National Team - Lions ● May 30, 2021

Tatsuma reflects on draw with Afghanistan in training match


Tatsuma Yoshida looks on during Singapore’s training match against Afghanistan, 29 May 2021


DUBAI, 30 MAY 2021 – A last-gasp equaliser denied Singapore victory in a closed-door training match against Afghanistan last night in Dubai.


A cool finish from Gabriel Quak was just reward for a strong first-half showing at Iranian Club Dubai, after Yasir Hanapi had a goal disallowed earlier due to a foul by Ilhan Fandi in the build-up. Seven changes were made at the break and one of those, Saifullah Akbar, came close to doubling the lead midway through the second half. However, Afghanistan, ranked 10 spots above the Lions by FIFA at 149, levelled with virtually the last kick of the game through Zubair Amiri’s header.



With every outfield player being given a run out bar Idraki Adnan and Shawal Anuar, who were carrying knocks, Coach Tatsuma Yoshida pointed out that the objectives of the match were achieved despite the draw.


“It was very important that some of the players had playing time as they have not had too many opportunities at their clubs,” he said after the match. “Today, they seemed in good condition and looked fresh, so that is good for the team and for me.


“We achieved our targets of testing some combinations, (working on) team chemistry and (trying out some) systems; all the things we planned to try, we did.”



However, Tatsuma acknowledged that his charges have to learn to hold on to leads and see out matches.


“I am disappointed (that we did not win),” he said. “Even during a training match, we have to win. We led them until it was almost full-time; in the last (minutes), we have to maintain, organise and we have to finish the game.


“We have to learn (to do) this one thing. A win is very different from a draw. Even if we are tired, even if the opponent might be strong but if we (have a) lead in the last minute, we have to keep and maintain our mindset, and not rush. It is all very important.”


The match concludes the Lions’ preparations in Dubai and the team will depart for Riyadh later this evening, where we are due to play Palestine on 3 June in the first of our three remaining Group D matches in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.



Singapore: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Madhu Mohana, Irfan Fandi, Shakir Hamzah, M. Anumanthan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Yasir Hanapi (C), Gabriel Quak, Hafiz Nor, Ilhan Fandi.
Subs: Hassan Sunny (GK), Zaiful Nizam (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Amirul Adli, Hafiz Sujad, Saifullah Akbar, Hami Syahin, Faris Ramli, Zulfahmi Arifin, Hazzuwan Halim.


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