Football: Virus trips up Lions again, with winger Hafiz Nor on HRW and unable to join Lions in Dubai

Winger Hafiz Nor has been issued a Health Risk Warning as a member of his household is a coronavirus case on isolation order. PHOTO: FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Lions' preparations for next month's Suzuki Cup have again been disrupted by Covid-19, with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announcing that Hafiz Nor will not join the Lions for their ongoing training camp in Dubai.

It explained that the winger has been issued a Health Risk Warning (HRW) as a member of his household is a coronavirus case on isolation order.

The team are already without their captain Hariss Harun, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Nov 3. His withdrawal from the travelling contingent was announced on Sunday, one day before they departed for the Middle East.

"While Hafiz has returned negative test results since, he is currently in self-isolation and adhering to prevailing HRW guidelines as part of the precautionary measures," said the FAS.

Hafiz, 33, has been a regular in the national team since Tatsuma Yoshida took over in May 2019, and scored the winning goal in the Lions' 2-1 win over Yemen in Bahrain in a World Cup qualification match in November 2019. That remains his solitary international strike in eight appearances for the country.

Midfield general Hariss, 30, has 101 caps for Singapore. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov 3 and the FAS told ST on Wednesday that he was "recovering well" a week after being infected.

The FAS statement added that the association will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that the health and safety of the national team are prioritised as they continue their preparations for the Dec 5-Jan 1 AFF Suzuki Cup, which Singapore will host.

The bulk of the Singapore squad left on Monday and will return to Singapore next Wednesday.

The world No. 160 Lions played the first of two friendlies in Dubai on Thursday, losing 2-1 to Kyrgyzstan (ranked 96th), at the Al Hamriya Sports Club Stadium.

Kyrgyzstan were 2-0 up by the ninth minute thanks to goals from Aizar Akmatov and Ernist Batyrkanov, but Shahdan Sulaiman pulled one back for the Lions in the 20th minute.

Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Erzhan Tokotaev was sent off for a challenge on Ikhsan Fandi in the 55th minute, but they held on for the win after a goal by Ikhsan in stoppage time was disallowed.

Singapore will next play and Morocco 'A' on Tuesday.

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