Sundram picks strong Singapore team to face Afghanistan and Bahrain
Singapore are set for a March 23 friendly against Afghanistan before they begin their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Group E qualifiers, which starts with an away trip to Bahrain five days later.
"We are looking forward to beginning this final qualification round for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Bahrain will be favourites, but we are able to compete with them," said Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy.
"The friendly against Afghanistan, who have players in the European league, will be excellent preparation for them. This is a balanced squad, with a good mix of experience and youth. We are preparing well and determined to qualify for the Asian Cup."
The national coach will be eager to notch his first win against Bahrain after he was rewarded with a two-year contract extension on Monday.
The 51-year-old has selected his best personnel for both fixtures, which includes the likes of Hariss Harun, Hafiz Sujad and Irfan Fandi.
Home United has the biggest representation in Sundram's 23-man squad with seven players, while seasoned veterans Mustafic Fahrudin and Daniel Bennett were also included.
Singapore, who have only featured in the Asian Cup once as host in 1984, are desperate to regain a foothold on the international front after a forgettable 2016.
The Lions had crashed out from 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup group stages in Philippines last November, and the Asian qualifiers now represent a swift chance to change their fortunes.
Besides Bahrain, Singapore also have Turkmenistan and Chinese Taipei for company in the third-round qualifiers to the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates.
Singapore squad: Hassan Sunny, Izwan Mahbud, Zaiful Nizam, Daniel Bennett, Ho Wai Loon (standby list), Irfan Fandi, Juma'at Jantan, Madhu Mohana, Faritz Abdul Hameed, Hafiz Sujad, Nazrul Ahmad Nazari, Shakir Hamzah, Mustafic Fahrudin, Safirul Sulaiman, Anumanthan Mohan, Hariss Harun, Faris Ramli, Izzdin Shafiq, Safuwan Baharudin, Shawal Anuar, Yasir Hanapi, Khairul Amri, Shahril Ishak, Khairul Nizam
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