Lions poised to face Cambodia once again

Singapore striker Khairul Amri missing a penalty against Cambodia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier win last October. The Lions and their fellow South-east Asian nation have become familiar foes, playing each other four times over the past three years
Singapore striker Khairul Amri missing a penalty against Cambodia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier win last October. The Lions and their fellow South-east Asian nation have become familiar foes, playing each other four times over the past three years. ST FILE PHOTO

FAS mulling over invitation to play Angkor Warriors as part of AFF Suzuki Cup warm-up

After finishing second in the AYA Bank Cup in Myanmar, V. Sundramoorthy's next opponent for the national football team could be a familiar face in Cambodia.

The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) has invited the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for a friendly in Phnom Penh. An August date has been pencilled in for the game.

If the sparring match happens, it will be the fifth time in the last three years the Lions face the world No. 184-ranked team.

FFC vice-president Major-General Khiev Sameth told The Straits Times: "We have sent an invitation for a friendly over to the FAS some time over the last week or two.

"We are still awaiting confirmation from the Singapore side because they're still not sure (about) a date. For now, there's no official word from them yet.

"Cambodia would like to play Singapore and hopefully the friendly materialises because we want to take on anyone and just wish to play our football."

ALL FOR THE SAKE OF A GAME

Cambodia would like to play Singapore and hopefully the friendly materialises because we want to take on anyone and just wish to play our football.

KHIEV SAMETH, Football Federation of Cambodia vice-president, on the proposed friendly with Singapore in August

Without confirming the Cambodia friendly, an FAS spokesman said: "We are currently finalising the details of international friendly matches as part of the national team's long-term plans for the year-end AFF (Asean Football Federation) Suzuki Cup.

"We will make a further announcement once the details are confirmed."

The friendly is likely to be played in Phnom Penh and according to Major-General Sameth, there is also the possibility of the friendly taking place as early as next month.

The Lions (world No. 149) and the Angkor Warriors last met in October last year when Singapore won a 2018 World Cup qualifier 2-1 at the National Stadium. It had earlier won 4-0 in Phnom Penh last June to start the qualifying campaign.

Upon his appointment in 2013, ex-national coach Bernd Stange promised to tap into his network of contacts to arrange matches against top-class opponents. Instead, the Lions ended up playing Cambodia twice in friendlies.

In 16 full international meetings between the two teams, Singapore have 13 wins while its only defeat was a 0-3 loss in the 1972 Jakarta Anniversary Tournament.

But last year, the Cambodian Under-22s stunned the Singapore U-23s 3-1 in a friendly at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Although Sundram declined to confirm that the Lions will be playing Cambodia again, he is looking to arrange matches for the team ahead of November's Suzuki Cup.

He said: "We will need to prepare our tactics according to the opponents that we will face and that is what we will continue to do. It is important at this stage of preparations for us to monitor the performance of our players as a team.".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2016, with the headline 'LIONS POISED TO FACE CAMBODIA ONCE AGAIN'. Print Edition | Subscribe