'Crazy horse' ready to fight for his place

The "Crazy Horse" is back in the national fold and he is chomping at the bit to gallop down the wings tonight against Oman.

After missing out on the Singapore squad for more than a year, Home United fullback Juma'at Jantan has finally earned his first call-up under the stewardship of Bernd Stange.

"I have to thank God for this new chance," Juma'at (below) told The New Paper on Tuesday, ahead of the Lions' final Asian Cup qualifier in Muscat.

"All these years, I've always given of my best when I've had the chance.

"I've been unlucky with injuries and of course I was disappointed to miss out on the Suzuki Cup-winning campaign in 2012.

"Maybe it was fate, as my third child was born at that time.

"I have not won the Suzuki Cup yet, and I really hope I will impress coach enough to stay in the squad and try to win this year when we host it in our new National Stadium."

He made his international debut in Oct 2005, but Juma'at has collected only 28 caps, with injuries preventing him from getting anywhere near the ton of appearances his peers Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Khaizan have collected for Singapore.

His last call-up was in Feb 2013 for a World Cup qualifier against Jordan, but, after a series of consistent performances in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League last year for Home United, who also went on to lift the RHB Singapore Cup, Stange has included Juma'at in his squad for today's date with Oman.

Juma'at, who can play on either flank, will not have it easy as a new generation of footballers are also vying for the two fullback positions.

LionsXII players Faritz Abdul Hameed, Madhu Mohana, Hafiz Abu Sujad and Shakir Hamzah are all also in the mix, as Stange focuses on preparing Singapore to defend their Suzuki Cup crown here at the end of the year.

"Yes, I feel a bit old when I look at them," the 30-year-old said, with a laugh.

"They are all good players and I'll have to keep up with them in terms of form and fitness in order to keep my place in the squad."

Stange recalled Juma'at because he needs the experience when Singapore defend their ASEAN title.

"Juma'at is a good player who has done well in the S.League," said the 65-year-old German.

"He is flexible and can play at both left and right back.

"We cannot win the Suzuki Cup with an entire team of Under-23 players, and it's good to have some players with the right attitude and experience.

"I hope Juma'at's call-up will encourage some players and show them that it is possible to come back to the national team with top-class performances.


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