Football: In safe hands

Football: In safe hands
TALENTED SHOT-STOPPERS: Courts Young Lions’ Syazwan Buhari (above) and the national team’s Izwan. Mahbud.

Syazwan who? That was the question on most local football fans' lips when the Singapore Under-23 side lost 1-0 to their Malaysian counterparts in the Merdeka Tournament two Saturdays ago.

Courts Young Lions goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari, 20, played a blinder then to keep the score down, even though Singapore were reduced to 10 men from the 55th minute.

And he even kept out a penalty from Malaysia's star man Wan Zack Haikal. But prior to that game, he was not widely known to local football fans.

That's because in the last two years, Syazwan has mostly been living in the shadow of LionsXII and national team goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, whose meteoric rise has seen him grab the Lions' No. 1 jersey at the age of just 23.

Izwan and Syazwan are the latest in a long line of talented shot-stoppers Singapore has produced in recent times.

While the Republic seems to be short on quality strikers at the moment, the conveyor belt of promising goalkeepers seems to be chugging along just fine.

Crucial role

LionsXII and national team goalkeeper coach Lee Bee Seng feels the introduction of the Young Lions in 2002 has played a crucial role in the development of goalkeepers in Singapore.

"You look at all the No. 1 goalkeepers at the S-League clubs now," said the former international.

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