National Team - Lions ● Dec 16, 2022
Lions take on Maldives in final pre-tournament friendly
Takayuki Nishigaya gives instructions to Nazrul Nazari, 11 December 2022
SINGAPORE, 16 DECEMBER 2022 – The Singapore Men’s National Team return to international action tomorrow evening with a friendly clash against the Maldives at Jalan Besar Stadium.
It will be the Lions’ final warm-up match before the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022, which begins on 24 December with the Group B opener against Myanmar.
“I was happy to see the players’ effort and commitment in every single training session during our time in Japan,” he told FAS.org.sg. “There, we were able to train with a very good intensity in cooler weather conditions and this helped them to improve in terms of physical conditioning. Since coming back from Japan, we have remained focused on that aspect but also increased work on the tactical side of things in training.
“The players’ dedication has been clear to see and we will be ready for the game against Maldives, as well as continue to improve ahead of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.”
Shawal Anuar, 14 December 2022
This will be the Lions’ seventh meeting against the Maldives, with the most recent encounter in March 2018 ending 3-2 in favour to Singapore at the National Stadium. The South Asian side are ranked 154th in the world by FIFA, six spots above Singapore. Francesco Moriero has called up 23 players, including the indefatigable Ali Ashfaq, who remains a potent force even at 37 with 57 goals in 89 caps.
Shawal Anuar featured in that previous clash against the Maldives and is looking forward to making his return on the international stage tomorrow, having missed out on the previous two Lions squads due to injury and the birth of his first child.
“I feel excited to be able to contribute again to the team and I hope that I can carry my club form over to the National Team,” the 31-year-old told FAS.org.sg. The forward scored 14 times and made seven assists for Hougang United this season, and helped them to glory in the Singapore Cup. Shawal was on target in his last Lions appearance in March against the Philippines in a 2-0 win and aims to add to that streak: “I always want to score whenever I play and I hope to get more goals for Singapore. To the fans, keep believing in us and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow!”
Ikhsan Fandi, 15 December 2022
Nishigaya is also keenly anticipating the match as it will be his first home fixture since taking charge in May, with his five matches to date having all been played overseas. Ryhan Stewart linked up with the squad on Tuesday, forming a 30-strong provisional team that will be whittled down to 23 for the matchday squad.
“This is my first home game since arriving in Singapore six months ago and I am really looking forward to playing in front of the home fans,” he said. “Our players are determined to display their best and I am looking forward to a good performance from them. We want to dedicate everything for this game and I hope that all of you can support us now and throughout the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.”
Kick-off for the match will be at 6pm and tickets can still be purchased at fas.org.sg/tickets. The match will also be broadcast LIVE on Mediacorp’s meWATCH platform.
View this post on Instagram