SINGAPORE - The national Under-22 football team will train in Japan ahead of the March 22-26 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship qualifiers, the Football Association of Singapore announced on Wednesday (March 6).
National Under-22 head coach Fandi Ahmad named a 24-man squad, in which Young Lions defender Nur Adam Abdullah and Safsa midfielder Amirul Haikal were called up for the first time.
The team will travel to Japan on Thursday (March 7) for a 12-day centralised training camp ahead of the tournament to acclimatise to weather conditions in Mongolia, where temperatures are expected to drop below 5 degC.
Singapore is in Group G with North Korea, Hong Kong and hosts Mongolia for the qualifiers, where the 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams will qualify for the championship.
Fandi said: "This qualifying tournament is a good opportunity for the team to pit themselves against quality opponents in Asia. Some of the players in this squad played in last November's Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup. Their experience will stand them in good stead for these qualifiers and I am sure the other players will also benefit from their experience.
"Given Mongolia's climate, the training camp in Japan is critical for the team to acclimatise to playing in cold weather. We want the boys to be able to focus on the qualifiers and show what they can bring to the team."
Captain Irfan Fandi, who last November signed a one-year contract with Thai League 2 side Bangkok Glass, said: "It's only been a few months but I have already learnt a lot from playing overseas. I am excited to share my experience with the team and hope that I can bring a positive impact to the team.
"We will be working hard to prepare ourselves for the qualifiers and play our hearts out for every match."