BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sunday, February 5, 2012
AS IF going up against titleholders Tampines Rovers FC in their Singapore League (S-League) opener next Sunday isn't enough of a problem, DPMM FC's head coach now has another thing to worry about.
The S-League's mandatory beep test, a gauge of cardiovascular fitness, has seen eight of the team's 25 players fail to make the grade when it was carried out on Friday.
The multistage fitness test requires the players to run between 20m spaced cones, with their speed increasing in accordance to increasing beeps.
The test was conducted on DPMM FC players for the first time since it was not mandatory when the club made its debut in the S-League during the 2009 season.
Without a passing mark, which the S-League set at 13.1, the players will not be able to play a veritable headache for Vjeran Simunic especially since it looks like he will be without two key defenders.
"My main concerns are left-back Yusof Mohd Salleh and right-back Shahrulrizal Hj Abd Rahman - though Shahrulrizal was down with a fever," said Simunic yesterday.
"That means I will only have centre-back Tales Ricarte dos Santos as a defender.
"But I'm satisfied with how many of my players passed. They have not played competitive football for more than two years and except for Jerkovic (midfielder Ivan Jerkovic), it was all their first time. Even in Europe, Asia, Africa ... They don't have this test.
"The S-League officials were also pleasantly surprised with how many players passed. Some S-League players take three, four, five times to pass," added the Croatian.
A big reason Jerkovic passed the test was because he used to play for Singapore Armed Forces FC.
Not all hope is lost for the defensive duo since another test has been penned in for Friday.
The full list of eight players included defender Suhaime Md Yussof, Ampuan Mohd Nurul Azami Ampuan Hussin, midfielders Abang Norsilmy Abang Hj Taha, Mohd Hanafizal Helman Hanafiah and striker Md Zulremi Hj Zaini. Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral was also among the eight but he is still recovering from injury, as is Abang Norsilmy.
Despite this, fitness was not a problem when DPMM FC went up against Thai Premier League side Chiangrai United FC and beat them 2-1 in a charity match last month.
Though that point was brought up in the interview, the veteran coach felt there was more involved to the tests than just running.
"Even the last time we did it (during training) Yusof and Shahrulrizal did not make it.
"Maybe it is a mental thing.
"I hope they will pass (on Friday). If not, it will be a problem for DPMM FC."
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