S'pore teams to take on pro clubs in Austria trip

S'pore teams to take on pro clubs in Austria trip
Coach Bernd Stange (centre) will lead the Lions in Austria.

SINGAPORE - In their quest to write regional football history - winning a fifth ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup title and a first SEA Games gold, the Lions and their Under-23 counterparts will play European professional clubs during their July 7-23 training trip to Salzburg, Austria.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced yesterday that the senior team will spar with the Czech Republic's FC Brno (July 12), before taking on Russian clubs Torpedo Moscow (July 18) and Dynamo Moscow (July 21).

Brno ply their trade in the top-tier Czech First League, and finished ninth in the 16-team competition last season.

Torpedo Moscow won promotion to the top division of Russian football last season while Dynamo Moscow finished fourth in the Russian Premier League last season, and have six players in Russia's 2014 World Cup squad, including former national captain Igor Denisov and ex-Chelsea left-back Yuri Zhirkov.

The U-23 team, led by coach Aide Iskandar, will play three matches - against Czech top division club FK Pribram, Borussia Dortmund U-23, and another club side, to be announced later.

Said national coach Bernd Stange: "It is an excellent opportunity for our players to be playing against European professionals.

"Having daily training in such an ideal environment and playing against good players will definitely help in our preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup at the year end."

SEA Games coach Aide Iskandar added: "Playing against top teams like Borussia Dortmund will help our players understand where we are at this early stage of their development.

"Hopefully, they will be inspired to improve themselves after this trip. I know my boys will be up for it and this will be a golden opportunity for them to show what they can do."

For defender Afiq Yunos, 24, the time spent away from home is a chance to really focus on honing his craft. He said: "The environment is also important, as there will be minimal distraction. It will raise the level of our game, and help us develop more."

Apart from the training camp in Austria, a Singapore Selection led by Stange will take on Italian champions Juventus at the new National Stadium on Aug 16.

In another friendly game to prepare for their AFF Cup mission, the Lions will likely face arch-rivals Malaysia at the National Stadium on Sept 6.

This article was first published on JULY 2, 2014.
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