Football: Singapore U-21s to gain exposure at FAS U-21 International Challenge Cup

The Garena Young Lions squad at a training session at the Geylang football field on May 25, 2016.
The Garena Young Lions squad at a training session at the Geylang football field on May 25, 2016.ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

SINGAPORE - With the SEA Games coming around again next year, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) will host the inaugural FAS U-21 International Challenge Cup to give the Cubs more experience ahead of their mission.

At a pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday (July 19) at Oasia Hotel, national youth teams head coach Richard Tardy said: "Our young players need as much international exposure as they can get leading up to the SEA Games in 2017.

"The FAS U-21 International Challenge Cup is part of our comprehensive long-term preparations for the SEA Games which began last year, and will give them good experience against strong Asian teams. It is an important step in developing them to their full potential as footballers."

The invited teams for the quadrangular are Hong Kong, Iran and Uzbekistan. Singapore will kick-off on Wednesday with a match against Hong Kong at Bishan Stadium.

U-21 and Garena Young Lions forward Adam Swandi, 20, said added: "The Nations Cup (in Malacca last month) didn't end well for us (Singapore finished last amongst four teams). Each of us individually (as players) have to prove to ourselves and our coaches that we deserve a place in the squad. Hopefully, we can perform individually and as a team to make it for the SEA Games squad and go far in this tournament."

Hong Kong player Lau Hok Ming, alongside his coach Kim Pangon, was grateful for the opportunity to play in the Republic, saying: "We are all very excited to prepare for and play in this tournament. We all know that the three teams are very strong and tough.

"Despite that, we still want to get a good result against them because we came here with a target to put in some good performances."

Wednesday will also see Iran, helmed by Amir Hossein Payrovani, take on Abduraimov Jasur's Uzbekistan. The winners of the two matches will then meet in the final on Saturday (July 23), with the third/fourth place match to take place earlier on the same day. All matches will be held at Bishan Stadium.