National Teams – Age-group ● Jun 16, 2021
Under-22 National Team conclude first centralised training of the year
SINGAPORE, 16 JUNE 2021 – Singapore Under-22 National Team Selectors Nazri Nasir and Philippe Aw conducted a series of training sessions for players from the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) during the recent international break.
The duo called up 29 players for the three-week centralised training camp after monitoring and following them closely during the season, as well as in consultation with the SPL clubs. The camp marked the start of the squad’s preparations for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers and 2021 Southeast Asian Games, both of which are tentatively scheduled to take place in October and November respectively.
The squad consists of 14 players from six SPL clubs, excluding the Young Lions, and includes three players – Farhan Zulkifli, Nur Adam Abdullah and Ryhan Stewart – who had been called up by National Team Coach Tatsuma Yoshida to join the senior team’s training camp earlier in March this year.
In addition to the daily training sessions, the Under-22s also played three local friendlies against the SPL sides that secured a top-three finish in the league last season. These matches enabled the coaches to assess the players’ abilities and team tactics. The team beat Albirex Niigata (S) 4-2 and Tampines Rovers 1-0 before rounding things off with a 4-2 win over Lion City Sailors in their final friendly. Given the evolving COVID-19 situation, friendlies against international opponents have been put on hold during this period.
Philippe, who took charge of the team’s training sessions and friendly matches, said: “The training sessions had been very positive and allowed us to achieve our objectives of educating the players on our national playing philosophy of ‘proactive, possession-based high tempo’ football. The coaching team also had the opportunity to communicate and get to know the individual players better as well as see them up close in trainings and friendly matches.”
“The friendly matches provided a good opportunity for us to test our defensive and attacking principles against our opponents who play possession-based football, similar to our future opponents in upcoming competitions, and allowed us to review and make improvements,” he added. “The players showed good attitude and commitment during the past three weeks of training and a key factor was due to the positive environment created by the backroom staff and players alike. It is important to maintain, if not enhance, this environment in the months ahead so that the players and team can continue to develop and improve their performance in a productive and efficient manner.”
Nazri, who is continuing his final phase of his rehabilitation process following a medical procedure late last year, oversaw the strategic and tactical aspects of the team and was encouraged by what he saw from the players.
He commented: “While the current pandemic has presented us with a challenging situation, the centralised training gave both Philippe and me the opportunity to gather these players as a squad and further assess them, having seen all of them in action in the SPL this year for their respective clubs. The planned friendly matches also acted as platforms for the technical team and I to apply the various strategies we have been working on to bring the best out of the team, as we prepare for the AFC U23 Qualifiers and the SEA Games.”
Throughout the course of the training camp, the team adhered to strict safe management measures and all other necessary safety protocols in order to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission during this period. All players and officials who attended the training sessions were also swabbed as part of the measures taken.