Football: New Singaporean Song Ui-young receives first Lions call-up

Song, a 27-year-old midfielder, became the first South Korean footballer to be granted Singapore citizenship on Aug 20. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - New citizen Song Ui-young has received his first Singapore call-up after national football coach Tatsuma Yoshida announced on Friday (Aug 27) a 22-man local-based squad to train during the Aug 31 to Sept 3 international window.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they will not play any international match but will train at the Geylang Training Centre instead.

Yoshida said: "Song has indicated his desire to play for Singapore in the past and now that he has received his citizenship, this is an opportunity for him to show his ability.

"I have observed his displays since I became national team coach (in 2019) and I believe that his potential and ability mean that he deserves his chance. I have expectations from him, just as I do with every player that is called up, in terms of being disciplined and hardworking.

"Additionally, Song's toughness and fighting spirit will be a welcome addition in midfield and he has shown the qualities required to be a Lion."

Song, a 27-year-old midfielder, became the first South Korean footballer to be granted Singapore citizenship on Aug 20.

He is one of 11 Lion City Sailors to be called up by Yoshida. The others include uncapped defenders Tajeli Salamat, 27, and Nur Adam Abdullah, 20.

Other uncapped players hoping to impress the Japanese include 29-year-old Geylang International forward Amy Recha, who has scored nine times in 16 games to be the joint-top local scorer alongside the Sailors' Gabriel Quak in the Singapore Premier League.

Yoshida said: "We will remind the players of our playing concepts and make the best of this window by training hard and competitively.

"This will also be an opportunity for us, in a way, to start afresh after our World Cup qualifying campaign in June, as we prepare for future challenges. I want to see who has the hunger to play for the national team and who is deserving of their place."

Singapore were eliminated in the second round of the World Cup qualifiers, but will play the third round of Asian Cup qualifiers that are scheduled to start in early 2022.

The Singapore squad - Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny (Lion City Sailors), Izwan Mahbud (Hougang United), Syazwan Buhari (Tampines Rovers).

Defenders: Amirul Adli, Nur Adam Abdullah, Tajeli Salamat (all Sailors), Faritz Hameed (Tanjong Pagar United), Hafiz Sujad, Nazrul Nazari (both Hougang United), Jacob Mahler (Young Lions).

Midfielders: Hariss Harun, Saifullah Akbar, Song Ui-young, Shahdan Sulaiman (all Sailors), Afiq Noor (Hougang), Yasir Hanapi (Tampines).

Forwards: Faris Ramli, Gabriel Quak, Hafiz Nor (all Sailors), Amy Recha (Geylang International), Ilhan Fandi (Young Lions), Shawal Anuar (Hougang).

After the Lions' centralised training, Mahler, Ilhan, Saifullah and Adam will link up with 23 other national Under-22 players who will be preparing for the Oct 27-31 Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship qualifiers on home soil with a training camp under Nazri Nasir and Philippe Aw from Aug 30 to Sept 4.

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