The coach of the Singapore men’s floorball team, Matti Joutsikoski, declares that the team will achieve their best-ever performance in Prague. The team’s best finish was in 1996 in Sweden, when their final standing was 12th.
Joutsikoski is confident about his team, which is ranked 17th in the IFF Nation Ranking:
– We are going to have the best-ever results Singapore has achieved, that’s our target, he told The New Paper at the sidelines of the national teams’ jersey launch at Our Tampines Hub last Friday. He continues: – We want to demonstrate clearly that Singapore has taken significant steps in the last couple of years.
To realise their target, the team will organise a 18-day training camp, the first ahead of WFC, in Tampere, Finland. Finland has some world-class clubs like SC Classic and TPS (Turun Palloseura) and their men’s national team is high in the rankings, partly due to their status as WFC title holder.
– Classic is the current Finnish champion, winning the league three times in a row, and half of the Finland national team, comes from Classic, says Joutsikoski and continues:
– We have the opportunity to train where world champions train and excel, and we want to get our team competitive in that setting. There will be high-intensity training sessions with Classic, with game elements factored in.
The team Singapore will also visit TPS from Turku.
– It is the same with TPS. They are one of the top clubs in Finland and we will visit them as well. In fact, we will have one friendly match against a TPS farm (reserve) team, Joutsikoski says.
TPS, Classic and Singapore have trained together before as well, since a Finnish league (Salibandyliiga) match was played in Singapore between team Classic and TPS in November 2017. This was first time ever when the Finnish league game was played outside Finland. More information about the game here.
National player Siraaj Ramadhan, can prove the quality of Classic, having undergone a 40-day training camp with the Classic Floorball Academy earlier this year:
– One of the biggest differences between Finland and us is the speed, said Siraaj, who turns out for Black Wondersticks in the top division of the Singapore Floorball League.
– They have superhuman reaction time. We may have similar technical ability, but we don’t react in game situations the way they do. The other big difference is the speed at which passes are made. Their passing is like our shooting and that can pose a huge problem… Hence, being able to train in Tampere for close to three weeks at such an electric pace ahead of the world championship might give us that added advantage over our group-stage opponents, Siraaj says.
Singapore plays in Group D, together with Slovakia (10th in the ranking), Canada (12th) and Japan (16th) in the 16-team tournament. The Republic’s record against their group-stage opponents may not be favourable for team Singapore, but Joutsikoski, who took over as the coach in May 2017, has measured their opponents. Singapore has played against Slovakia and Canada once and lost both encounters, while they managed two wins and three draws in 10 games against Japan.
According to Joutsikoski, all the three teams in their group have different styles:
– Canada has an excellent ice hockey background and we have played against them before (A 2-1 loss in the 2016 WFC, when Joutsikoski was Singapore’s assistant manager.)
– We played against Japan a number of times, with the last two meetings ending in draws. Slovakia had an excellent tournament against Latvia, Germany and Denmark just a couple of weeks ago, so we know that they are a technically good and fast side.
A 26-man squad is departing from Singapore to Tampere on Friday and Saturday before heading to Prague on Nov 27, with only 20 players continuing for the WFC.
Source: Narendaren Karnageran/The New Paper
Photos: IFF Flickr