First-team players given 2 rest days after win

Safuwan Baharudin chases Hariss Harun for the ball during a futsal training match in Amara Hotel. The two key players will be available for the tie against Cambodia on Tuesday.
Safuwan Baharudin chases Hariss Harun for the ball during a futsal training match in Amara Hotel. The two key players will be available for the tie against Cambodia on Tuesday.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

After scraping past Afghanistan against the run of play, national teams head coach Bernd Stange decided that the best way for his Lions to prepare for Tuesday's World Cup home qualifier against Cambodia was to give the first-teamers time to recharge their batteries.

After 90 minutes of aqua training at the Lions' base at Amara Hotel on Friday morning, the footballers who played in the 1-0 win were allowed to rest for two days.

The rest of the team played futsal on the hotel's rooftop pitch, had physiotherapy and sat through a video analysis from 9am-1pm.

They had another one-hour session last night.

The full squad will resume training today.

CAN'T PASS MUSTER

It was a painful and bad game. I think we played one of the worst games we have ever played. We could not even string three passes together. What is important now is for the players to be confident again.

BERND STANGE, Singapore coach on woeful performance against Afghanistan

Stange said: "The boys, like Faris (Ramli), they play more than Cristiano Ronaldo. They play in the (Asean Football Federation) Suzuki Cup, Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Cup... they are overloaded, they need to rest.

"For the players who didn't play, they continue with intensive training. We never stopped training."

Against Afghanistan, the Lions were pinned down for most parts of the game at the National Stadium by the visitors' pressing and passing game. However, the hosts managed to seal all three points through a Khairul Amri header off winger Faris' corner-kick.

Stange said: "It was a painful and bad game. I think we played one of the worst games we have ever played. We could not even string three passes together.

"What is important now is for the players to be confident again."

Singapore are third in Group E with seven points from four games, two behind second-placed Syria and three behind leaders Japan.

The four best runners-up across the eight groups in the Asian section will advance to the third round of World Cup qualifiers as well as the finals of the Asian Cup.

The Lions' opponents on Tuesday have lost all four matches and conceded 14 goals without scoring so far. Singapore beat Cambodia 4-0 in Phnom Penh in their opening game of the qualifiers.

The Lions will be boosted by the return of Safuwan Baharudin and Hariss Harun, two key midfielders who were serving a one-game suspension for the Afghanistan match.

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'First-team players given 2 rest days after win'. Print Edition | Subscribe