Football: Lions to face Bangladesh, Brunei in friendlies with Fandi and Sundram on coaching staff

LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad (right) and Tampines Rovers tactician V. Sundramoorthy will assist Stange in the dugout during the friendlies and qualifying matches. It will be their first time in the Lions' dugout together. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER F
LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad (right) and Tampines Rovers tactician V. Sundramoorthy will assist Stange in the dugout during the friendlies and qualifying matches. It will be their first time in the Lions' dugout together. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Tuesday that the Lions will be playing friendly matches against Bangladesh and Brunei in preparation for the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers next month.

The national team, ranked 162nd by Fifa, will meet Bangladesh (world ranking 169) at the Banghabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on May 30, while the friendly against the 182nd-ranked Brunei will be played on Jun 6 in Singapore and a venue yet to be announced.

Lions coach Bernd Stange has named a 21-man squad to meet Bangladesh with players from Lions XII making up half the squad. The German said: "These two friendlies will be our final preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, so it is important that we make full use of these opportunities.

"Half of the players in the squad are from the LionsXII because they are the best available in terms of physical preparations and in confidence after last Saturday's (Malaysian) FA Cup final."

LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad and Tampines Rovers tactician V. Sundramoorthy will assist Stange in the dugout during the friendlies and qualifying matches.

Three uncapped players have also been named in the squad, in LionsXII midfielder Izzdin Shafiq, Home United midfielder Yasir Hanapi and Balestier Khalsa goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.

The first two rounds of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup have been merged. The Lions have been drawn in Group E alongside Cambodia, Afghanistan, Syria and Japan. Singapore's first match against will take place away on Jun 11 against Cambodia in Phnom Penh before another away game at Japan on Jun 16.

Singapore squad

Goalkeepers - Hassan Sunny (Army United, Thailand), Izwan Mahbud (LionsXII), Zaiful Nizam (Balestier Khalsa)

Defenders - Baihakki Khaizan (Johor Darul Takzim II, Malaysia), Ismadi Mukhtar, Shaiful Esah, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (all Tampines Rovers), Madhu Mohana, Nazrul Nazari, Hafiz Sujad, Safuwan Baharudin (all LionsXII)

Midfielders - Yasir Hanapi (Home United), Gabriel Quak, Izzdin Shafiq, Firdaus Kasman, Zulfahmi Arifin (all LionsXII), Hariss Harun (JDT I)

Forwards - Fazrul Nawaz (Warriors FC), Shahril Ishak (JDT II), Khairul Amri, Khairul Nizam (both LionsXII)