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Photo credit: FACEBOOK/FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

Safuwan Baharudin makes 100th national team appearance against Timor Leste

The 30-year-old’s versatility has proven indispensable for the Lions over the years.

Brandon Leong
Brandon Leong

Compulsive playlist maker.


Published: 14 December 2021, 7:43 PM

Eleven years after making his international debut, Safuwan Baharudin has become the 14th centurion for Singapore.

Earning his 100th cap on Tuesday (Dec 14) against Timor Leste in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020, the 30-year-old defender has been an integral part of the Lions setup since his first appearance for the Lions in a 2010 King’s Cup match against Thailand. 

Eleven years after making his international debut, Safuwan Baharudin has become the 14th centurion for Singapore.

Earning his 100th cap on Tuesday (Dec 14) against Timor Leste in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020, the 30-year-old defender has been an integral part of the Lions setup since his first appearance for the Lions in a 2010 King’s Cup match against Thailand. 

The 1.81m defensive stalwart began his footballing journey as part of the pioneer Singapore Sports School football academy program, starting out as a striker.  

Safuwan then made his way to the National Football Academy (NFA) ranks, where his natural aerial prowess saw him deployed in central midfield and then eventually, at the heart of defence. 

By the time he was with the NFA Under-17s, the late coach Salim Moin had converted him into a sturdy centre-back, although his versatility is often utilised for club and country. 

Safuwan began his professional footballing career playing for the Young Lions and was part of  2013 LionsXII Malaysia Super League winning team, where he played a pivotal role in defence, helping the team finish the season with the fewest goals conceded. He then became the first Singaporean to feature in the Australian A-League, where he scored two goals in six matches for Melbourne City during his three-month stint in which he was mainly deployed as a right-back. 

 

safuwan-baharudin-100-caps
Safuwan was the first Singaporean player to feature in the widely popular FIFA video game in the 2015 edition, when he was with A-League’s Melbourne City. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/LIONSXII

 

Aged 25 then, he returned to LionsXII for a brief period and moved on to Malaysian side PDRM in 2016. Moves to Pahang and Selangor, where he currently plays his club football, followed. 

Safuwan made his Suzuki Cup debut in 2010, and in the five editions that followed – including the 2012 edition which Singapore won – he started each of the Lions 20 games.  

Although mainly playing in defence during his international career, his multifaceted technical abilities mean that he has played practically in every position apart from goalkeeper for the Lions. Safuwan also scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 win over Timor-Leste at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, even though he was playing in defence. 

Safuwan will hope to add to his 13 goals in a national jersey when Singapore face bottom team Timor Leste on Tuesday. A victory would virtually seal a semi-final slot for the Lions, who have not progressed past the group stages since the 2012 edition. 

The Lions currently sit behind Thailand in second in Group A of the Suzuki Cup by virtue of goal difference with both teams tied on six points after two matches played. 


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