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 By Kenneth Tan

Adam Swandi picked for Singapore SEA Games squad despite injury

Jason Dasey and Dez Corkhill assess Malaysia and Singapore's respective chances in the 2017 edition of the SEA Games.

Home United midfielder Adam Swandi has been included in Singapore's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games squad, despite damaging ankle ligaments during a 2-0 midweek loss to Philippines side Ceres-Negros last Wednesday.

The final 20 names were finalised on Sunday afternoon, a day before Singapore's Group A opener against Myanmar at Selayang Stadium.

Former FC Metz trainee Adam is doubtful to play on Monday, due to the injury he picked up as Home United lost their AFC Cup ASEAN zonal final 3-2 on aggregate.

The average age of the squad is 20.23, and dominated by players from the Garena Young Lions S.League side. There are just five players from other club, namely Hougang United's Lionel Tan, Balestier Khalsa's Hanafi Akbar and the Home United trio of Irfan Fandi, Adam Swandi and Amiruldin Asraf.

Hanafi is likely to take over the role of chief playmaker, with the rejuvenated 22-year-old looking to live up to his early promise after impressing at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) seven years ago.

He is one of the four, along with Illyas Lee, Ammirul Emmran and Muhaimin Suhaimi, from that famed 2010 bronze-medal winning squad to be called up.

Ammirul and fellow midfielder Joshua Pereira make the squad, despite missing large parts of the season due to injury.

However there is no place for the likes of goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar, defenders Faizal Roslan, Dhukhilan Jeevamani, Darren Teh, midfielders Hafiz Sulaiman and forward Zulqarnaen Suzliman. They were all called up for July's AFC under-23 Championship qualifiers in Myanmar.

Head coach Richard Tardy is hoping that they can reach their target of reaching the semifinals. That's despite coming away from their recent Perth training tour with a 4-0 defeat to the Australia U20 side, and a 5-3 loss to a Western Australia state team.

"It has been an intensive few months leading up to the SEA Games with our boys playing various friendlies and international matches," the experienced Frenchman said.

"I am happy with the team's spirit both during training and the matches they have played, and we hope to have a good start to the tournament.

"It will not be easy playing against strong teams in our opening matches, so we ask for fans to continue to support the team as they work hard to show their best on the pitch."

After facing Myanmar, Singapore will take on hosts Malaysia on Wednesday (16 Aug.), Laos on Friday (18 Aug.) before ending the group stage with a clash against Brunei on the following Wednesday (23 Aug.).

Singapore under-22 squad for SEA Games

Goalkeepers: Hairul Syirhan, Zharfan Rohaizad

Defenders: Irfan Fandi (Home United), Lionel Tan (Hougang United), Rusyaidi Salime, Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin, Syahrul Sazali

Midfielders: Adam Swandi (Home United), Hanafi Akbar (Balestier Khalsa), Illyas Lee, Ammirul Emmran, Joshua Pereira, Hami Syahin, Muhelmy Suhaimi, Muhaimin Suhaimi, Haiqal Pashia

Forwards: Amiruldin Asraf (Home United), Ikhsan Fandi, Taufik Suparno

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