Safuwan Baharudin stoked to be back at centre-back for Singapore

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While his desire for silverware is the main driving force, the former LionsXII star is also keen to “pay back” to the national team supporters, after enduring six barren years on the regional stage.

“We have more or less the same group as 2016 and it will be difficult if we don’t win our opening game (against Indonesia). Like in 2016, we started well with a draw over Philippines and were on our way to a draw against Thailand, only for them to score right at the end,” he remarked.

“To be frank, we are not one of the best technically but in terms of tactical discipline and keeping our shape, we are definitely up there. Hopefully for this Suzuki Cup, we can add a bit more attacking football to get goals because we can’t keep relying on set-pieces.

“We exited the last two editions early and fans are calling for improvements and that is only fair from them. It is time to step up because that’s what the fans deserve and that’s what we all want as a team.”

Singapore take on Cambodia on Tuesday before departing for a two-week training camp in Osaka, Japan. The final Singapore 23-man squad will then be announced when the team return to Singapore, just before their opening game against Indonesia on November 9.

Singapore’s AFF Suzuki Cup Group B fixtures

November 9 – Singapore vs Indonesia

November 13 – Philippines vs Singapore

November 21 – Singapore vs Timor-Leste

November 25 – Thailand vs Singapore