DESPITE the Singapore Under-22 football team needing goals when they face Mongolia tonight in their final Group J match in the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship qualifiers, striker Irfan Fandi will again be deployed in defence.
The 17-year-old demonstrated his predatory instincts in two friendlies for the national U-23s team last month, netting his side's solitary goals in the 8-1 and 2-1 defeats by the Japan U-22s and Syria U-23s respectively.
But Singapore U-22 coach Richard Bok prefers to use the 1.86m-tall teen as a centre-back against Mongolia even though the team have yet to score so far in a 0-5 loss to China and 0-0 draw against group hosts Laos.
Bok said: "He (Irfan) has done really well against China and Laos as a centre-back and he will continue there.
"Irfan is aggressive, strong and reads the game well."
With the 10 group winners and five of the best second-placed sides qualifying for the AFC U-23 Championship in January in Qatar, Singapore have a faint mathematical chance of making the cut.
Bok's team need to beat Mongolia - thrashed 5-0 and 7-0 by China and Laos respectively - by at least seven goals while hoping for China to beat Laos in the other group match to stand any chance.
The tactician said: "The target is to win and we are not thinking of the amount of goals we need to score.
"There is always pressure but the players need to overcome it and deliver against Mongolia."
This article was first published on Mar 31, 2015.
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