Local fans we spoke to had mixed feelings about how far Singapore will progress in the highly-anticipated AFF Suzuki cup 2020.
Singapore were drawn to face five-time ASEAN champions Thailand and 2018 semi-finalists Philippines in Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.
The draw, conducted on Tuesday (Sep 21), also saw Myanmar and one of Timor Leste or Brunei placed into the group too.
The competition, which was delayed last year because of COVID-19, will take place from Dec 5, 2021 to Jan 1, 2022.
We spoke to some youths to hear their thoughts on the draw, as well as their hopes of the Lions in the tournament.
“I feel that whichever position Singapore finishes in is solely up to the players themselves: How much effort will they put in the games they play, and whether they will have the resilient attitude to fight and not give up if they happen to trail behind in a match.
“I think if Singapore are hardworking in their training sessions and the coach provide the players with the essential tactics to work with, Singapore could see themselves progressing in the competition.
“While Singapore are seen as an underdog coming into this competition, they may have a chance of surprising everyone by finishing as champions.” – Lyon Olsen, 22, Singapore football observer
“I hope Fandi Ahmad’s children make it into the squad. This is a good opportunity for them to follow their father’s footsteps and carry on his legacy.
“I feel that since they had the opportunity to be trained by someone like their father who has had the experience before on that kind of stage already, they will be the key players for Singapore. Being trained by one of the best is hard to come by.
“Ikhsan Fandi is already Singapore’s main striker and, in my opinion, one of the top No.9s in Asia. Most of the goals that Singapore have scored in the past year have come through him. Without him, I think that Singapore would face difficulty in scoring against tougher opposition as the team lacks the explosiveness that Ikhsan Fandi brings to the team.
“On top of that, Irfan Fandi, the oldest son, has become a regular for Singapore as a centre back and even won the Thai League with his club. His strength and height has made the position his own. Not to forget, Ilhan Fandi could be making his appearance at this tournament and could turn out to be a key tool for Tatsuma Yoshida to throw into the fray when the need arises.” – Jonathan Lee, 19, Young Lions fan
“I hope Iman Hakim from Tampines Rovers, who has impressed in the Singapore Premier League this season, can make it into the Singapore squad. Iman Hakim travelled with Singapore’s Under-18 side during the 2019 AFF U-18 Youth Championship, where they travelled to Vietnam.
Bringing him to the AFF Suzuki Cup would give him more chance to gain the exposure and, in line with U23 rule in the SPL introduced by the Football Association of Singapore, help Singapore football build for the future. Afterall, it is unlikely the national team will use all 23 players in the squad and it seems wasteful if Singapore brings a senior player, only for him to warm the bench.
“Other young players I hope to see given a chance is Khairin Nadim, who has displayed superb finishing and work ethic on and off the ball with the Young Lions.
“I think Jacob Mahler could be another young player called up as well. He has shown the makings of a future Singapore captain with the Young Lions.” – Brandan James, 20, fan of Singapore football
“Singapore now has plenty of players who have played overseas and through those exposure, are now more experienced, and this could only be good for the Singapore national team.
“I think a key player for the tournament will be Hassan Sunny. With his experience and goalkeeping skills, this will help Singapore to avoid conceding crucial goals. He can also help the backline in terms of directing the defenders with the leadership qualities he has. This season, he has also put on several outstanding performances, and against the best in the region, Singapore will need that. “ – Nigel Chia, 19, Singapore football observer
“I do think that Thailand will be Singapore’s biggest threat in the group stages. Thailand are, afterall, the top seed alongside Vietnam in the draw. On top of that, Singapore have lost the last five games they have played against Thailand, with our most recent win against the War Elephants taking place all the way back in Dec 19 took place all the way back on the Dec 19, 2012 when Singapore beat Thailand to lift our last AFF Suzuki Cup title.
“With Thailand being the tournament’s most successful country, history may be on their side and will pose a huge threat to Singapore.” – Justin Bismonte, 21, Singapore football fan
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