S'pore players hope to impress

Singapore Select XI coach V. Sundramoorthy speaking at the press conference for the Barclays Asia Trophy footbal tournament held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 14 July 2015.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Although known for his goalkeeping prowess in this region, all it took was just one match for Izwan Mahbud to be thrust into prominence on a bigger stage.

In a World Cup qualifier against Japan last month, the goalkeeper pulled off 18 saves to help Singapore hold the Samurai Blue to a goalless draw at Saitama Stadium.

Since then, the custodian has been offered a trial at J-league side Matsumoto Yamaga FC.

Similarly, as the Barclays Asia Trophy show rolls into town starting with a match against Arsenal tonight at the National Stadium, the local players in the Singapore Select side want to put themselves in the shop window.

LionsXII left-back Hafiz Abu Sujad said: "This is a time for those of us who are given a chance to show what we can do. A lot of people will be watching and they won't just be watching Arsenal, they will be looking at us too."

Social media has also become a favourite tool among the fans and media outlets alike as an exquisite piece of skill or a stupendous save is shared across various platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Gabriel Quak, an avid fan of the Gunners, is one player who may well relish the opportunity to nutmeg the likes of Per Mertesacker and Co tonight to earn fame on social media. "Who knows? Someone may well take notice of us if we stand out," noted the tricky winger.

"It is just about who performs on that day. You can have many bad games and good games in your career but it is what you do on the day itself that matters."

Coach V. Sundramoorthy is also confident that his players are capable of impressing the audience. "There are plenty of young players in this squad who can do well for themselves," said Sundram, who himself signed for Swiss club FC Basel after impressing for the Lions during his playing days.

"At the end of the day, if it does happen that a foreign club is impressed by any of the players, it is only good for Singapore football," he added.

"The boys are really motivated for the match and I hope that we can give Arsenal a good fight."


This article was first published on July 15, 2015.
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