Football: 11 Suzuki Cup rookies in Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida's final squad

The Republic are in Group A and open their campaign against Myanmar on Dec 5, 2021. PHOTO: FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The Lions will seek a record-tying fifth Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship with 11 tournament rookies as the host announced its final 28-player squad on Sunday (Nov 28).

The debutants are goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad, defenders Nur Adam Abdullah, Iqram Rifqi and Tajeli Salamat, midfielders Saifullah Akbar, Hami Syahin and the South Korean- born Song Ui-young as well as forwards Amy Recha, Hafiz Nor, Shawal Anuar and Ilhan Fandi.

Ilhan, who was on the standby list, was moved into the final squad by head coach Tatsuma Yoshida. This means that the Fandi brothers - defender Irfan and forwards Ikhsan and Ilhan - could be fielded together in the senior side for the first time.

This is the first Suzuki Cup for Yoshida, who was appointed in May 2019. The Japanese said: "Since selecting the provisional squad, I have been able to observe their behaviour, attitude, character and physical condition.

"During the Suzuki Cup, we have to stay together for a period of time so it was important for me to see that they can all work well together and show good teamwork.

"Training has been intense and I have selected this team with my full confidence, having seen that everybody deserves to play and wear the national jersey."

The Republic are in Group A and open their campaign against Myanmar on Dec 5. They then face Philippines (Dec 8), Timor Leste (Dec 14) and five-time champions Thailand (Dec 18).

Group B comprises defending champions Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos. All matches in the Dec 5-Jan 1 tournament are at either the National Stadium or Bishan Stadium.

Yoshida said: "The boys are well aware and appreciative that we will be playing on home soil and in front of our fans after more than two years, so I am sure they will showcase their full potential and play every game with emotion, with intensity and with passion.

"The team spirit is good and everyone knows their role in the team, both on and off the pitch. We respect every opponent, starting with Myanmar but we are ready for the challenge."

The Lions have had two weeks of centralised training and a 10-day training camp in Dubai where they lose 2-1 to Kyrgyzstan in an international friendly before being thumped 7-1 by Morocco 'A' in a training match.

Lions captain Hariss Harun, who won his maiden Singapore Premier League title this year with the Lion City Sailors, said: "This is a huge tournament for us and as the home team, we know that the eyes of the nation are upon us, and expectations will be high.

"I have seen the amount of hard work and effort put in not just by my fellow teammates but also the entire backroom staff.

"We need no other motivation for us to go out there, play for each other as well for the flag, and hopefully bring pride and joy to Singapore and our fans."

Singapore's Suzuki Cup squad:

Goalkeepers

Hassan Sunny (Lion City Sailors), Izwan Mahbud (Hougang United), Syazwan Buhari (Tampines Rovers), Zharfan Rohaizad ( Tanjong Pagar United)

Defenders

Amirul Adli, Nur Adam Abdullah, Tajeli Salamat (Sailors), Iqram Rifqi (Geylang International), Irfan Fandi (BG Pathum United), Nazrul Nazari (Hougang) , Safuwan Baharudin ( Selangor FC), Shakir Hamzah (Tanjong Pagar), Zulqarnaen Suzliman (Young Lions)

Midfielders

Adam Swandi, Hariss Harun, Saifullah Akbar, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Uiyoung (Sailors), M. Anumanthan (Kedah FC), Hami Syahin (Young Lions), Zulfahmi Arifin (Sukhothai FC)

Forwards

Faris Ramli , Hafiz Nor, Gabriel Quak (Sailors), Amy Recha (Geylang), Shawal Anuar (Hougang), Ilhan Fandi (Young Lions), Ikhsan Fandi (FK Jerv)

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