We will play football, says Chitrakar

We will play football, says Chitrakar
PEP-TALK: Robin Chitrakar, the National Football Academy Under-16 coach.
PHOTO: The New Paper

There may be 123 years of history behind Liverpool, and a trophy cabinet that gleams with the most priceless pieces of football silverware in club competition.

Tonight, Liverpool's Under-15s will not be playing at Anfield but the Jalan Besar Stadium, facing a Singapore Under-16 side with a place in the Lion City Cup final up for grabs.

And the Republic's U-16 coach Robin Chitrakar has called for his young charges to give fear the boot.

"Everyone knows about the Liverpool first team (in the English Premier League), but this is their youth side," said Chitrakar.

"We will be underdogs, but I want us to play good football, a build-up game, and take risks even though we're facing a top European team.

"This is not just about winning, we're a development team and we must try to play football, even if it means taking a lot of risks."

The former Singapore international does have in his bullpen players who are equipped to take risks.

Ikhsan Fandi has already been tipped to follow in his father's footsteps, with observers pointing to his technique and eye for goal.

And the youngster also has height in his arsenal.

"The boy has potential, and he will likely play up front for us. He's already taller than me and still growing, but I don't think it's affected his footwork," said Chitrakar, of his 1.80m forward.

"But we don't want to put too much pressure on him, against a team like Liverpool, the rest of the team must step up too."

Chitrakar also has Saifullah Akbar at his disposal, a player who has been likened to Manchester City livewire David Silva by his teammates.

Saifullah was on a month-long training stint with A-League side Newcastle Jets earlier this year and was deemed by the club's assistant coach Mark Jones to be "too good" for the their U-16s, pushing him up to train with the U-18 side.

Tonight, Singaporeans will be able to take a closer look at a player Jones has tipped to don the Singapore shirt in the future.

"Sai is our attacking midfielder and he will do that David Silva job for us, but it's not going to be easy. If he can do what he does in training against Liverpool, it will be brilliant," said a hopeful Chitrakar.

"This will be a good game to see where we stand in terms of football standards, and all I want to see is the boys try their best to play football - without fear."

The Lion City Cup is a four-team tournament this year. Tottenham Hotspur's U-15s and the Singapore U-15s will meet in the first match today at 6pm. The final and third-place play-off will take place on Sunday. All matches will be at Jalan Besar Stadium.

This article was first published on August 14, 2015.
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