Football: Izwan set for a busy time with Under-23 and national team

Football: Izwan set for a busy time with Under-23 and national team
Singapore's goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud

A compromise has been reached over the make-up of the Singapore Under-23 squad that will take part in the Merdeka tournament in September and the national team's two-match training tour, both of which take place next month.

U-23 coach V Sundramoorthy will lead a squad to take part in the Merdeka tournament in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 5 to 14, while Bernd Stange's Lions will play friendly matches against China (Sept 6) and Hong Kong (Sept 10).

Announcing Stange's 22-man national squad on Thursday, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) stated that three players from the Lions would link up with the U-23s immediately after the China game in Tianjin.

Although they were not named, TNP understands the three are goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud (above), defender Shakir Hamzah and striker Shahfiq Ghani - all part of the Malaysian Super League champions, the LionsXII.

Along with the likes of Hariss Harun and Safuwan Baharudin, they are expected to play key roles in Singapore's pursuit of its first football gold at the SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, in December.

U-23 skipper Hariss and teammates like Safuwan and Faritz Hameed are expected to stay with Stange's squad for the match against Hong Kong.

Said Stange: "Coach Sundram and I are always in communication with each other on how to best manage both the national team and the Under-23 squad. "Our focus has always been on developing a strong national team, and the Under-23 players can only enhance their development as players by turning out for the senior side."

There were few surprises in Stange's latest squad. Woodlands Wellington defender Shariff Allapitchay, LionsXII winger Gabriel Quak and Courts Young Lions striker Sahil Suhaimi missed the cut.

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