Madhu Mohana
Madhu will lead Tampines against Albirex on Sunday

Albirex Niigata and Tampines Rovers begin their S.League 2017 campaigns with a clash in Great Eastern Community Shield tie, which will be played for the first time at the National Stadium on Sunday.

The defending S.League champions, who created history last season by winning an unprecedented quadruple, will not only look to lay down an early marker with another title but also collect three crucial points in the league opener at the 55,000-seater venue.

On the other hand, Tampines, who finished the season last year without a single piece of silverware, would be hoping to avenge their last season's Singapore Cup final defeat tomorrow.

While both sides have undergone considerable changes, including the arrival of new managers, Tampines have had time to warm-up with their new outfit as they have featured in two continental games already.

Despite losing the likes of Jermaine Pennant, Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet, the Stags have found able replacements in Croatian import Ivan Dzoni, winger Ryutaro Megumi from Japan, South Korea playmaker Son Yong Chan and national stars Khairul Amri and Madhu Mohana, who will also skipper the team this season.

Former Garena Young Lions coach Juergen Raab has taken over the coaching duties and he has opened his campaign with a 2-1 win over Causeway rivals Felda United in the AFC Cup 2017 opener last Tuesday, Amri and Son found the back of the nets in the game, in which Raab relied on veterans Bennett and Fahrudin Mustafic at the backline.

Albirex, on the other hand, have retained only seven of their players, who played last season and their notable exclusions include last season's top-scorer Atsushi Kawata, Atsushi Shirota and Tatsuro Inui. There will be huge pressure on newly-appointed coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga to replicate the success of last season's tactician Naoki Naruo but with very little pre-season exposure, the White Swans are in for a stiff test tomorrow.

Team News

Albirex

Squad: Amanda, Menda, Akiyama, Yamanouchi, Tanaka, Inaba, Nakai, Kamata, Sano, Nagasaki, Sakamoto, Yanagi, Motoda, Kondo, Kumada, Matsuki, Iwaki, Kodama, Nozawa, Kataoka, Junpei, Sato, Yamazaki

Tampines

Possible XI: Mahbud; Mukhtar, Mohana, Mustafic, Bennett, Shah; Megumi, Son, Hanapi, Sandhu; Dzoni