Aide has 'good idea' of SEA Games squad

Aide has 'good idea' of SEA Games squad

SINGAPORE - Less than a week has passed since he was installed to mastermind Singapore's gold-medal assault at December's SEA Games.

But, already, Aide Iskandar has more or less decided on the 20 Under-23 players who will be on the plane to Myanmar.

"I have a good idea of the team that will be going to the Games," the 38-year-old said on Tuesday.

He was speaking to The Straits Times a day after inheriting the role from V. Sundramoorthy, who left to take charge of Malaysian second-tier side Negeri Sembilan.

In truth, the bulk of the Myanmar-bound squad will select themselves. After all, the LionsXII team who clinched the Malaysian Super League title under Sundram consisted mostly of U-23 players.

Aide will augment his final 20 with players from the Courts Young Lions side whom he also coaches.

"But, first, I want to see how my boys can integrate with the LionsXII players," he added.

His biggest challenge in the coming weeks will be to fill the gaps left by Baihakki Khaizan, Isa Halim and Shahril Ishak.

The trio have been an integral part of the LionsXII's success but are ineligible to play in the SEA Games as they are overaged.

Among the candidates to take over from Isa in the middle of the park is 22-year-old Aqhari Abdullah, who played the full 90 minutes as a Singapore B team led by Aide fell 1-2 to a Laos XI at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Nazrul Ahmad Nazari gave the hosts an early lead but the visitors came storming back with two second-half goals after the sending-off of left-back Ali Hudzaifi.

"Today's result was not a big factor," the coach later stressed. "It was all about performance."

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