National Team - Lionesses ● Sep 20, 2021
Stephen Ng reflects on Lionesses’ training match with Tajikistan
Midfielder Ho Hui Xin challenges for the ball, 19 September 2021
DUSHANBE, 20 SEPTEMBER 2021 – The Singapore Women’s National Team drew with Tajikistan in a closed-door training match at the Hisor Central Stadium last night.
The match is part of Singapore’s preparations for their two Group C matches in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers, where the Lionesses will meet Indonesia on 24 and 27 September.
Head Coach Stephen Ng drew positives from the goal-less encounter, primarily with the Lionesses’ level of aggression that saw them win most of the challenges.
Ng, who took the helm in March this year, told FAS.org.sg: “It was a good outing as it allowed the team to get some international practice, which is vital in conditioning them to be match-ready, especially for our six debutants. It is very encouraging to see the players, first timers and seniors, stepping up to their duties and responsibilities on the pitch and putting on an inspired level of performance.
“This practice match allowed us to test out different combinations and settle back to our training routine after the long travel to Tajikistan. We were able to play the football we wanted to play last night, but we also see the things we need to fine-tune as we prepare for a tougher challenge against Indonesia.”
As the match allowed for unlimited substitutions, all 23 players had a run out against the taller and larger-built Tajiks to test themselves and acclimatise to the weather. In Hisor, 15 kilometres from Dushanbe, the match started at 6pm (9pm SGT) at a warm 33 degrees Celsius. However, by the final whistle, the temperature had gradually dropped by 10 degrees to a cool, dry climate. Nonetheless, the Lionesses adapted well and appeared unfazed by the change in weather.
Throughout the game, the team were in high spirits and gelled well to negate any offensive threats from the opposition, bar one that goalkeeper Noor Kusumawati confidently saved. The Lionesses came close to finding the net on several occasions through midfielders Lim Li Xian, Farhanah Ruhaizat and striker Danelle Tan, something that Ng deemed as an encouraging sign for the team’s level of cohesion.
Dorcas Chu on the ball, 19 September 2021
The squad arrived in Dushanbe on 17 September after a 24-hour journey and were able to have a full day’s worth of preparation before meeting with Tajikistan last night. This is the second time Singapore has played the Tajiks. In the first round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in November 2018, the Lionesses fell to a heavy 6-0 defeat. Four players who appeared then are in the current squad: captain Ernie Sulastri, goalkeeper Pamela Kong, striker Raudhah Kamis and midfielder Ho Hui Xin.
Ho, who has 27 international caps, took heart from the performance last night and said: “The last time we played them, we were defending for the most part. This time around, we were able to have control and create several attacking chances. The players were all on the same page and we were able to execute the game plan set out for us. We will bring the positives from this to our qualifying battle against Indonesia.”
Stephanie Dominguez shields the ball, 19 September 2021
Singapore will use the next three days to recover and execute preparation work before meeting the Garuda Pertiwis, who arrived in Dushanbe earlier today.
The AFC confirmed earlier today that the team with the most number of points will progress to the finals in India. Should both Singapore and Indonesia have the same number of points, the team with the superior goal difference will progress. In the event that both teams cannot be separated by the preceding two tiebreakers, a penalty shootout will be used to determine the qualifier.
Singapore: Lila Tan, Danelle Tan, Sara Merican, Izzati Rosni, Winette Lim, Fatin Ridzwan, Raudhah Kamis, Ho Hui Xin, Noor Kusumawati (GK), Khairunnisa Khairol Anwar, Ernie Sulastri (C).
Bench: Beatrice Tan (GK), Pamela Kong (GK), Dhaniyah Qasimah, Dorcas Chu, Farhanah Ruhaizat, Lim Li Xian, Nicole Lim, Nurhidayu Naszri, Stephanie Dominguez, Syazwani Ruzi, Umairah Hamdan, Venetia Lim.