SINGAPORE - They may be able to book their tickets to Myanmar for the South-east Asia Games after beating reigning silver-medallists Indonesia Under-23s 1-0 last Saturday night.
But the Singapore Under-23s will have it all to do if they are to win any medals at the competition.
While they started well in front of 2,025 fans at Jalan Besar last night with some crisp passing, quick closing-down and incisive runs such as one by Faris Ramli that won them a 10th-minute penalty which Shahfiq Ghani tucked away, the Young Lions subsequently faded away and were at times overrun by a speedy Indonesian side.
They now know that Indonesia, who brought just 18 of their 65-player pool here, are formidable opponents, while a mostly under-23 Thailand side beat China 5-1 recently.
Add to the mix hosts Myanmar, defending champions Malaysia who are on a long training tour in Europe, as well as Vietnam, and Singapore Under-23s coach V Sundramoorthy knows his team have to improve between now and December to stand a chance to create SEA Games history.
WHAT WAS GOOD
THE New Paper understands that the 21-year-old is not in the upcoming national squad. But the in-form striker is definitely one of the brightest Under-23 prospects for Singapore.
Not only was his penalty unerringly buried into the corner, most of his set-pieces were also well delivered. His first touch and technique were outstanding and with five Malaysian Super League goals and another Under-23 goal last night, his confidence is sky-high.