Singapore players pushing for a Suzuki Cup spot

Time is running out for fringe players to impress Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy, but here are some who could still make the final cut for next month's Suzuki Cup… 

Only a handful of league games remain before the S.League season wraps up, leaving many players with little time or chance to impress the national selectors.

But recent international friendlies against Hong Kong and Malaysia showed that interim coach V.Sundramoorthy might need to bolster his options, especially up front and in midfield.

Hence, here are some players who could still persuade the ‘Dazzler’ to include them in his provisional squad.

Syafiq Zainal

Club: Balestier Khalsa

Position: Striker

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Syafiq who? You would be forgiven for asking, after all, the Balestier Khalsa forward may not be a well known name considering he has suffered through some quiet seasons with Young Lions and LionsXII.

Even when Syafiq joined the Tigers this year, he wasn't helped by a scoreless streak that stretched 1,288 minutes over 27 appearances, including 16 starts.

But the hard-working Syafiq has popped up from nowhere of late, scoring twice in his last three games to help the ailing Tigers in their S.League campaign.

The Lions have found scoring to be their Achilles heels of late, with Sundram’s side only managing a paltry three goals in six games. It is a real concern that Singapore does not have many striking options left, especially since veteran Fazrul Nawaz has been ruled out due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

But if Syafiq can continue his form in the upcoming games against Tampines Rovers and Brunei DPMM, the forward could perhaps grab Sundram’s attention. A long shot, but one Sundram cannot afford to ignore as he searches for the answer to his striking woes.

Khairul Nizam

Club: Home United

Position: Striker

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Here’s another forward Sundram might be keen to call upon, especially since the Home United striker has been called up by the coach in the past.

Nizam is not in the richest vein of form, but he definitely possesses the quality required to be Singapore’s leading marksman.

Good in the air and blessed with good technical skills, Nizam can shine on the international stage if he is given the opportunity. Even his half-brother, Singapore’s talismanic marksman Khairul Amri, believes it.

Injuries have largely disrupted his career so far, as has been the case this season, but the 25-year-old proved last year with LionsXII he is a good option when he is match fit.

If an Irfan Fandi who has barely played in the S.League this season can lead the Singapore frontline against Hong Kong, why can’t Nizam?

Shawal Anuar

Club: Geylang international

Position: Winger

Shawal was recently given his Singapore debut when he came on as a 79th-minute substitute in the Lions’ 2-0 loss to Hong Kong earlier this month.

It remains to be seen whether he has cemented his spot in the squad, especially since he had little time to make an impact on debut.

But it cannot be denied that the 25-year-old has been doing well in the league this season, with his immaculate first touch and pace proving to be an asset for Geylang International.

Two games remain for Geylang, with each being vital to the Eagles’ AFC Cup hopes.

If the winger is able to make an impact for Geylang and help them beat AFC Cup rivals Home and Hougang United, then Shawal would most likely retain his place in Sundram’s plans.