National Team - Lions ● Sep 08, 2018

Suzlimans salute family after making Lions debuts


– Last night was one that Zulfadhmi Suzliman and his younger brother, Zulqarnaen (above) will remember for the rest of their lives.


The brothers were handed their senior international debuts by Fandi Ahmad, who included the Suzlimans in his first ever starting line-up as they faced Mauritius at Bishan Stadium.


Zulqarnaen, who plays for Young Lions, was deployed at right-back while Tampines Rovers FC attacker Zulfadhmi was tasked to roam the left wing.


“I am happy for Zulfadhmi, who played very well and could have scored,” Fandi said after the game. “Mamat (Zulqarnaen’s nickname) was fantastic on the right.”


Zulfadhmi, who saw a shot blocked and another one saved, was a bright spark on the flank with his incisive running and the main outlet for the Lions in the first half as he went on to complete the full 90 minutes.


“I didn’t really expect to start but I am really happy with my debut,” the 22-year-old (below) told the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) website. “I didn’t expect to play the whole game (either) but I managed to pull through! The intensity is really very different from the Singapore Premier League.”

His sibling’s role was a less offensive one but after a nervy start, Zulqarnaen settled in well and held his own against opposing wingers Francis Rasolfonirina and Jeremy Villeneuve, who took turns to switch flanks. The 20-year-old was able to match their pace and put in a couple of well-timed challenges, before being replaced by Faritz Hameed on 65 minutes.


“I feel really honoured to get my debut,” he told the FAS website. “I didn’t expect to get playing time as I know there are other players (in my position) in this team… We gave our best but maybe we can do better; (after all) this is our first time and we will try to improve in the next match.”


The pair also paid tribute to their family for their support in their footballing careers, in particular their mother and late grandfather.


“We have made our family proud,” Zulqarnaen said. “Our late grandfather really wanted us to play under Coach Fandi and this is a dream come true for us.


“Our mother has given us everything we need for football such as boots and shirts; she’s always there to support us so we just want to say, ‘thank you for supporting us since we were young’ and I hope we make her proud one day.”