Aide names provisional Singapore squad for SEA Games

Singapore Under-23 coach Aide Iskandar named his 30-man provisional squad for the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Wednesday evening.

As expected, the bulk of the roster comes from Aide’s Courts Young Lions side, with 21 players from the S.League outfit having been called up.

However, four men from Malaysia Super League outfit LIONSXII were also named, including full internationals Faris Ramli and Sahil Suhaimi, who both also featured in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.

Furthermore, a total of seven players were part of the side that won the bronze medal in Myanmar back in 2013, including Faris, Sahil, Shahfiq Ghani and Al-Qaasimy Rahman.

There were also places for five not currently plying their trade with either of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) sides LIONSXII and Young Lions, with the likes of Balestier Khalsa duo Nurullah Hussein and Ho Wai Loon, as well as Home United winger Stanely Ng, all rewarded for their impressive starts to 2015.

The draw for the SEA Games also took place on Wednesday with Singapore being drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

Although the draw appears to be favourable to the Singaporeans, Aide was keen to stress there would be no room for complacency.

“While Group B appears to be the tougher group, we must remember that there are no minnows in Southeast Asian football these days,” he said.

“Many of our neighbours have made a lot of progress in recent years, and that is why we will not be underestimating any team.”

Goalkeepers: Syazwan Buhari, Rudy Khairullah, Fashah Iskandar (all Courts Young Lions)

Defenders: Shakir Hamzah, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli, Irfan Fandi, Taufiq Muqminin (all Courts Young Lions), Zakir Samsudin (LIONSXII), Nurullah Hussein, Ho Wai Loon (both Balestier Khalsa)

Midfielders: Faris Ramli, Christopher van Huizen (both LIONSXII), Safirul Sulaiman, M. Anumanthan, Shamil Sharif, Adam Swandi, Shameer Aziq, Afiq Noor, Suria Prakash, Pravin Gunasagaran (all Courts Young Lions), Stanely Ng, Muhaimin Suhaimi (both Home United)

Forwards: Shahfiq Ghani, Iqbal Hussain, Amy Recha (all Courts Young Lions), Sahil Suhaimi (LIONSXII), Taufik Suparno (Tampines Rovers)

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Singapore to meet Indonesia; Thais face Malaysia, Vietnam

Hosts Singapore’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a boost on Wednesday after they were handed a fairly favourable draw.

Seeded as hosts for the Under-23 tournament, the Lions were drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

With only the top two progressing to the last four, it looks like Singapore will be battling for qualification with the Indonesians and Myanmar.

Nonetheless, Cambodia will be confident in their prospects having recorded a 2-1 win over Singapore just last month, while Philippines have taken huge strides in recent years and are now considered a legitimate threat in the region.

But it appears most of the drama will come in Group B after defending champions Thailand were pitted against 2011 winners Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.

Under Kiatisuk Senamuang, who also guided the senior team to victory at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Thais are favourites to finish top with Malaysia and Vietnam expected to battle it out for the second qualifying berth.

However, with the likes of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Ketsada Souksavanh to call upon, Laos could just spring an upset or two along the way.

2015 Southeast Asian Games Draw

Group A: Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines

Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste

Singapore U-23s handed shock defeat by Cambodia U-22s

Singapore Under-23’s preparations for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a real blow on Thursday after they were beaten 3-1 by Cambodia Under-22.

The Lions got off to a dream start at the Jalan Besar Stadium when they took the lead after just two minutes; Sahil Suhaimi beating the offside trap to latch onto Shahfiq Ghani’s visionary over-the-top pass before emphatically firing into the back of the net.

However, the visitors shot themselves in the foot a minute before the break when Shakir Hamzah was too casual inside his own area and lost possession to Phanny Y Ratha, who made no mistake in firing past an exposed Syazwan Buhari.

Things got from bad to worse for the hosts in the 67th minute when they conceded a penalty – and were also reduced to ten men – after Shakir Hamzah committed a last-man foul Prak Mony Udom, who picked himself up and slotted the resultant spot-kick into the bottom corner.

And in the 72nd minute, the Royal Khmers wrapped up the win when Samoeun Pidor broke free inside the box after an incisive pass from Mony Udom, before coolly finishing past Syazwan.

To add insult to injury, Singapore finished the game with nine men when Sheikh Abdul Hadi was also shown a straight red for an off-the-ball altercation with an opponent.

Speaking after the game, Singapore U-23 boss Aide Iskandar admitted Thursday’s defeat was disappointing but called for patience ahead of the upcoming SEA Games.

“We can have no excuses,” he said. “Today’s [Thursday’s] performance was not good enough.

“The penalty was the turning point at 1-1, but we have to accept it. It was never going to be easy going a goal down and a man down from that penalty, but give credit to Cambodia – they came with a game plan and it worked.

“For me, the fans have every right to shout whatever they want to, but they have to realise this is not the real tournament yet.

“I have to apologise to the fans who came down and were disappointed. But rest assured we are working hard to make sure we have a good SEA Games.

“I’m still committed and I am confident the boys will put on a good showing.”

Meanwhile, Cambodia boss Lee Tae-hoon was pleased with his charges even though he feels they were a bit fortunate on the night.

“I told my players to just play with confidence,” the South Korean said. “They worked very hard and they followed instructions well.

“I think we got the three goals because Singapore made mistakes so I think we got quite lucky.”

Singapore U-23: Syazwan Buhari, Fadli Kamis (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 60’), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Shakir Hamzah, Farhan Rahmat (Safirul Sulaiman 60’), M. Anumanthan (Pravin Gunasegaran 90’), Amirul Adli (Shamil Sharif 53’, Taufiq Muqminin 78’), Adam Swandi (Shameer Aziq 51’), Shahfiq Ghani (Amy Recha 68’), Iqbal Hussain (Christopher van Huizen 53’), Sahil Suhaimi (Irfan Fandi 51’).

Cambodia U-22: Prak Mony Phirun, San Thideth (Ngoy Srin 31’), Nub Tola (Chheng Meng 73’), Nen Sothearoth (Ly Arifin 84’), Prak Chanratana, Moung Makara (Samoeun Pidor 61’), Hoy Phallin (Soeuy Visal 54’), Ol Ravy (Sary Matnorotin 25’, Op Kamol 87’), Rous Samoeun, Phanny Y Ratha (Tit Dina 73’), Chan Vathanaka (Prak Mony Udom 61’).

Singapore out of Games despite win; Malaysia fall to Saudis

Singapore were eliminated from the 2015 Asian Games in Incheon despite recording a gutsy 2-1 win over Palestine in Group C on Sunday afternoon.

Shahfiq Ghani handed the Lions the lead at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium after just two minutes, when he curled a sublime freekick into the top corner.

15 minutes later, Shahfiq was at it again as he found the opposite corner with another stunning strike from 25 yards which left Ikram Rami Hamadeh rooted to the spot.

Palestine managed to hit back seven minutes from time when Ahmad Maher Wridat was left unmarked inside the area and emphatically fired home from inside the six-yard box, although it ultimately proved to be a mere consolation.

Nonetheless, the result was not enough to send Singapore through to the Round of 16 as they were pipped to second spot by Tajikistan, who claimed a last-gasp 1-0 win over Oman courtesy of Jahongir Ergashev’s 94th-minute strike.

Over in Group A, Malaysia’s bid to progress was ended by a 3-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia at the Goyang Stadium.

Having been drawn alongside powerhouses Korea Republic and the Saudis, it was always going to be an uphill task for Harimau Malaya to advance to the last 16 and they entered the clash needing a victory to do just that.

Their cause was not helped by Zubir Azmi’s dismissal three minutes after the half-hour mark; the Terengganu left-back shown a second yellow for clattering into Abdulaziz Al Bishi.

And Saudi Arabia made their numerical advantage count in the 56th minute, when Al Bishi pounced on a loose ball inside the box and floated a pinpoint cross for captain Abdullah Al Hafith to head home.

Majed Omar then made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute when he met a lovely floated pass by Abdulkarim Al Qahtani with a cracking first-time effort into the bottom corner.

With six minutes remaining, the Green Falcons made sure of the win as substitute Ahmed Al Shehri broke free inside the box after playing a neat one-two with Al Qahtani, before stroking his shot past the onrushing Farhan Abu Bakar.

Elsewhere in the group, Laos’ campaign ended with a 2-0 defeat to Korea Republic at the Hwaseong Stadium, courtesy of second-half strikes from Lee Jong-ho and Kim Seung-dae.

Sunday’s 2015 Asian Games Results

Group A

Malaysia 0-3 Saudi Arabia

Laos 0-2 Korea Republic

Group C

Palestine 1-2 Singapore

Tajikistan 1-0 Oman

Group D

Kuwait 0-3 Iraq

Nepal 0-4 Japan

 

Malaysia crush Laos at Games; Singapore fight back for draw

Malaysia picked up their first points in Group A at the 2014 Asian Games on Wednesday after cruising to a 4-0 win over Laos at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium.

Ong Kim Swee’s charges took the lead after 12 minutes when Aidil Zafuan climbed highest inside the box to meet a left-wing freekick, and proceeded to send a header into the back of the net.

However, it took them until the 75th minute before they were able to double their tally; Gary Robbat embarking on an enterprising run into the box before unselfishly squaring the ball for Norfarhan Muhammad to finish.

From then on, there was always only ever going to be one winner and the Malaysians struck again four minutes later when Fandi Othman exchanged a neat one-two with Norfarhan before slotting into the bottom corner.

And just for good measure, they added a fourth in the 90th minute as Ferris Danial raced through and goal and fired past Soukthavy Soundala to cap off a fine display from his side.

In Group A’s other game, table toppers Korea Republic claimed a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia courtesy of Kim Seung-dae’s 12th-minute strike.

Over at the Hwaseong Stadium, Singapore produced a stirring fight-back to come from two goals down and hold Oman to a 3-3 draw in Group C.

The Omanis had edged ahead after ten minutes when Hatem Al Hamhami found space on the edge of the box and expertly curled his shot into the bottom corner.

But just a minute later, the Lions equalised after a mix-up between the opposition centre-backs allowed Sahil Suhaimi to race through and slot past Mazin Al Kasbi.

Oman managed to reclaim the lead in the 24th minute when Abdul Majeed Shamas broke free inside the box and prodded the ball past the onrushing Hassan Sunny.

And it looked as though they were on course for a comfortable victory when they went 3-1 five minutes later; Saud Al Farsi rising unchallenged inside the area to head home a cross from Ahmed Al Siyabi.

Nonetheless, Faris Ramli gave Singapore a glimmer of hope three minutes before the break after skipping inside two defenders, before curling a sublime shot into the top corner.

And four minutes from time, the comeback was completed after Safuwan Baharudin found space at the back post and stooped low to head home a Sahil freekick to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Elsewhere in the group, leaders Palestine maintained their perfect record after coming from behind to defeat Tajikistan 2-1.

Wednesday’s 2014 Asian Games Results

Group A

Malaysia 4-0 Laos

Korea Republic 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Group C

Palestine 2-1 Tajikistan

Oman 3-3 Singapore

Group D

Kuwait 5-0 Nepal

Japan 1-3 Iraq

Singapore, Malaysia open with losses at Asian Games

Singapore fell to defeat in their opening Group C match at the 2015 Asian Games in Incheon after being beaten 1-0 by Tajikistan at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium on Sunday.

In a keenly-contested clash, the Singaporeans looked to have done enough for a point after matching their opponents throughout the 90 minutes.

And they could easily have taken the lead midway through the second half when Shahfiq Ghani had a blistering effort parried by Alisher Tuychiev, before Faris Ramli sent the rebound narrowly wide with an acrobatic bicycle kick.

But with three minutes remaining, Tajikistan went on to grab all three points after Siyovush Asrorov was left completely unmarked inside the box and met Umedzhon Sharipov’s corner with a glancing header into the top corner.

Elsewhere in the group, Palestine moved top after goals from Ahmad Maher Wridat and Sameh Mara’aba handed them a shock 2-0 triumph over Oman.

Over in Group A, Malaysia also began their campaign with a loss after being defeated 3-0 by hosts Korea Republic at the Incheon Munhak Stadium.

Rim Chang-woo had handed the South Koreans the lead three minutes before the half-hour mark, but they were unable to double their tally until the 79th minute when Kim Shin-wook found the back of the net.

From then on, there was only ever going to be one winner and Lee Kwang-jong’s charges went on to seal the win three minutes later when Kim Seung-dae added a third.

The final Southeast Asian side in action on Sunday were Laos, who put in a resilient display before ultimately falling to a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in Group A.

Having kept their opponents at bay for much of the clash, the Laotians’ resistance was finally broken when Raed Abdullah Al-Ghamdi opened the scoring from the penalty spot 15 minutes from time.

Saleh Al-Shehri then doubled Saudi Arabia’s advantage in the 87th minute, before Majed Omar Kanabah also netted in the second minute of injury-time to wrap things up for his side.

Group D action saw Iraq claim top spot with a 4-0 triumph over Nepal at the Incheon Football Stadium, while Japan were also convincing winners after beating Kuwait 4-1 in the later kick-off.

Sunday’s 2015 Asian Games Results

Group A

Saudi Arabia 3-0 Laos

Korea Republic 3-0 Malaysia

Group C

Singapore 0-1 Tajikistan

Oman 0-2 Palestine

Group D

Iraq 4-0 Nepal

Japan 4-1 Kuwait

Adam Swandi edges closer to Young Lions decision

Courts Young Lions are likely to find out over the next fortnight whether Singapore international Adam Swandi will be joining them.

The 18-year-old starlet is currently one of the brightest prospects in Singaporean football and has already won several caps for the senior national team.

Adam created waves at the start of last year when he signed a two-year deal with French side Metz, who produced the likes of Robert Pires, Louis Saha, Sebastien Bassong and Emmanuel Adebayor.

However, he is yet to make a decision on whether to take up the club’s offer of a one-year extension or return to Singapore in a bid to be part of the Under-23 side that will take part in the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on home soil.

Should he decide on the latter, it is almost certain he will join the Young Lions and although it is far from a done deal, coach Aide Iskandar reveals the saga is edging closer to a resolution.

“We know all about how Adam is a quality player but – at this point in time – we are not sure if he will be joining us,” he told Football SEA.

“His parents are yet to make their decision but they will be meeting the management team very soon for discussions.

“Hopefully, something positive can come out from the meeting.”

Aide has already spent time working with the talented attacking midfielder, given the youngster was part of the U-23 side that went on a three-week training camp in Austria last month.

And the Young Lions boss admits it would be a massive coup if they were indeed able to add him to their ranks.

“Of course to have Adam in the team would definitely be a boost for us,” the former Singapore captain added.

“I, as the coach, and the players like Adam and we would welcome him if he wants to join the Young Lions.

“He would definitely add creativity to our team and we just have to hope for the best.”

With just over three month to go till the end of the S.League campaign, the Young Lions currently find themselves second from bottom and are no longer capable of breaking into the top half.

They did however miss a chance to pull level on points with 10th-placed Tanjong Pagar United on Sunday after being held to a 0-0 draw by Harimau Muda at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Still, Aide’s charges were perhaps unlucky as they had dominated proceedings and wasted an excellent opportunity to win it right at the death when Shameer Aziq could only head Ali Hudzaifi’s pinpoint cross over from four yards out.

“There were some moments where we played good football and created chances,” he added.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge, especially considering we were missing five key players through international duty.

“But I felt the players that came into the side stepped up to the task and we had the better chances, although at the end of the day we failed to put the ball into the net.

“It’s definitely disappointing that we didn’t get the three points, especially with home advantage. But I think there were plenty of aspects from our performance that were pleasing, like having kept a clean sheet.”

The Young Tigers should also have had goalkeeper Ilham Amirullah sent off in the 64th minute when he brought down Jordan Webb on the edge of the box, only to be shown a yellow.

Harimau Muda coach Razip Ismail admitted his player was extremely lucky not to have been sent off for the last-man foul, and Aide was understandably displeased with the incident.

“The goalkeeper did well for Harimau Muda, but he also did well to stay on the pitch,” the 39-year-old said, with a wry smile.

“In a tight game, having a one-man advantage would definitely have made a huge difference.

“Unfortunately, the referee saw it differently and we have to respect his decision.

“There are a few more games from now till the end of the season and we just have to try and collect as many points as we can, and progress as much as possible.”