Five things about Singapore’s squad for AFF Suzuki Cup 2020
Before Singapore gets the tournament underway with a match against Myanmar on Dec 5, here are five fun facts to know.
Singapore will host the 13th edition of the AFF (Asean Football Federation) Suzuki Cup this year.
The tournament, postponed from last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place from Dec 5, 2021 to Jan 1, 2022.
Singapore are in Group A, and will take on Myanmar in their first game. They will also face Philippines, Thailand, and either Timor Leste or Brunei in the group stages too.
A 27-man provisional squad has been named by Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida, including the likes of Singapore Premier League Young Player of the Year Nur Adam Abdullah, Gabriel Quak, and Harris Harun.
Before the footballing festivities kick off, here are five fun facts about the players that have been called up to represent the Lions at this year’s biennial football tournament.
1. The squad of 27 called up has scored 56 international goals in total
Among the current squad, defender Safuwan Baharudin has the most goals, with 11 to his name.
This will be Safuwan’s sixth consecutive Suzuki Cup, having been part of the Singapore set up since 2010 when he made his debut. The versatile player made his name playing at the heart of defence at centre back, but his versatility has seen him play in midfield or upfront on occasion for the Lions.
Lion City Sailors duo Hariss Harun and Faris Ramli rank second and third for the most goals in the squad with 10 and nine goals respectively.
2. Six previously uncapped players were called up to the Lions squad
The six players are Amy Recha, Song Uiyoung, Tajeli Salamat, Nur Adam Abdullah, Zharfan Rohaizad and Syazwan Buhari.
Amy, Uiyoung, Tajeli and Nur Adam have since made their debut for the national team in a friendly against Kyrgyzstan Republic on Nov 11.
Lion City Sailors fullbacks Tajeli Salamat and Nur Adam Abdullah will look to shine on the international stage after a successful season winning the Singapore Premier League (SPL). The duo could also potentially play a part in their first ever Suzuki Cup campaign.
Fellow teammate and midfielder Song Uiyoung, who gained citizenship in August is the first South Korean-born footballer to play for Singapore. The 27-year-old first came to Singapore in 2012 when he played for Home United, the former Lion City Sailors before their takeover.
Forward Amy Recha had an impressive season with Geylang International, scoring 12 goals during the 2021 SPL season. He was the second highest local goalscorer, just behind Gabriel Quak who scored 13 goals.
Goalkeepers Zharfan Rohaizad and Syazwan Buhari also had productive campaigns with the shot-stoppers turning out for Tanjong Pagar United and Tampines Rovers respectively.
3. 17 years separate the oldest and youngest player in the squad
The oldest player in the squad is goalkeeper Hassan Sunny (37), while the youngest player is Nur Adam Abdullah (20).
The average age of the squad is 26.9 years old.
Hassan Sunny made his debut for the Lions in February 2004 – Nur Adam was just a toddler then – and has since cemented his status as one of the best goalkeepers Singapore has produced. The goalkeeper has gone on to be the only goalkeeper to win the Player of the Year award in the S.League (since renamed SPL), and has earned 85 caps for the Lions.
On the other hand, Nur Adam was rewarded for his impressive season with the Lion City Sailors with a call-up to the national squad. The left-back, in his first season with the Sailors, helped the team to win its first SPL title and was also named the Young Player of the Year.
4. Six players in the current squad have won the AFF Suzuki Cup before
They are: Zulfahmi Arifin, Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Shahdan Sulaiman, Izwan Mahbud in 2012, and Hassan Sunny in 2004 and 2007.
Veteran goalkeeper Hassan Sunny was part of the triumphs against Indonesia in 2004 and Thailand in the 2007 edition. The game was marred with controversy and will forever go down in local footballing history. The Lions beat Thailand 2-1 in the first leg to a sell-out National Stadium, during which a controversial penalty call for the Lions resulted in the Thai players walking off the pitch in protest. The second leg was played to a 1-1 draw in Bangkok, as Singapore clinched victory 3-2 on aggregate.
Zulfahmi Arifin, Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Shahdan Sulaiman, Izwan Mahbud’s sole Suzuki Cup success was Singapore’s last victorious tournament, having beaten Thailand 3-2 again on aggregate, this time a 3-1 win in the first leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium before losing 1-0 in Bangkok.
5. Song Uiyoung is first naturalised footballer to play for Singapore since 2017
The Lion City Sailors star will get a chance to impress in a Lions jersey after getting his citizenship earlier this year.
Uiyoung, who can operate as a midfielder and a forward, has been living in Singapore since joining Home United in 2012 and has made over 100 appearances in the domestic league.
In making his debut against Kyrgyzstan on Nov 11, Song became the first naturalised player to represent Singapore in almost five years.
The last naturalised footballer to play for Singapore was Daniel Bennett, who earned his last cap in late 2017. Daniel also holds the record for the most number of Singapore caps, with 142.
You can view the full provisional 2021 Suzuki Cup squad here.