Football: Overseas players named in Lionesses' squad for first SEA Games since 2003

(From left) Siti Rosnani Azman, Putri Nur Syaliza Sazali and Danelle Tan. PHOTOS: FAS, DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - As the Lionesses prepare to make their first appearance at the SEA Games in almost two decades, they can count on the experience of overseas-based players Siti Rosnani Azman, Putri Nur Syaliza Sazali, Danelle Tan and Nicole Lim.

All were named on Saturday (April 30) as part of the 20-strong side headed to Vietnam for the competition in May.

Rosnani, who has 28 caps and is representing Singapore for the first time since the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women's Championship in August 2019, is currently playing for Kibi International University Charme in Japan's third-tier league.

The 24-year-old is on loan from International Athletic Club Kobe Leonessa, who play in Japan's Women Empowerment League, the country's only professional women's league.

Danelle, Putri and Lim are studying and playing in England, the United States and Scotland respectively.

Rosnani said: "I feel honoured to be called up to play for Singapore again and it is an exciting time for women's football in Singapore. It has been a while since I last played with the team, but I am eager to adapt and fit right in with the players, under Coach Stephen.

"Even though I have been in Australia and Japan the last two years, I have been following the team's progress and have kept in touch with my teammates, and we talk daily, so I am looking forward to being on the pitch with them again."

Head coach Stephen Ng has called up a relatively young squad with an average age of 22.9 years.

The team will travel to Cam Pha on May 7 and begin their Group B campaign against Thailand three days later. Laos and Myanmar are the other teams in the group.

Ng said: "We have prepared for this competition with two international friendly matches at the FAS Tri-Nations Series 2022 and three more practice matches in Chonburi, Thailand.

"Throughout this period, I have emphasised the need for belief and courage, and I am confident that the players will fight and put up a tough challenge for our opponents.

"We may be underdogs going into the SEA Games, given it has been 19 years since Singapore has participated. Regardless, we will be focused on the team's performance and want to make a statement to the region that the Singapore women's national football team is a force to be reckoned with."

Singapore's SEA Games squad

Goalkeepers: Beatrice Tan, Noor Kusumawati

Defenders: Dhaniyah Qasimah, Ernie Sulastri, Fatin Ridzwan, Khairunnisa Anwar, Nurhidayu Naszri, Siti Rosnani Azman, Syazwani Ruzi, Umairah Hamdan

Midfielders: Dorcas Chu, Farhanah Ruhaizat, Ho Hui Xin, Izzati Rosni, Mastura Jeilani, Putri Syaliza, Venetia Lim

Forwards: Danelle Tan, Nicole Lim, Stephanie Gigette

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.