Selvaraj: Tough opponents give players exposure

His team has scored none and conceded eight in their two Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifiers.

But as far as Singapore U-15s coach V.Selvaraj is concerned, he believes the experience gained from playing superior opponents will only serve his boys well.

Tonight, the Singapore side, who are out of contention to qualify for the finals in India after two losses, will face the Cambodia U-15s at the Jalan Besar Stadium in a battle to avoid finishing bottom of Group H.

"This tournament has given the boys real exposure. I can see they appreciate this opportunity to play the big teams," Selvaraj told The Sunday Times on the sidelines of his team's training session yesterday.

"So far we have lacked composure in front of goal. The North Koreans and Thais take their chances well because they know how to cope with pressure. But this is a skill that comes with more experience, something which the Thais and North Koreans have.

"It is okay to miss now, but now that the boys have the experience from this tournament, they need to develop a killer instinct and do well in future competitions."

Both Singapore and Cambodia have yet to score a single goal thus far. Selvaraj's charges started the qualifiers with a 0-5 loss to Thailand on Wednesday before going down 0-3 to North Korea on Friday. Cambodia were mauled 0-7 by the North Koreans before being edged out 0-1 by the Thais.

Singapore and Cambodia played to a goalless draw at the 2015 Asean Football Federation U-16 Youth Championships last month.

Selvaraj has urged his players to open their scoring account in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers, saying: "I will not talk about it being a game that we must win. We have to create more chances and try to put the ball in the net."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2015, with the headline 'Selvaraj: Tough opponents give players exposure'. Print Edition | Subscribe