought it was a good game, but going to the Malaysia Cup will be a different matter altogether. We hope the draw will favour us.”
However, he felt that his team should have finished higher than seventh in the league standings, but were let down by a poor away record that saw them winning just once in 11 games.
“If you can see the race, we should have been fighting for third, fourth, fifth or six,but that’s football,” Fandi explained. “We don’t win away, it costs you a lot, because we won only one this year, and last year we won three or four games.
“Also we had too many draws; even at home, we had three draws. But generally, the players have improved and grow more matured.
“We did some improvement and you can see a lot of positive attitude in the players. They are more comfortable with the ball now the way we play. As a coach I’m a bit disappointed that we should have been there, three or four or five, not six or seven.
“We were chasing and chasing and then sometimes it happen along the way. But credit must be given to the boys and my coaching staff for working very hard.”
Fandi also singled out Christopher Van Huizen for a good debut season. Against Sime Darby, the winger set up two goals for Safuwan Baharudin and Hafiz Sujad.
Fandi believes Van Huizen has improved greatly throughout the season, and believes the winger will provide one more option for him to use in the Malaysia Cup.
“Definitely, he is one of the key figures and he is improving every game, every training. He’s had an assist in almost every game, which is good,” Fandi stated.
“He is young and eager to learn and gelling well with other players, and he give us opportunity to have more options on the flank. We still have Faris, Gabriel, as well as Nazrul. We can rotate at least in the Malaysia Cup.
“I hope that he will gain valuable experience to carry forward to Malaysia Cup.”