Sundram: This is "more or less" my Suzuki Cup squad

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With only a few months left to go until the year-end Suzuki Cup, Sundram has nearly made up his mind about the players to bring with him to Philippines… 

Singapore interim coach V. Sundramoorthy shared that he has nearly settled on his 23-man squad for this year's AFF Suzuki Cup.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Sundram believes the majority of the players he has selected for the upcoming friendly against Bahrain on September 1 will be in his final squad for the regional tournament.

“Our objective is to go to Bahrain and prepare the team for the Suzuki Cup,” Sundram shared with reporters on the sidelines of national team training on Monday.

“More or less, this squad, with a couple of others like Faris Ramli and maybe a few players who impress in the S.League in the next couple of months.

“You can take it that the majority of these players here will be heading to the Suzuki Cup and we will add on in certain positions if needed."

While age was an important factor under previous coach Bernd Stange’s regime, with younger players given preference ahead of experienced veterans, Sundram insisted the door was open for older players to still make his final list.

Veteran defender Daniel Bennett, 38, is an example of Sundram’s policy, with 35-year-old Noh Rahman previously called up too although he ultimately rejected the chance and retired instead.

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Bennett has made one appearance under Sundram

“Age is just a number, it's about performance. If the players can perform and achieve what I want, we will see the best players donning the Singapore jersey,” Sundram added.

“Experience is one part of it, (but) the most important thing is whether you can do the job on the pitch. If they can do a job on the pitch, the experience will give them an advantage.”

Ranked 159th in the world, Singapore will be the underdogs when they play Bahrain, who are 33 places in front of the Lions.

But Sundram intends to make life difficult for the hosts and gain a credible result for the country, which suffered a blow when it lost to Cambodia for the first time since 1972 in their last international match.

I think we're more or less ready to go to the Suzuki Cup and do our best

- Sundram

“We'll see how Bahrain plays and we'll plan for them tactically. We will definitely keep it tight and make sure all the players understand our game plan. We'll make it difficult for the opponents to break us down.

“We missed a lot of players during the training tour (in Japan), but it was important to get exposure for the other (fringe) players so that we could take a closer look at them,” Sundram reflected of his time in charge of the Lions, which has so far brought about one win and two defeats.

“I'm just about three months into the job and I think we're more or less ready to go to the Suzuki Cup and do our best.”

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FFT