National Team - Lions ● Nov 20, 2023

Singapore aims to get qualifying campaign back on track


From left to right: Teerasil Dangda, Thailand Head Coach Alexandre Polking, Singapore Head Coach Takayuki Nishigaya, Safuwan Baharudin, November 2023.


SINGAPORE, 20 NOVEMBER 2023 – The instruction by head coach Takayuki Nishigaya was clear: there was no time to feel sorry for themselves after last Thursday’s 5 – 0 opening loss to Korean Republic in the opening match of their second round of qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027. Singapore arrived back on home soil the next day looking to regroup and turn their focus on the next opponents in Group C, Thailand.


The Lions will look to utilise the home support of close to 25,000 fans at the Singapore National Stadium as they look to break their run of six games without a win against the War Elephants. Midfielder Shah Shahiran will serve an automatic one match suspension, after picking up his second yellow card of the Qualifiers during the game against Korea Republic. Irfan Fandi faces a race against time to make the matchday squad after limping off at half-time with a suspected calf injury. However, Zulqarnaen Suzliman and Hami Syahin will be raring to get back into team contention after being left out of the previous matchday squad.


Coach Nishigaya at the pre-match conference, November 2023. 


Having narrowly lost their opening game at home to China by a score of 2-1, the Thais will aim to put the defeat behind them. During his post-match comments, head coach Alexandré ‘Mano’ Pölking was already looking to rouse his players and the Thai fans as he confidently declared that his team will definitely get the three points against Singapore. However, Thailand will have to reshuffle their team tactics after the Brazilian-German tactician also mentioned that team captain and midfield talisman Chanathip Songkrasin along with defender Pansa Hemwiboon are not likely to feature against Singapore after picking up injuries against China.


Defender Safuwan Baharudin shared that he looks forward to finally getting the opportunity to play at home after an entire year: “It feels great to be back, especially playing at home. There are high expectations from our fans but this only serves to motivate us to rectify the mistakes we made against South Korea and perform better against Thailand. Personally, playing at the National Stadium is a significant driving factor for me and my teammates. We want to go all out, deliver a strong performance and secure a win against Thailand.


Coach Nishigaya said: We’re gearing up for our first home game, and we’re excited to see our fans at the stadium showing their support. Tomorrow, our focus is on being mentally and physically prepared. We know that the Thais are talented and technically adept, and we respect them but, we aim to capitalize on our home game advantage. On the field, our goal is to play as one team and one spirit, connecting not only among ourselves but also with our fans.



Safuwan Baharudin at the pre-match conference, November 2023. 


Ticket sales for the match against Thailand are currently ongoing and can be purchased via the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) website ( as well as Sistic ( Tickets are priced at S$25 for adults and S$10 for concessions. Each person is allowed to purchase a maximum of twelve tickets per transaction, across any category.


Match tickets may also be purchased onsite at the Singapore Sports Hub Box Office located at Kallang Wave Mall, on match day from 2:30 pm until 8:45 pm; however, this will be strictly subject to availability. Hence, fans are highly encouraged to purchase their tickets early and via the online sales channel to avoid the queues on match day.




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