Domestic Competitions ● May 03, 2017

Continual Improvement the Key for Arion


After finishing as runners-up in the 2016 Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Women’s Premier League (WPL), one would think that Arion FA would place winning the title this year as a top priority.


However, according to defender and coach Charmaine Lim, the club is placing more importance on improving their players rather than their final position on the league table.


“Our target this season is to finish in the top three again,” explained the centre-back.


“Looking at our training sessions in the lead-up to the season, there is little time to iron out the little details. Our main focus will not be on position in the league table, but on how to improve the girls in every department. For example, how we can work together better for our defensive line in terms of basic movement and communication.”


With the WPL reorganised to form a two-division structure this season, it now consists of teams that finished in the top six positions from last year’s Premier League, with the other teams playing in the newly-introduced Women’s National League. Relegation has also been introduced this year.


Warriors FC, Arion, Tanjong Pagar United, Police Sports Association and Woodlands Wellington will have to fight for a top three position in the Premier League this year.


Lim does not believe that the reduced number of teams will affect the League’s competitiveness and is keen to stress that she and General Manager of Arion Yeong Sheau Shyan are keen to take the season one game at a time.


‚ÄúI don’t think it will be more competitive than last year because it is the same teams, just with more rounds,‚Äù explained Lim.


“When we address the players, it would be about setting targets and not being purely result-based, like we need to get second or we need to avoid getting relegated. It would be more realistic to set small targets for the girls to meet in every match we play, like understanding the formation that we are using.


“Woodlands will be a tough opponent for us because they always give us problems when we play them. They may not be the most skilful team, but they are very hardworking as a unit. We struggle to get results against them every year and so they are definitely our toughest opponent.”


Concurring with Lim’s sentiments was captain Pamela Kong, who also added that the reduced number of teams will force the team to stay consistent throughout the season.


‚ÄúOne of our main issues is that we play well against the bigger teams, but don’t do as well against the smaller teams,‚Äù said the goalkeeper, who also represents the Singapore‚Äôs Women National Team.


“It will force us to be more focused throughout the whole season and learn how to pace ourselves.”


Lim also admitted that the team depends a lot on striker Chris Yip-Au, who netted an impressive four goals in their 2016 FAS Challenge Cup Third Place Playoff 5-0 win over Police, as well as their National Team players.


Due to off-the-pitch commitments, Yip-Au will see lesser playing time this year but Lim has urged the rest of the team to step up.


“When crunch time comes, the spotlight will definitely be on certain players. It may not be on the national players,” said Lim.


“If we need a goal, Chris will definitely be one of the key goalscorers we look to, so we need people to step up when Chris is not around, which is another one of our objectives this season.


“We are hoping someone will step up and it will be interesting to see who it is.”

Arion will open their season against defending WPL champions Warriors at the Queenstown Stadium on Saturday 13 May. The match will kick off at 5pm.