Football: Sundram to give new faces a chance in Asian Cup dead rubber against Chinese Taipei

National football coach V. Sundram Moorthy at a training session on Nov 6, 2017.
National football coach V. Sundram Moorthy at a training session on Nov 6, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Now that the pressure of the 16-month winless streak has been eased, national football coach V. Sundram Moorthy has hinted at blooding younger faces in Tuesday's (March 27) inconsequential Asian Cup Group E qualifier against Chinese Taipei.

In line for more prominent roles could be Fulham Under-18 forward Ben Davis, 17, and Albirex Niigata playmaker Adam Swandi, 22.

"The youngsters have been doing well in training and working for the opportunity to be given a chance," said Sundram.

"For us in this game, we can always look at fresh faces."

Lions custodian Hassan Sunny said the current squad has a good mixture of senior and young players, which has helped the youngsters find their feet faster.

"When you step into the national team it's not the same as at club level - the intensity is higher. That's where we (senior players) come in, to guide them and tell them what's right, what's wrong," said the 33-year-old, who plies his trade for Thai League 2 club Army United.

"It's a two-way relationship. The young players have been doing everything we expect of them so far and that's a good sign."

Ben was an unused substitute in the 3-2 win against the Maldives last Friday while Adam came off the bench in the 80th minute to replace Shawal Anuar.

Fellow forward Ikhsan Fandi, 18, was also an unused substitute.

Both Singapore and Chinese Taipei have already been eliminated and the Lions will be bottom regardless of the result.

The win against the Maldives has injected some confidence back into the Lions' veins, but the national side are well aware that Chinese Taipei present a far stiffer challenge.

Singapore had succumbed to a shock 1-2 loss to the same opponents in the reverse fixture at home last June, conceding two goals after taking the early lead.

Then, the Lions had been three rungs above Chinese Taipei in the Fifa rankings at 157th but last year's winless run has seen the Lions fall to 171st, while their opponents have climbed to 134th.

"The boys are more confident after the Maldives game but as you saw we gave away two soft goals and we have to be more careful against Chinese Taipei, keep possession and take our chances," said Sundram.

Added goalkeeper Hassan: "I think everyone is in a good mood now and we want to end the competition on a high note and get a better result than the last time.

"But of course, it's going to be a tougher game compared to the Maldives. Chinese Taipei have better individual players and they're technically better as well."