The Football Association of Singapore yesterday named a 23-man squad comprising mostly local footballers for the upcoming Barclays Asia Trophy.
Four foreigners - defenders Kento Fukuda (Geylang International) and Sirina Camara (Home United), and strikers Nicholas Velez (Warriors) and Rodrigo Tosi (Tampines Rovers) - have been picked to beef up the Singapore selection side during the tournament at the National Stadium.
The team, captained by Shahril Ishak, will take on Arsenal on July 15, with the victors meeting the winners of the Everton-Stoke game in the final.
A 3rd/4th placing match will be played on the same day as the final, on July 18.
Head coach V Sundramoorthy, who assisted national coach Bernd Stange in the recent World Cup qualifiers, said: "The players and the backroom staff are definitely excited about the tournament because we see many of these players in action for their clubs week in, week out during the Premier League season.
"Most of the national players in my squad are also young and still developing.
"This big opportunity for them to perform and express themselves in front of a big home crowd will not only be a huge source of motivation for them, but also benefit Singapore football and the national team. "The Singapore players will be entering the Barclays Asia Trophy with confidence, especially after the 0-0 draw with Japan.
"And, if they perform well in the two matches, it will give them another good boost for our next World Cup qualifier against Syria in September."
He added that the presence of the four foreigners will "add skill and steel to our team", as they have been among the best players in the S.League this season.
He said: "Fukuda has been outstanding in defence, while Camara has consistently been one of the best foreign players in the S.League.
"Velez was the S.League Young Player of the Year last season and a proven goalscorer while Tosi scored the most number of goals last season.
"They all bring good qualities to help our local players."
The tournament will be another chance for goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud to show his pedigree.
During the 0-0 draw with Japan in a World Cup qualifier at the Saitama Stadium last month, the 24-year-old stunned the home crowd with a superlative performance that drew praise from all quarters.
He said: "I am excited about taking on the world-class strikers from these Premier League clubs, and my backline and I will do our best to keep them at bay.
"Having a stadium packed with Singapore fans cheering us on and hearing the Kallang Roar will definitely make us raise our game."
Goalkeepers: Izwan Mahbud (LionsXII), Zaiful Nizam (Balestier)
Defenders: Nazrul Nazari, Madhu Mohana, Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah (all LionsXII), Ismadi Mukhtar (Tampines), Baihakki Khaizan (JDT II), Kento Fukuda (Geylang), Shaiful Esah (Tampines), Sirina Camara (Home)
Midfielders: Zulfahmi Arifin, Gabriel Quak, Faris Ramli, Shahdan Sulaiman, Hafiz Sujad, Izzdin Shafiq (all LionsXII), Yasir Hanapi (Home)
Forwards: Khairul Amri (LionsXII), Fazrul Nawaz (Warriors), Shahril Ishak (JDT II), Rodrigo Tosi (Tampines), Nicolas Velez (Warriors)
BARCLAYS ASIA TROPHY
This article was first published on July 4 2015.
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