Tanjong Katong secure zonal title with captain's treble
Skipper scores hat-trick to lead his side to zonal title
C BOYS EAST ZONE FINAL
TANJONG KATONG SECONDARY 3
CORAL SECONDARY SCHOOL 2
Revenge was sweet for Tanjong Katong Secondary School when they beat Coral Secondary School 3-2 to lift the C Division East Zone football title yesterday at Temasek Polytechnic.
Their hero was 14-year-old skipper Vasileios Ziko Chua, who scored a hat-trick as Tanjong Katong overcame the favourites, who had beaten them 2-1 in an earlier preliminary-round encounter.
Speaking after the victory, Vasileios said: "We felt that we were the underdogs as Coral have already beaten us once in the tournament.
"But that didn't make us think that we would lose, and we still felt that we had a very good chance of winning."
It looked as if it was business as usual for Coral when they capitalised on a defensive mistake early in the first half to put themselves ahead.
But Tanjong Katong responded swiftly, with Vasileios going past two defenders and rounding the goalkeeper smartly to roll the ball into the back of the net.
It was the Vasileios show in the second half, as he struck twice to ensure victory for Tanjong Katong, despite a late Coral goal off a free-kick just before the final whistle.
"We lost to them 3-0 last year, but what happened last year stays there. We've put in a lot from last year to this day and I think our hard work has paid off," Vasileios said.
Tanjong Katong's football success is perhaps not a surprise, as their coaching set-up includes former Singapore goalkeeper Rezal Hassan and Mohd Noor Ali, currently assistant coach at S.League club Geylang International.
"The boys deserve it, they had a pre-season tour and also a training camp, all in preparation for this. Even though it was a one-hour game, they still gave their all and that proves how much they really wanted it," said Rezal.
Both teams will now feature in the C Division National Championship and Tanjong Katong head coach Mohd Azahari is setting his sight far.
"Now that we are East Zone champions, our target for the Nationals is the semi-finals," he said.
"The last time we were in Nationals was in 2012 and we lost to Hong Kah in the final. This year's squad are decent so I see no reason why we cannot reach the semi-finals."
I think some of us were nervous... but it was a privilege to play in the final. I think we did a very good job.
- Tanjong Katong captain and hat-trick hero, Vasileios Ziko Chua
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