National Team - Lions ● Oct 08, 2021
Provisional Singapore squad announced for AFF Suzuki Cup 2020
27 players to vie for a spot in the final Lions squad for Group A campaign in December
SINGAPORE, 8 OCTOBER 2021 – Singapore Men’s National Team Coach Tatsuma Yoshida today named 27 players in the provisional squad for the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2020.
The Lions will begin their Group A campaign against Myanmar on 5 December 2021 and go on to face the Philippines, Brunei or Timor-Leste, and Thailand over the subsequent 13 days. Nine players could potentially be part of a Singapore squad at Southeast Asia’s flagship international tournament for the first time – goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad, defenders Nur Adam Abdullah, Iqram Rifqi and Tajeli Salamat, midfielders Saifullah Akbar and Song Uiyoung as well as forwards Amy Recha, Hafiz Nor and Shawal Anuar.
Five overseas-based players have been included – defenders Safuwan Baharudin (Selangor FC, Malaysia) and Irfan Fandi (BG Pathum United, Thailand), midfielders M. Anumanthan (Kedah FC, Malaysia) and Zulfahmi Arifin (Sukhothai FC, Thailand) and forward Ikhsan Fandi (FK Jerv, Norway). Young Lions midfielder Hami Syahin and forward Ilhan Fandi are on the standby list.
The squad will commence centralised training from 25 October, two weeks after the SPL season ends. Opportunities for friendly matches and a training camp are being explored as part of preparations and details will be announced when finalised. Up to 30 players can be registered for the final tournament squad, which will be confirmed in end November.
Tatsuma sat down with FAS.org.sg to share more about his decisions behind his selection as well as the plans for the team’s preparations.
FAS: What was the thinking behind the player selection for this provisional squad?
Tatsuma: There are a few factors behind the selection process. First, their performances throughout the entire 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, where I observed the players’ technical abilities along with their character – qualities like their spirit, motivation, and passion for the game. After, I also considered player combinations and squad dynamics when picking this team, which will allow us to perform to our best on the pitch. Lastly, by also looking at the time frame. We have a window of around six weeks to prepare for the month-long tournament and during this period, I will properly assess the players’ abilities and performances.
FAS: How about players who have had fewer playing minutes in the SPL?
Tatsuma: Yes, I know that some players did not have much playing opportunities in the SPL, like Iqram Rifqi and Adam Swandi for example, both of whom had to overcome major knee injuries in the past two years. But I know their ability and I’ve seen them perform when I called them up in 2019 when I first came to Singapore. They are almost back in their top condition post-injury, and we have the time to see and assess their performance over the next six weeks. If the tournament was in two weeks’ time, I wouldn’t call them up; it’s impossible. I have included them in the squad because I want to see whether they can improve and show the same level back from two years ago. If they are able to perform and reach my expectations that I have set for them, they can serve as very good options for the Lions.
FAS: With the AFF allowing 30 players to be registered, how did you decide on the size of the provisional squad?
Tatsuma: As our season is coming to an end, the provisional squad selection had to be made now instead of closer to the tournament. If the season was going to continue for a while longer, like how it is in some countries, I probably would have decided on a longer list. I will take it as a positive – that without the domestic competition, it means that we have more time to prepare. In the end, I decided on this number so that we can prepare these players intensively, with up to seven training sessions over five days per week. It is going to be rigorous and we want to maintain training quality and productivity, with a more focused approach in terms of squad numbers.
While we can register 30 players, this does not mean that all the players in the provisional squad will make it. I will take these six weeks to assess each player’s condition and form before making a final decision prior to the start of the competition. The final number is not fixed, and it is up to the players to prove themselves and show their desire to make the squad. With that said, there is still the opportunity for me to add to the list as I will be keeping an eye on the players who will be taking part in the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers in Singapore at the end of the month.
FAS: What are the plans for the Lions ahead?
Tatsuma: The players will first have a short break of about two weeks after the SPL concludes, which is a critical time for them to recharge since they have been training since the league’s pre-season in January and have been competing for the past seven months. After that, preparations will begin, with the first two weeks being focused purely on conditioning them physically. We will emphasise on the squad’s fitness and recapping the tactical concepts we have practiced. The players will then be gathered for a training camp where we will possibly look to play a few friendly matches before we enter the last phase of gearing up for the tournament.
FAS: What are your thoughts on the team’s chances for this tournament?
Tatsuma: We are playing at home which is a big advantage for us, and we will look to make the most of it. We will take each game one at a time but also always have the aim of playing in the final at the Singapore National Stadium. It is a month-long tournament and we want to play till the New Year, which would be a great way for us and our fellow Singaporeans to welcome 2022.
Singapore, four-time winners of the AFF Suzuki Cup, will host the 10-team tournament from 5 December 2021 to 1 January 2022.
The AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 will be held across three locations at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Bishan Stadium and Singapore National Stadium. Ticketing details will be announced closer to the tournament.
Singapore Men’s National Team Squad for September 2021
|1||Hassan Sunny||GK||85||0||2-Apr-84||Lion City Sailors|
|2||Izwan Mahbud||GK||54||0||14-Jul-90||Hougang United|
|3||Syazwan Buhari||GK||0||0||22-Sep-92||Tampines Rovers|
|4||Zharfan Rohaizad||GK||0||0||21-Feb-97||Tanjong Pagar United|
|5||Amirul Adli||DF||12||0||13-Jan-96||Lion City Sailors|
|6||Iqram Rifqi||DF||2||0||25-Feb-96||Geylang International|
|7||Irfan Fandi||DF||29||1||13-Aug-97||BG Pathum United (THA)|
|8||Jacob Mahler||DF||3||1||10-Apr-00||Young Lions|
|9||Nazrul Nazari||DF||42||0||11-Feb-91||Hougang United|
|10||Nur Adam Abdullah||DF||0||0||13-Apr-01||Lion City Sailors|
|11||Safuwan Baharudin||DF||96||11||22-Sep-91||Selangor FC (MAS)|
|12||Shakir Hamzah||DF||53||3||20-Oct-92||Tanjong Pagar United|
|13||Tajeli Salamat||DF||0||0||7-Feb-94||Lion City Sailors|
|14||Zulqarnaen Suzliman||DF||13||0||29-Mar-98||Young Lions|
|15||Adam Swandi||MF||10||0||12-Jan-96||Lion City Sailors|
|16||M. Anumanthan||MF||21||0||14-Jul-94||Kedah FC (MAS)|
|17||Hami Syahin*||MF||6||0||16-Dec-98||Young Lions|
|18||Hariss Harun||MF||101||10||19-Nov-90||Lion City Sailors|
|19||Saifullah Akbar||MF||3||0||31-Jan-99||Lion City Sailors|
|20||Shahdan Sulaiman||MF||67||4||9-May-88||Lion City Sailors|
|21||Song Uiyoung||MF||0||0||8-Nov-93||Lion City Sailors|
|22||Zulfahmi Arifin||MF||48||1||5-Oct-91||Sukhothai FC (THA)|
|23||Amy Recha||FW||0||0||13-May-92||Geylang International|
|24||Faris Ramli||FW||59||9||24-Aug-92||Lion City Sailors|
|25||Gabriel Quak||FW||36||5||22-Dec-90||Lion City Sailors|
|26||Hafiz Nor||FW||8||1||22-Aug-88||Lion City Sailors|
|27||Ikhsan Fandi||FW||18||8||9-Apr-99||FK Jerv (NOR)|
|28||Ilhan Fandi*||FW||1||0||8-Nov-02||Young Lions|
|29||Shawal Anuar||FW||12||1||29-Apr-91||Hougang United|
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