National Team - Lions ● Dec 04, 2021
Lions raring to go against Myanmar in AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 opener
Singapore Head Coach Tatsuma Yoshida, 4 December 2021
SINGAPORE, 4 DECEMBER 2021 – Singapore will finally kick things off in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2020 when they host Myanmar in their Group A opener at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub on Sunday night.
With a sold-out crowd expected, Head Coach Tatsuma Yoshida is urging his charges to embrace the pressure and put up a performance for the home fans to be proud of. The match kicks off at 8.45pm and can be streamed LIVE on Mediacorp’s MeWatch platform for free.
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“Of course there will be pressure as we are the hosts, but I think it will be good pressure for the team,” he said at the pre-tournament virtual press conference on Saturday afternoon. “We know the fans are always behind us and it is a big positive to be able to play in front of them again.
“For a long time, we could not have major sports events in Singapore (due to the pandemic) so everyone is looking forward to this tournament. We have to show our fighting spirit, play as a team and try to get the three points for the supporters.”
While Myanmar beat Singapore 2-1 in a friendly at the National Stadium in June 2019 during Tatsuma’s second game at the helm, Singapore have a perfect record from five matches against them in the history of this competition.
Embroiled in political turmoil back home, Myanmar are missing key players like Kyaw Ko Ko and Aung Thu due to a protest against a military coup earlier this year.
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Nonetheless, Tatsuma refuses to take a victory for granted against the embattled visitors.
“We have to respect Myanmar – I know they have a political situation but that also means their motivation will be quite high,” he said. “For us, our focus is really just game-by-game. The first match is obviously the most important so we are going (all) out to win this game.”
The mood has been upbeat in the Singapore camp, where up to 11 players could make their tournament debuts. When asked about one of them, South Korea-born Song Uiyoung, Tatsuma said: “Song has been in Singapore for so long (since 2012) that he has a mindset and style that is already very Singaporean. He brings a breath of fresh air with his strength, energy and technical ability. Of course, I have expectations of him to perform. He has a strong goal-scoring ability and that is what I hope to see during this tournament.”
Shawal Anuar in action against Morocco A’, 16 November 2021
Another Lion who is also looking to make an impact in his maiden AFF Suzuki Cup is Shawal Anuar, who started both of Singapore’s matches during their Dubai training camp in November as they fell 2-1 and 7-1 respectively to the Kyrgyz Republic (international friendly) and Morocco A’ (training match).
“Even though the results were not on our side, the games provided good opportunities for us to understand each other better and correct some mistakes before the tournament,” the 30-year-old told FAS.org.sg.
“We are bonding well as a team. Personally, I am positive that I will be able to link up well with the other attackers. With Faris (Ramli), we still have a good understanding as we have played several times together in the past. For Ikhsan (Fandi), maybe we need a bit more time together but there have been good signs already.”
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Having missed the 2016 and 2018 editions due to injury, Shawal is relishing the opportunity to make up for past heartbreaks as he looks to add to his tally of a solitary goal in 13 international outings.
“I am really excited that I am finally going to play in the Suzuki Cup after so long,” the Hougang United star said. “All this while, I have been supporting the team from the stands for every edition, including 2012 when we last won the Cup. I had not even started my professional football career then!
“So for sure, I am going to give my 110 per cent and it would be a huge dream come true for me if I manage to score against Myanmar in front of 10,000 fans. But the main focus is really on the team – we have to really work hard for each other and play the brand of high-intensity football that Coach Tatsuma likes us to play.”
- This is the first time we are playing Myanmar in a Suzuki Cup opener.
- Daniel Bennett holds our all-time record for most Suzuki Cup appearances, consecutive starts and starts – all 34 each. Shahril Ishak is next with 32 appearances.
- The current squad member with the most appearances is Safuwan Baharudin, with 18 (all consecutive starts). Hassan Sunny is next on 13 appearances.
- Noh Alam Shah is our all-time top scorer with 17 goals. Agu Casmir follows with 11 and Khairul Amri with 10.
- Our current top scorer is Hariss Harun and Safuwan, with three each.
- 30 different players have scored at least once for Singapore.
- Two players have scored three or more goals in one match: 2 occasions by Alam Shah (seven goals and hat-trick), once by Safuwan (hat-trick).
- Seven players have scored a total of 10 braces: Fandi Ahmad, Ahmad Latiff, Indra Sahdan, Agu (thrice), Shahril (twice), Hariss, and Ikhsan Fandi
- Four players have scored a total of seven penalties: Steven Tan, Agu (twice), Alam Shah, Fahrudin Mustafic (thrice)
- 90 different players have made at least one appearance for Singapore.
- Hassan is involved in a Suzuki Cup for an eighth time, joint-most with Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril.