The first Singapore national team fixture in the V. Sundramoorthy era will officially kick off this Friday and all eyes will be on the players in his starting 11…
The 50-year-old was officially unveiled as Bernd Stange’s successor last Friday and has had five days since to cast his eyes over the 23-man team he picked for the AYA Bank Cup friendly tournament in Myanmar.
Sundram will lead his charges into battle against the hosts on Friday night in Vientiane and FourFourTwo has picked out the players who are likely to help spur the caretaker coach’s quest to start his reign on a winning note.
Goalkeeper: Hassan Sunny
International experience: 53 caps
Having started the previous two Singapore games, Hassan could be given the chance to build on those appearances by Sundram ahead of Izwan Mahbud.
The 32-year-old custodian has been in good form for Army United in the Thai top flight, starting all but one of their league games and keeping three clean sheets for the league’s fifth-best defence.
Right-back: Nazrul Nazari
International experience: 14 caps, 0 goals
Experienced defender Noh Rahman was expected to fill in this position, but his late withdrawal after announcing his international retirement has opened up the opportunity for Nazrul to slot in here.
The 25-year-old will be keen to impress upon his recall and has already declared his intention to prove himself in a new regime. The Hougang United star will provide plenty of pace down the right and his trickery will be an asset in offence.
Centre-back: Baihakki Khaizan
International experience: 122 caps, 5 goals
The commanding defender, who was named in the previous team but played no part in both games due to a slight injury, should make a return to the starting line-up here.
A regular for Johor Darul Ta’zim II at club level, the 32-year-old’s experience at international level and ability to read play will be a major boost in the back-line.
Centre-back: Hariss Harun
International experience: 61 caps, 4 goals
Sundram has already revealed his plans to deploy midfield anchorman Hariss at the heart of defence instead, where he will make up for Madhu Mohana’s absence due to suspension.
It may not be his usual position, but the versatile Hariss should be able to adapt to this role and provide a good foil to Baihakki. The 25-year-old is rarely flustered on the ball and will bring calmness and leadership at the back.
Left-back: Hafiz Sujad
International experience: 26 caps, 1 goal
Hafiz started his career in midfield but the full-back role is something he has grown accustomed to over the past few years and he will be expected to start ahead of Zulfadli Zainal, with Shakir Hamzah and Shaiful Esah both out of the squad due to injury.
The 25-year-old has been in relatively good form for Tampines Rovers this season and his boundless energy will come in handy down the flank. His ability to play on the wing and even in midfield also provides Sundram with tactical versatility.
Centre midfield: Safuwan Baharudin
International experience: 57 caps, 5 goals
Having started his career at centre-back, the middle of the park is looking like where Safuwan’s future lies, both at club and international level.
The PDRM FA star is a dynamic presence in the engine room and undoubtedly one of the best players to have risen through the ranks for Singapore in recent memory. The 24-year-old is usually a difficult customer for opponents to handle and his aerial ability will also serve the team’s attacking forays well.