Young Lions's move did not leave Raihan in wilderness

Young Lions's move did not leave Raihan in wilderness
National team trainer Harald Irmscher putting (from left) Hafiz Abu Sujad and Faritz Hameed through their paces at training on Thursday.

It was a move made with a heavy heart.

And who can blame Raihan Rahman. He was going from Malaysian Super League leaders LionsXII to a Courts Young Lions side propping up the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League table.

But six months on, the 22-year-old midfielder is glad he made the switch - even if it cost him an MSL winners medal.

"Looking back, it was a good move," Raihan said of the Football Association of Singapore's initiative to give him and striker Iqbal Hussain more playing time with the Young Lions ahead of December's SEA Games.

"I'm match-fit and as Young Lions captain, I've learnt to take on more responsibilities such as being a leader on the pitch."

Both he and Iqbal were included in a provisional 30-man squad list released on Wednesday.

They are among 10 Young Lions players vying with 19 others from the LionsXII and FC Metz youngster Adam Swandi for 20 seats on the plane to Myanmar.

It remains to be seen if Adam, 17, will be released by the French second-tier outfit as the SEA Games tournament is not recognised by Fifa.

But "it's a competition" for the remaining 29 local-based players, said national coach Bernd Stange. The German, 65, will oversee the SEA Games preparations, while Under-23 coach Aide Iskandar leads his Young Lions into the final three matches of their S-League season.

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