Five is Shahfiq’s number

Five is Shahfiq’s number
Singapore national Under-23 striker Shahfiq Ghani heading a ball during a training session.

Singapore Under-23 striker Shahfiq Ghani has laid down his goal target for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar next month.

Five goals is what he wants.

It was a number Shahfiq set five months ago, when he was on a hot streak for the LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League (MSL).

"A reporter asked me at the time what my target for the SEA Games was and I said five goals," explained Shahfiq, after a 90-minute training session at the Geylang field yesterday.

Then, the 21-year-old had reason to be optimistic.

He had just netted his fourth goal in the MSL - a rasping 35-metre free-kick against Perak which salvaged a point for the Singapore side en route to their title success.

Shahfiq fired in six goals for the LionsXII this year in all competitions, finishing as the team's joint second-highest scorer behind Shahril Ishak.

With the U-23s short of strikers, he will shoulder an even bigger task at the SEA Games. "I'm still confident of hitting my target," Shahfiq said.

"In order for us to win the gold medal, we need to score and I need to score. If I get one goal early in the group stages, I'll be on the right track from there."

Singapore have been drawn in Group A alongside Laos, Vietnam, Brunei and two-time defending champions Malaysia.

They play the Philippines U-23s in a friendly on Sunday before leaving for Myanmar next Tuesday.

Aide's men will open their campaign against Laos on Dec 8 in the Myanmar capital, Naypyidaw.

The 1.71-metre tall Shahfiq admitted to feeling some pressure of late, especially when much of the focus has been on the team's inability to score.

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