Football: Fandi promises his Lions will put up strong fight against Indonesia in Suzuki Cup opener

(From left) Indonesia's captain Hansamu Yama and coach Bima Sakti with Singapore's coach Fandi Ahmad and captain Hariss Harun at the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup press conference on Nov 8, 2018.
(From left) Indonesia's captain Hansamu Yama and coach Bima Sakti with Singapore's coach Fandi Ahmad and captain Hariss Harun at the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup press conference on Nov 8, 2018.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

SINGAPORE - The Lions are itching and raring to go against Indonesia in their opening Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup match at the National Stadium on Friday (Nov 9).

Singapore captain Hariss Harun said at the pre-match press conference on Thursday: "Indonesia have very nippy and fast players. We respect them for what they are capable of but on the night of the game, anything can happen.

"It will depend on how psyched up we are and we are definitely excited, prepared and ready."

The Lions and Garudas are in Group B, alongside defending champions Thailand, a Philippines side led by former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and unknown quantity Timor-Leste. The top two teams in the round-robin group will progress to the semi-finals.

Indonesia coach Bima Sakti is gunning for maximum points at Kallang, saying: "We have small-sized players but we are fast on the wings. We want to win."

The 42-year-old also noted the improvement made by Singapore since Fandi Ahmad took over as interim coach in May, winning three (2-0 over Fiji and Mongolia, and 2-1 over Cambodia) and drawing one (1-1 against Mauritius) in international friendlies.

He said: "Now, the Singapore team are stronger. They have good players, especially the striker (Ikhsan Fandi). They have good organisation and they are good in the transition (from defence to attack). We are prepared for a tough game."

 
 

But the Lions' interim coach Fandi Ahmad has promised a fighting performance from his players, saying: "Indonesia are technically very strong. I enjoy watching their one-two touches. We envy that style of football but what we have, we make full use of it. Our motivation is very strong."

The two countries have met seven times in the AFF Cup, with the Lions winning thrice and the Garudas triumphant on two occasions. But Singapore have lost their last two AFF Cup meetings with Indonesia, losing 0-1 and 1-2 in the group stages of the 2012 and 2016 tournaments respectively.

Tickets for the Lions' Suzuki Cup home games are available at www.sportshub.com.sg