SINGAPORE - The national Under-22 football team will start their SEA Games quest with a key player's fitness in doubt.
With the Young Lions lacking in firepower, the team will sweat on Adam Swandi's condition as he battles to recover from damaged ankle ligaments as Richard Tardy's men prepare to face Myanmar at the Selayang Stadium on Monday (Aug14).
The attacking midfielder suffered the injury in club action for Home United during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Asean Zone final on Wednesday. Then, the Protectors lost 2-3 on aggregate to the Philippines' Ceres Negros.
"Adam did an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan and thankfully it was not a fracture. But he has suffered ligament damage," revealed Tardy on Saturday (Aug 12).
"I will have to decide if the player is fit for our next two games."
The French tactician added that should Adam be ruled out, Garena Young Lions' Zulkarnaen Suzliman will be the replacement. Amir Zalani and Darren Teh had already been trimmed from the squad of 23 as Tardy prepares to submit his final list of 20 for the tournament.
With the U-22s struggling to penetrate their opponents' defences and score, Adam's trickery and unpredictable dribbles will be sorely missed should he be forced to sit out.
Singapore have a tough group in Kuala Lumpur after having drawn hosts Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei and Laos in Group A.
Tardy said: "We have a good chance, there are not too many differences between the teams.
"But if we are to do well, we need to cut down on the number of mistakes. We are too inconsistent as this is still a young team."