Football: Lions coach Stange confident ahead of World Cup qualifier against Afghanistan

Lions coach Bernd Stange.
Lions coach Bernd Stange. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore national football team head into Thursday's 2018 World Cup qualifier match against Afghanistan and next Tuesday's meeting with Cambodia targeting a maximum of six points from two wins.

Both Group E matches will be played at the National Stadium.

"Tomorrow we have to win the match. There is no option... We need points now," said Lions coach Bernd Stange said at a pre-match press conference at Amara Hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

"We are confident but it's a very difficult task. We are not in a position to underestimate Afghanistan."

Singapore are currently third in the five-team standings with four points from three games. Syria top the group with a maximum of nine points from three wins followed by Japan on seven points. Afghanistan are fourth with three points.

Singapore captain Shahril Ishak agreed, saying: "It's important for us to get all six points... to have a good chance to qualify (for the next round)."

But against Afghanistan, Singapore will miss two key midfielders in Safuwan Baharudin and Hariss Harun, who are serving a one-match suspension for picking up two yellow cards each.

However, Afghanistan coach Slaven Skeledzic is aware of Singapore' strengths and he is plotting an upset.

The German said: "We will be playing against a well-organised team. Their defence is very good as a block. They play quickly forward. We know everything about Singapore, and we know what we should do to win the game."

chiazya@sph.com.sg