Isa's the new LionsXII captain

Isa's the new LionsXII captain

SINGAPORE - He has been the LionsXII's midfield enforcer since the inaugural season in 2012.

Armed with 53 caps, Isa Halim is also the most experienced player in next season's squad.

Following Shahril Ishak's departure to Malaysian side Johor Darul Takzim II next season, Isa, 27, is set to take over the captain's armband for the Singapore side.

"Isa and Safuwan are good choices for captain and vice-captain (respectively)," LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad told The New Paper after raindrenched training session at ITE Central in Ang Mo Kio on Saturday."

"Isa has enough experience to guide this young team. He's an honest player, disciplined, and a good example to follow."

When told of Fandi's assessment, Isa joked: "Alamak, now I have to always be on my best behaviour.

"Seriously, it's a real honour to be given the responsibility. I was Shahril's roommate last season, so I learnt a few things from him on how to be captain.

"Some of the younger players on this team have become seniors now. Players like Faritz (Hameed) and Madhu (Mohana) have to step up and lead as well; it's not just me and Safuwan."


On the pitch, Isa has been on his best behaviour since the start of the 2013 campaign, when the LionsXII lifted the MSL title.

Known as the "hard man" of the team, he accumulated a team-high nine yellow cards and one red during the 2012 season.

But he made a conscious decision to cut out the unnecessary bookings last term, collecting just three cautions.

"The first season was very intense, so emotions boiled over a lot," he said.

"The second year, I got used to the Malaysian teams and referees, and I learnt to time my tackles better."

The majority of the LionsXII squad trained under Fandi for the first time yesterday, including most of the Under- 23 team that clinched bronze at this month's South-east Asia Games in Myanmar. Fandi hopes to have his full complement of 24 players available by Friday, when the LionsXII leave for Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for a training tour.

There, they will play three friendly matches against Indonesian Premier League clubs.

"That will be the only pre-season this team will have," said Fandi.

"Some of the players might not be able to travel because of national service, but we'll have to prepare the best way we can."

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