National Team - Lions ● Dec 03, 2021

Profile: Singapore Men’s National Team for AFF Suzuki Cup 2020

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SINGAPORE, 3 DECEMBER – In just two days’ time, the Lions will battle in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2020.

 

Tatsuma Yoshida and his charges will aim to win Southeast Asia’s flagship international tournament for a record-equalling fifth time to draw level with Thailand. The Lions kick off their Group A campaign against Myanmar on 5 December 2021, before going on to face the Philippines, Timor-Leste and Thailand over the subsequent 13 days. Tickets are available for purchase at www.fas.org.sg/tickets.

 

With the 13th edition being held on home soil, expectations to triumph will be high for Singapore. They will be led by captain Hariss Harun, with Shahdan Sulaiman serving as vice-captain.

 

With an average age of around 27.8 years (on 5 December), this team comprises four goalkeepers, nine defenders, eight midfielders and seven forwards. At 19 years and 27 days (on 5 Dec), Ilhan Fandi is the youngest member of the team.

 

Eleven players will be part of a Suzuki Cup squad for the first time – goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad, defenders Nur Adam Abdullah, Iqram Rifqi and Tajeli Salamat, midfielders Saifullah Akbar, Hami Syahin and Song Uiyoung as well as forwards Amy Recha, Hafiz Nor, Ilhan Fandi and Shawal Anuar.

 

Below, you will find a closer look at each of the 28 players who will aim to do the country proud!

 

GOALKEEPERS
Name: Hassan Sunny
DOB: 2-Apr-84 (37 years)
Height: 1.84m
Club:
Lion City Sailors
Caps: 86
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 7 (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 18

 

A long-time stalwart, Hassan began his professional career in 2003 and is still going strong today. Nicknamed “Superman”, the goalkeeper made his Lions debut in 2004 and has been part of two Suzuki Cup-winning squads (2004 and 2007). At club level, Hassan became the first and to date, only goalkeeper to win the S.LEAGUE (now AIA Singapore Premier League) Player of the Year in 2014 when his excellent displays helped Warriors FC to a record ninth crown. Earlier this year, he added another league title by helping the Lion City Sailors claim their maiden championship. This will be Hassan’s eighth Suzuki Cup campaign, drawing him level with Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak as the Lions to have been involved in the most editions.

Name: Izwan Mahbud
DOB: 14-Jul-90 (31 years)
Height: 1.81m
Club: Hougang United
Caps: 54
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 5 (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 1

 

The number one for the Lions in recent times, Izwan is no stranger to the Suzuki Cup – he starred in goal during the team’s most recent triumph in 2012. A brilliant shot-stopper, Izwan made his international debut in 2011 and shot to worldwide fame when he made a staggering 18 saves during Singapore’s 0-0 away draw with Japan in 2015 during a World Cup qualifier. A Malaysia Super League winner with the LionsXII in 2013, Izwan is as reliable as they come.

Name: Syazwan Buhari
DOB: 12-Sep-92 (29 years)
Height: 1.73m
Club: Tampines Rovers
Caps: 0
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2016)
Squad number: 12

 

A star in the Singapore Premier League, Syazwan has had to bide his time at international level. First called up to the Lions squad in 2016, the custodian has been involved with the team since but is yet to make his debut. Despite his relatively slighter frame, Syazwan is a capable deputy and will be ready if called upon.

Name: Zharfan Rohaizad
DOB: 21-Feb-97 (24 years)
Height: 1.81m
Club: Tanjong Pagar United
Caps: 0
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 30

 

An upcoming talent in goal, Zharfan has impressed in recent times for the Young Lions and at youth level for Singapore. An impressive 2021 campaign with Tanjong Pagar United saw him get the nod to be in his first ever Suzuki Cup squad and the experience should prove invaluable.

DEFENDERS
Name: Amirul Adli
DOB: 13-Jan-96 (25 years)
Height: 1.81m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 12
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2014)
Squad number: 5

 

Thrown into the deep end in the 2014 edition for only his fourth senior cap at just 18, Adli’s first taste of the Suzuki Cup is one he will not forget in a hurry. One of Singapore’s most promising young defenders when he rose through the youth ranks, the industrious centre-back worked his way back to the international fold in 2019 after missing out in the intervening years. Able to also play in defensive midfield, Adli is a modern defender capable of carrying the ball out while excelling in his duties.

Name: Iqram Rifqi
DOB: 25-Feb-96 (25 years)
Height: 1.77m
Club: Geylang International
Caps: 2
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 24

 

Iqram will relish his first Suzuki Cup experience after a difficult season. Somewhat of a late bloomer, Iqram began his career as an attacker but has successfully adapted to a more defensive role in recent years. A stellar season in 2019 with Home United earned Iqram his Lions debut and the versatile left-footer can fill in at left-back and left wing, offering a more attacking option on the flank.

Name: Irfan Fandi
DOB: 13-Aug-97 (24 years)
Height: 1.89m
Club: BG Pathum United (THA)
Caps: 30
Goals: 1
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2018)
Squad number: 17

 

A colossus of a defender, Irfan has grown into his role after initially starting off as a striker in his younger days. His maiden Lions appearance came in 2016 and after settling into his centre-back role with time, Irfan has established himself as a mainstay for both club – where he is a Thai league champion – and country.

Name: Nazrul Nazari
DOB: 11-Feb-91 (30 years)
Height: 1.65m
Club: Hougang United
Caps: 43
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2018)
Squad number: 4

 

An attacker turned full-back, the nippy Nazrul has staked his claim for the right side of defence for the Lions in recent years with his consistent displays. While his slight stature puts him at a disadvantage against physically more imposing opposition, Nazrul never shirks a challenge. His wits and pace also make him a handy outlet in attack.

Name: Nur Adam Abdullah
DOB: 13-Apr-01 (20 years)
Height: 1.60m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 1
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 25

 

Long regarded as an exciting prospect, this season proved to be a breakthrough one for Nur Adam. With his dynamic and effervescent displays at left-back, the youngster played a key role in helping the Lion City Sailors win the Singapore Premier League and in the process, impressed enough to be named the Young Player of the Year. The defender, who can also play at centre-back and in midfield, continued his rapid ascent by earning his first Singapore call-up and subsequently, his first cap last month.

Name: Safuwan Baharudin
DOB: 21-Sep-91 (30 years)
Height: 1.82m
Club: Selangor FC (MAS)
Caps: 97
Goals: 11
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 5 (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 21

 

An immensely talented youth prospect, Safuwan has blossomed into one of the finest defenders that Singapore has ever seen. The elegant centre-back is the complete package – equally good with his feet as he is on the ground and in the air. Now a senior figure who can impart his experience to those following in his footsteps, Safuwan is a key figure for the Lions as he closes in on a century of appearances.

Name: Shakir Hamzah
DOB: 20-Oct-92 (29 years)
Height: 1.80m
Club: Tanjong Pagar United
Caps: 54
Goals: 3
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 2

 

Described by many as one of the most naturally gifted players in the team, Shakir’s no-holds barred approach serves him well on the field. Comfortable at both centre-back and left-back, his all-round dynamism is a huge asset for the Lions and gives him an edge in both attack and defence.

Name: Tajeli Salamat
DOB: 7-Feb-94 (27 years)
Height: 1.75m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 1
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 3

 

A dream came true for Tajeli in November this year when he finally made his debut for the Lions. The defender had only earned his first-ever call-up back in March but his impressive displays at club level have helped him to keep his place in the squad. Able to play anywhere across defence and also in midfield, Tajeli appears to be at his most effective at right-back, where his excellent technical ability allows him to deliver pinpoint crosses.

Name: Zulqarnaen Suzliman
DOB: 29-Mar-98 (23 years)
Height: 1.70m
Club: Young Lions
Caps: 13
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2018)
Squad number: 13

 

Having impressed for the Young Lions in 2018, Zulqarnaen made his international debut later that year under Fandi Ahmad and showed enough to book his spot in the Suzuki Cup squad. A swift winger in his early days, Zulqarnaen is a fearless competitor who has adapted and flourished in a right-back role.

MIDFIELDERS
Name: Adam Swandi
DOB: 12-Jan-96 (25 years)
Height: 1.71m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 10
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2018)
Squad number: 27

 

At 25, Adam’s career looks to be back on track after an injury in 2019 blighted his progress for a year. A prodigy, the attacking midfielder rose to fame in 2011 at the Lion City Cup and subsequently signed for Ligue 2 side FC Metz in 2013. There, he trained with the likes of Maxwel Cornet during his two-year spell. The same year, Adam made his Lions bow at just 17 years of age. A gifted playmaker with a penchant for trickery and precise through balls, the 2018 Singapore Premier League Young Player of the Year still has plenty to offer.

Name: M. Anumanthan
DOB: 14-Jul-94 (26 years)
Height: 1.77m
Club:
Kedah FC (MAS)
Caps: 21
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 2 (2016, 2018)
Squad number: 6

 

A robust midfielder with a combative streak, Anu brings fire and tenacity to the Lions’ engine room. Injury blighted his 2020 season but he bounced back to enjoy a stellar 2021 campaign with his first overseas venture, at Malaysian side Kedah, by figuring heavily in their second-placed finish. His fine form bodes well for his third Suzuki Cup involvement.

Name: Hami Syahin
DOB: 16-Dec-98 (23 years)
Height: 1.65m
Club: Young Lions
Caps: 7
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 16

 

A slick operator in midfield, Hami is regarded as one of Singapore’s brightest current prospects. His small frame belies tremendous technical ability on the ball, while he is also not afraid to get stuck in if needed. A star at age-group levels, Hami finally made his Lions debut in 2019 under Coach Tatsuma and has put in impressive displays against the likes of Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia since. With his vision and talent, Hami will look to run the midfield at this tournament.

Name: Hariss Harun
DOB: 19-Nov-90 (31 years)
Height: 1.81m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 101
Goals: 10
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 4 (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 14

 

Singapore’s Captain Fantastic will lead them into battle for a second time at the Suzuki Cup and he will hope to lift the trophy at the end of it, just like he did in his tournament debut nine years ago. Enough has been said about the midfielder, who has excelled on a remarkably consistent basis at both club and international level since making his professional debut at 16. Now a veteran with over a century of appearances under his belt, Hariss is a bona fide leader and legend of Singapore football who will look to drive the Lions to glory.

Name: Saifullah Akbar
DOB: 31-Jan-99 (22 years)
Height: 1.63m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 4
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 28

 

Another talented midfielder in the Lions’ den, Saifullah’s stock has risen rapidly in the past two years. A brilliant 2020 season saw him win the Singapore Premier League Young Player of the Year accolade and Saifullah followed it up by playing a key role in the Lion City Sailors’ run to the title earlier this year. A creative presence in the middle of the park, Saifullah’s acute awareness means he is always a threat to the opposition.

Name: Shahdan Sulaiman
DOB: 9-May-88 (31 years)
Height: 1.80m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 68
Goals: 5
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 4 (2010, 2012, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 8

 

One of the best playmakers to grace Singapore football in recent times, Shahdan is the team’s creator-in-chief and pulls all the strings. Blessed with the ability to put the ball on a dime, the central midfielder always seems to be a step ahead of the opposition and is also a dead-ball specialist. It is testament to Shahdan’s ability that he is a first-choice pick for almost every coach at both club and international level, and he will be raring to go after missing out in the 2018 edition.

Name: Song Uiyoung
DOB: 8-Nov-93 (29 years)
Height: 1.73m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 1
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 15

 

Just three months on from becoming a newly-minted Singapore citizen, Song will get the opportunity to showcase his worth on the region’s biggest stage. Initially a defensive midfielder when he moved here aged 19, the Korea-born midfielder is now a versatile package who can be deployed as a box-to-box player, a number 10 or even as a false nine. His dynamism, coupled with a nose for goals, will make Song a valuable addition to the Lions.

Name: Zulfahmi Arifin
DOB: 5-Oct-91 (30 years)
Height: 1.78m
Club: Sukhothai FC (THA)
Caps: 49
Goals: 1
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 3 (2012, 2014, 2018)
Squad number: 23

 

Someone who lets his feet do the talking on the pitch, Zulfahmi is a well-rounded midfielder with superb technical ability. A regular in the Thai leagues in recent years, Zulfahmi’s left foot is a potent weapon while his intelligence means he can also deputise at left-back, wing-back and centre-back.

FORWARDS
Name: Amy Recha
DOB: 13-May-92 (29 years)
Height: 1.71m
Club: Geylang International
Caps: 1
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 7

 

Long seen as an explosive attacker with plenty of potential, everything came together for Amy in the 2021 season as his goal-scoring exploits lit up the Singapore Premier League. Twelve goals in 21 matches meant he earned a deserved call-up from Coach Tatsuma and his international debut finally arrived last month. The lively Amy is able to play anywhere across the front three and will be a useful offensive option for the Lions.

Name: Faris Ramli
DOB: 24-Aug-92 (29 years)
Height: 1.70m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 60
Goals: 9
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 10

 

A skilful attacker who is a nightmare for any opposition defender, Faris’ ability is in no doubt. A flying winger in his younger days, Faris has brought his game to the next level and added consistency to go along with it. Capable of wreaking havoc on either flank, as well as a number 10 or false nine, the tricky customer will be a key cog in the Lions attack.

Name: Gabriel Quak
DOB: 22-Dec-90 (31 years)
Height: 1.77m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 37
Goals: 5
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018)
Squad number: 22

 

A promising talent who perhaps struggled for consistency in his earlier years, Gabriel has cemented his status as one of local football’s most exciting attackers in recent years. A sparkling season with Siam Navy FC in the Thai top flight in 2018 seemed to buoy Gabriel, who took the league by storm the following year with Warriors FC. He then found another gear in 2020 with the Lion City Sailors, bagging the Player of the Year prize for an outstanding individual season. He played a key role again as the Sailors won the 2021 Singapore Premier League trophy and will hope to replicate his form at his fourth Suzuki Cup.

Name: Hafiz Nor
DOB: 22-Aug-88 (33 years)
Height: 1.70m
Club: Lion City Sailors
Caps: 8
Goals: 1
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 11

 

It is sometimes difficult to comprehend how Hafiz is still blowing past opponents on the flanks at the age of 33. The Flash, as he is aptly known, combines his searing pace with ability and is a throwback to an era where wingers hug the touchline. While Hafiz’s international debut came in 2013, he had to wait three years for his second cap and then a further three for his third, under Coach Tatsuma. However, he has been a regular in the Lions camp since and will be a barnstorming option in attack.

Name: Ikhsan Fandi
DOB: 9-Apr-99 (22 years)
Height: 1.85m
Club: FK Jerv (NOR)
Caps: 19
Goals: 8
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 1 (2018)
Squad number: 9

 

Regarded as the next proper number nine for the Lions, Ikhsan is already first-choice despite his young age. His physical attributes and his finishing ability make him a potent spearhead for the team and a goal ratio of almost one in two matches at international level is an impressive record. Having missed the World Cup qualifiers in June, Ikhsan will be raring to go again in a Singapore jersey.

Name: Ilhan Fandi
DOB: 8-Nov-02 (19 years)
Height: 1.83m
Club: Young Lions
Caps: 1
Goals: 0
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: None
Squad number: 19

 

The third Fandi brother is also the youngest, but Ilhan has a cool head on his shoulders. A first professional start arrived at just 16 in the Singapore Premier League and he already has 11 goals in 30 matches currently. While the lanky forward prefers a more withdrawn role, he has had to adapt his game and has done so with aplomb, while his fast-improving physical and technical attributes mark him out as someone to look out for. Ilhan made his debut for the Lions earlier this year and will be ready to perform if called upon.

Name: Shawal Anuar
DOB: 29-Apr-91 (29 years)
Height: 1.68m
Club: Hougang United
Caps: 13
Goals: 1
Previous Suzuki Cup involvements: 3
Squad number: 20

 

Someone who only began his professional career at 22, Shawal quickly made up ground by showing everyone what he was capable of. After impressing for Geylang International, the forward made his Lions debut in 2016 and then on his second cap, scored a terrific volley for his maiden international goal. He was in and out of the side before Coach Tatsuma’s arrival but has been a regular presence since. Shawal’s strengths are his power and unpredictability, which makes him difficult to defend against.

 

 

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