Midfielder Linchpin Shahdan Sulaiman and evergreen custodian Hassan Sunny have a total of 172 national caps, with three Asian Games and nine ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championships in between. , And participated in the World Cup campaign with Lions.
However, the veteran duo knows that the next three appearances in Singapore may be the most important to date. This is because the National Football Team is targeting historic qualifications for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
On Wednesday (June 8th), the 158th Lions will face Kyrgyzstan (95th) in the Asian Cup qualifiers, Tajikistan (114th) on June 11th and Myanmar (152th) on June 14th. increase.
Their Group F match will be held at the Dolen Omuzakov stadium in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The 6 group winners and the 5 best 2nd place teams will advance to the finals next year.
The Republic’s only appearance appeared as a host in 1984, led by the late Hussein Aljunied, with Lazari Sard, Malek Awab, goalkeeper David Lee and others.
Shardan, 34, wants his team to seize the day and end the 38-year absence from the quarterly event.
Lion City Sailors midfielder said: Opportunity with both hands. “
In addition to Shardan, the core of the team includes players such as Hassan (38 years old), Yasir Hanapi (32 years old) and Safwan Bahaldin (30 years old).
Since becoming Lions’ latest Centurion, the five-prime Hassan has reflected the emotions of his teammates and added that it is not “now or never”. He states: “For Singapore football, this is a great opportunity for us. This may be the last time we have the opportunity to play at such a high level. In fact, this is the highest level we can reach.”
Prior to qualifying, Lions played a private friendly match against Kuwait on June 1st, losing 2-0 in Takayuki Nishigaya’s first match.
Pointing out that the team has adapted to the newcomers in control, Shardan emphasized that participation in the Asian Cup “will mean everything to me.”
“The majority of players have been together for a long time and we all know what is expected of us. Understanding is there and we can work together and get good results. I’m sure. “
Their confidence stems from a kinder draw, avoiding heavyweight players in Uzbekistan (83rd), Bahrain (89th) and Jordan (91st). Qualifying will be played in a single round-robin format rather than home and away as in previous editions. In other words, Lions may be doing well with a win and another outcome (win or draw).
Hassan also pointed out that he felt bullish because he lost to Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in an international friendly match last November. The Lions were then unfortunately choked by Ikhsan Fandi’s equalizer with an additional 5 minutes due to what was considered a foul in the box.
Hassan said: game. “
Head coach Nishigaya said, “We play each match and we don’t think about every match right now. Opponents have an advantage on the home ground, but don’t be afraid. Players are ready and committed. I have. “
All Lions matches in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifier will be livestreamed on the FAS YouTube page.