SINGAPORE - National teams head coach Bernd Stange has announced on Friday a 23-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Syria with Courts Young Lions striker Taufik Suparno receiving his first senior international call-up.
Taufik, 20, was part of the Tampines Rovers Prime League title-winning team this year before joining the Courts Young Lions last month.
Stange said: "Taufik deserves the call-up and it will be a key opportunity for him to train with, and learn from, the best national players in Singapore during the next two weeks, including captain Shahril Ishak and Hariss Harun."
The Lions are currently third in Group E with 10 points from five games, behind leaders Syria (12 points) and level in points with Japan, who have a game in hand. They will host Japan at the National Stadium next Thursday and Syria on Nov 17.
Taufik's inclusion to the team comes as main striker Khairul Amri has been ruled out of the Lions next two matches after suffering a hamstring strain.
Stange said: "Injuries and suspensions are part and parcel of the game. We feel sad that Amri will miss the matches against top Asian teams, and we hope that he recovers well."
Goalkeepers: Izwan Mahbud (LionsXII), Hassan Sunny (Army United, Thailand), Zaiful Nizam (Balestier Khalsa)
Defenders: Baihakki Khaizan (Johor Darul Takzim II, Malaysia), Amirul Adli (Courts Young Lions), Shaiful Esah (Tampines Rovers), Nazrul Nazari, Shakir Hamzah, Faritz Hameed, Madhu Mohana (all LionsXII)
Midfielders: Christopher van Huizen, Safuwan Baharudin,Izzdin Shafiq, Hafiz Sujad, Zulfahmi Arifin, Faris Ramli (all LionsXII), Hariss Harun (JDT I), Safirul Sulaiman (Young Lions), Yasir Hanapi (Home United)
Forwards: Shahril Ishak (JDT II), Fazrul Nawaz (Warriors FC), Sahil Suhaimi (LionsXII), Taufik Suparno (Young Lions)