Young Lions captain Al-Qaasimy Rahman admitted that the more experienced players in Singapore’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games squad need to step out of their shells on the eve of Singapore's 3-1 victory over Cambodia.
The Singapore Under-23s bounced back from a 1-2 loss to Myanmar with a 3-1 victory over Cambodia on Monday.
Before the match, Al-Qaasimy said he expected those who have been on the international scene longer to act as reference points for the rest of the squad.
“A lot of us have to step up, even myself,” began the 23-year-old, who had previously participated in the 2011 and 2013 editions of the SEA Games, in a pre-match conference.
“Being a senior player, the responsibility is definitely on my shoulders. So of course I have to be the one stepping up and telling the rest of the team that the last result [the loss to Myanmar] was just a one-off.
“We thought that we had done enough in the 90 minutes, but after analysing our games and watching the replays, realised that there was actually a lot more we could have done.
Despite the right-back’s insistence that the squad remained united despite the mounting criticism, he still called for the public to remain behind the team, insisting players such as Syazwan Buhari and Faris Ramli would come good.
“You could see how heartbroken Syazwan was after that last game,” Al-Qaasimy continued. “He felt like it was him who caused the loss, but I told him that we win and lose as a team.
“For the past few years, he has been our Superman at the back, so I don’t see any issues with him reproducing his performances of old in the subsequent games.
“I also know how badly Faris and Sahil [Suhaimi] want to score, but I told them that I don’t want them to do so just to prove their critics wrong.
“I want them to score because they know they can do it. I can see their desire and I hope they deliver this time round.”
Image credit: Alson Ong/Football Association of Singapore