S'pore in Asean futsal event after 14-year absence

After a 14-year hiatus, Singapore will make a return to the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Championship.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) yesterday named a 15-man squad to participate in the tournament which will be held in Bangkok from Oct 8-16.

Singapore are grouped with Thailand, Timor Leste, Brunei and Malaysia. Their first game takes place on Oct 8 against Timor Leste.

The last time Singapore took part in the event was in 2001 when the team made it to the final before falling to Thailand 1-12.

The tournament took place every two years until 2005 when it became an annual competition.

  • Players:

    Hazwan Halimi, Faizal Sa'don, Juraimi Salim, Mahmod Hashim, Nurul Islam Abdul Razak, Saifuldin Ramli, Amir Zalani, Helmi Mohamad, Farhan Farouk, Jufri Abu Hassan, Sim Yi Long, Oswind Suriya, Al Nazirul Islam Abdul Razak, Herwan Nulhaqiem Mas'at, Iszahar Hamid.

  • Head coach:

    Pattaya Piemkum

In a statement, the FAS' deputy director of development and planning Benjamin Tan explained that "futsal helps to enhance the players' skills in tight areas as well as their decision-making abilities".

"It is an important element in our long-term strategy aimed at enhancing the standards of Singapore football. Going forward, we will continue to promote futsal at all levels," he said.

He added that the team would gain invaluable exposure from the competition and that their participation would inspire more youths to pick up the sport.

Of those in the squad, a notable name is Oswind Suriya, who played in the S-League with Woodlands Wellington from 2011 to 2013.

Another player, Sim Yi Long, caught the eye of former Chelsea and Barcelona playmaker Deco during the Tiger Street Football series here last year.

The team will be led by former Thai international Pattaya Piemkum. He coached his country's futsal squad to gold medals in the 2007, 2011 and 2013 editions of the SEA Games.

He said: "Our players are determined to do their best and I am confident that they will gain invaluable experience from their participation. With my experience and knowledge, I certainly hope to take Singapore futsal to the next level, especially in terms of participation at worldwide competitions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore in Asean futsal event after 14-year absence'. Subscribe