Rafi Ali to lead Tampines Rovers
SINGAPORE — Former Singapore international Rafi Ali will take charge of the first team at Tampines Rovers following the resignation of former head coach Salim Moin, the defending S-League champions announced on the club’s Facebook page late on Sunday night.
Salim, also a former Singapore national player, stepped down after Tampines’ defeat to Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw FC last week saw them exit the Asian Football Confederations (AFC) Cup at the group stage.
Tampines Chairman Teo Hock Seng met the squad on Monday evening (Apr 28) at the Clementi Stadium where he briefed them of the plans ahead.
“From now Rafi will take charge of the team. We wish Salim all the best. I’m sure he (Salim) tried his best and gave his all when he was handling the team. But what can I do if he has chosen to resign?” said Teo.
Rafi, a former player and assistant coach with Tampines, met the players on Monday (Apr 28) and warned he would have to make difficult decisions in the club’s interests.
“I took charge for the first time on Monday evening and asked the players for their support. We know each other well in my long years with the club as a player and an assistant coach,” said the 41-year-old.
“We respect each other but I told them some decisions I make will not be popular. But we have a mission to accomplish at Tampines Rovers and all of us are in it together.”
Tampines are third in the 12-team S-League standings with 19 points from nine games, and trail leaders Brunei DPMM by three points.
Salim, 52, joined Tampines in December last year after a spell with S-League rivals Woodlands Wellington.
But the club missed out on a place in the knock-out stages of the AFC Cup after finishing third in Group H, behind Hong Kong’s Kitchee and Nay Pyi Taw of Myanmar.