Five players in Singapore squad to take part in AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 for the first time

Among the 23 players called up, two - Syazwan Buhari and Farhan Zulkifli - are uncapped.

Nigel Chin

Published: 20 December 2022, 3:37 PM

Five Lions could make their debut at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup this year after being called up to the finalised Singapore men’s national team squad. 

The quintet – Christopher van Huizen, Joshua Pereira, Ryhan Stewart, Shah Shahiran and Farhan Zulkifli – are taking part in biennial regional football competition for the first time. 

Apart from Farhan, only Syazwan Buhari has yet to make his debut in Singapore’s colours. However, the Tampines Rovers goalkeeper had been called up for previous editions of the competition. 

Goalkeeper Hassan Sunny is set to be involved for a record ninth time at the championship. 

Star forward Ikhsan Fandi and midfielder Adam Swandi missed out as expected, due to the injuries sustained in the friendly against Maldives on Saturday. 

Lion City Sailors full-back Nur Adam Abdullah and Geylang International’s Hazzuwan Halim were dropped by Singapore head coach Takayuki Nishigaya, while Tampines forward Taufik Suparno withdrew due to family reasons. 

With Ikhsan’s unfortunate injury, the Lions have a big question mark hanging over their source for goals. Among the squad of 23 players, captain Hariss Harun has the most international goals with 11. 

Ilhan Fandi, Ikhsan’s younger brother who opened his account for his country against the Maldives, will likely bear the bulk of expectations. 

The Lions will open their campaign on Christmas Eve against Myanmar at the Jalan Besar Stadium. 

They will then take on Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia in the group stages. 

In a press release issued by the Football Association of Singapore, Nishigaya said that he has “full confidence” in the squad to overcome any challenges as one. 

“It is important that all the players have tremendous commitment and desire to play for the Lions… It was not easy to make the selection choices but I believe that we have improved over the past few months and will continue to do so in the tournament.” 

The Lions last won the competition in 2012, under Raddy Avramovic. Last year, they broke the nine-year hoodoo and made it past the group stages but fell to Indonesia in controversial circumstances

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny (Lion City Sailors), Syazwan Buhari (Tampines Rovers), Zaiful Nizam (Geylang International) 

Defenders: Amirul Adli, Harris Harun (Lion City Sailors), Christopher van Huizen (Tampines Rovers), Irfan Fandi (BG Pathum United), Joshua Pereira (Geylang International), Ryhan Stewart (Chaingmai FC), Shakir Hamzah (Tanjong Pagar United) 

Midfielders: Farhan Zulkifli, Zulfahmi Arifin (Hougang United), Hafiz Nor, Hami Syahin, M Anumanthan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Uiyoung (Lion City Sailors), Shah Shahiran (Young Lions)

Forwards: Amy Recha, Shawal Anuar (Hougang United), Faris Ramli (Lion City Sailors), Ilhan Fandi (Albirex Niigata)

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