Hafiz Sujad, Faritz Hameed may start for Singapore in Qatar friendly
With Nazrul Nazari and Shakir Hamzah unavailable, Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy is set to start with Faritz Hameed and Hafiz Sujad as wing-backs in a new 3-4-3 formation when they face Qatar in Doha in a friendly on Thursday night.
The game serves as a preparation for Tuesday's crucial Asian Cup qualifying game away against Turkmenistan.
While they failed to beat Turkmenistan at home the last time out, the Lions put up an enterprising display in the new team shape devised by Sundram during a 1-1 draw.
Nazrul kept things safe at right wing-back, while Shakir was tireless down the other flank, and scored Singapore's only goal through a stunning strike.
Both will be missing this game though, with the former ruled out due to a family commitment, while the latter is recovering from a labral tear of his hip joint.
Their replacements are likely to be Faritz and Hafiz, although Sundram has other options like Madhu Mohana, Rusyaidi Salime, Shannon Stephen, Emmeric Ong and Ho Wai Loon.
Faritz has enjoyed a good season with Geylang International at right back, while Hafiz is slowly finding his form back with Tampines Rovers. He returned from a short stint with Thai League 2 team BBCU earlier this season, most recently scoring his first goal of the year in a 1-1 draw with Warriors FC.
"This is the time for players to come in, show what they are capable of and seize the opportunity to shine for the national team," Sundram told The New Paper. "Qatar are good opponents even though it will be tough.
"We will use this game to see which players can give us what we need, as well as to work on our shortcomings.
"We will move more or less in the same [formation]. Looking at our last two games [1-1 draws against Hong Kong and Turkmenistan], we played well and we will make some changes depending on the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents."
Singapore have a poor record against Qatar, winning just once out of 12 encounters. The nations last met in August 2015, with Singapore trounced 4-0 in Doha.
The Lions have traditionally struggled against West Asian opponents over the years, although it is good to note that they held Bahrain to a 0-0 away draw in their opening qualifier on March 28.
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