National Team - Lions ● May 31, 2022

Lions set for Kuwait test


The Lions took to the training ground for the first time in Abu Dhabi on 30 May 2022


ABU DHABI, 31 MAY 2022 – After a journey of almost 12 hours from Changi Airport to their accommodation in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates by plane and then bus, the Singapore Men’s National Team got down to business on Monday evening after a good night’s rest.


Ahead of his first training session ever with the entire Lions squad that was named a week ago, Head Coach Takayuki Nishigaya laid out his playing philosophies and expectations in a team meeting prior to departure from the hotel, which took around half an hour.


At the training ground, Nishigaya put his ideas into practice over 70 minutes or so ahead of the international ‘A’ friendly match against Kuwait on Wednesday evening (1 June) – the focus was on the defensive aspects, with work on offensive organisation to come in today’s training session.



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“I feel it was a good training session because I felt that everybody has a high level of commitment and I am very happy,” the Japanese told afterwards. “Of course, it is a new challenge (for me)… we can improve definitely and I have confidence that we can improve (more) every day.”


Forward Gabriel Quak, who was glad to hit the training ground where a light breeze and relatively dry conditions set the backdrop for an energetic session, said: “He set the tone in the meeting and (explained) the things he wants us to do, such as in terms of transition. There are some changes from the ideas of Coach Tatsuma (Yoshida, previous Head Coach) but it is definitely not something new to us; it is just a little bit of tweaking so even though the game is two days away and this is our first training under him… we are definitely good to go.”


Set to kick off at 7pm local time (11pm Singapore time) behind closed doors at the Al Nahyan Stadium, the test against 146th-ranked Kuwait is part of the Lions’ preparations for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup™ 2023 Qualifiers Final Round campaign that begins on 8 June in Bishkek, Krygyz Republic. “Live” match updates will be provided on the FAS’ Twitter account, while the starting line-up, half-time and full-time scores will also be updated across Facebook and Instagram.


It will be the 10th meeting between both sides and the first since January 2008, when goals from Fahrudin Mustafic and Aleksandar Duric sealed a 2-0 friendly victory in Muscat, Oman. The match will allow Nishigaya to assess his side for the first time in a match setting before the Group F matches against the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Myanmar.


“We want to try to play with initiative, in both attacking and defending aspects, against Kuwait,” he said. “We want to challenge (our opponents) and try to win the ball aggressively. We can also understand where we need to improve and then work on those areas after the match, before we go into the Qualifiers and aim to qualify for the Asian Cup.”


Song Uiyoung gets a shot away during a training session, 30 May 2022


Feeling “hungry and fresh”, Quak is relishing the prospect of donning Singapore colours again, having been included in the Lions squad for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury last December.


“I think Kuwait is a good warm-up, a good test for us,” he said. “I think anything can happen and there is definitely a chance that we can try to make something out of the Qualifiers. So I hope that we can make full use of this friendly in terms of how we want to adjust to Coach’s strategies and things like that, before we head to Bishkek.”


Singapore Men’s National Team Fixtures for June 2022

Date Time (in SGT) Match Competition Venue
1 June 2022, Wednesday 11pm Kuwait vs Singapore International ‘A’ Friendly Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi
8 June 2022, Wednesday 11pm Kyrgyz Republic vs Singapore AFC Asian Cup 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, Bishkek
11 June 2022, Saturday 6.30pm Singapore vs Tajikistan
14 June 2022, Tuesday 6.30pm Myanmar vs Singapore


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