Aide names 20-man Singapore SEA Games squad

Iqbal Hussain and Christopher van Huizen are among the notable absentees from Singapore's SEA Games squad after the team was announced on Wednesday night.

Coach Aide Iskandar and his team were given the tough task of picking the final 20 players from a 29-man shortlist that had been in specialised training for the past month.

This included a week-long training tour in Japan as well as two final warm-up friendlies against Laos and Timor Leste in the past week.

The nine unlucky players to miss the cut are goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar, defenders Taufiq Muqminin, Zakir Samsudin and Nurullah Hussein, midfielders Shameer Aziq, Muhaimin Suhaimi, Christopher van Huizen and Afiq Noor, and striker Iqbal Hussain.

16 out of the 20 players are from the Courts Young Lions, with two from the LionsXII and one each from S.League sides Home United and Balestier Khalsa.

The Singapore U23s will take on the Philippines in their first match on June 1 at Jalan Besar Stadium, and Aide is keen to keep the momentum going from their recent performances.

“Congratulations to the players who have made the final 20,” he said.

“However, they are aware that this is just the beginning of the final lap of their SEA Games journey, and that they have to remained focused and disciplined.

“We had a good final preparation phase which really helped to raise the fitness levels of the players, and the boys are now working hard to reach their peak.

“The team spirit is very good and the players are focused and raring to go for their opening group match against the Philippines."

Aide admitted that whittling the squad down to the final 20 had not been an easy decision.

“My coaches and I had sleepless nights over it,” he said.

“It was a very close call for the nine players who were dropped because competition for their positions was very tight,

The former national skipper also thanked the players for all the hard work, effort and commitment they had put into training.

“As a former player, I know how disappointing the news can be,” he said.

“I want to reassure them that it does not mean that their playing careers are over just because they did not make it to the SEA Games squad.

“They are still young, and have long playing careers ahead of them. In fact, some are still eligible for the next one or two editions of the SEA Games.

“All these players are also still part of the Young Lions family. We have invited them and their families to watch all our matches, and to cheer on their teammates.”

Singapore SEA Games Squad

Goalkeepers: Syazwan Buhari, Rudy Khairullah (Courts Young Lions)

Defenders: Ho Wai Loon (Balestier Khalsa), Shakir Hamzah, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli (Courts Young Lions)

Midfielders: Faris Ramli (LionsXII), Stanely Ng (Home United), Safirul Sulaiman, Anumanthan Mohan Kumar, Adam Swandi, Suria Prakash, Pravin Gunasagaran (Courts Young Lions)

Forwards: Sahil Suhaimi (LionsXII), Shahfiq Ghani, Shamil Sharif, Irfan Fandi, Amy Recha Pristifana (Courts Young Lions)

Photo: Football Association of Singapore