Shahfiq: Shahdan and I have to prove our worth

Shahfiq Ghani believes he and fellow international teammate Shahdan Sulaiman have lots to prove in the Lions' final preparation match before the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Singapore will play Cambodia on Sunday and it appears head coach V.Sundramoorthy has nearly made up his mind on whom to bring to the AFF Suzuki Cup, with 24 players out of 30 called up turning up for training on Friday.

With the reserved slot in the 23-man squad set to be filled by Geylang International goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari, it means Sundram will have to cut one more player from his team.

It appears the fight will be between Shahfiq and Shahdan, with both players having to prove their fitness and form after only recovering from long-term injuries recently.

And Shahfiq acknowledged that it was a morale booster to earn a call-up after being out on the sidelines for so long.

However, he believes that he and Shahdan could still be dropped if they fail to impress Sundram against Cambodia, adding that any of the six standby players are capable of taking their places.

“I didn’t know I would get it, I know these chances are hard to come by, especially after coming back from a serious injury,” Shahfiq said.

They called me and Shahdan, but we just came back from serious injuries and we need to show coach a lot of things.

- Shahfiq Ghani

“It’s hard to say I will be picked, because there are lots of midfield players. They called me and Shahdan, but we just came back from serious injuries and we need to show coach a lot of things.

“So we are on par in terms of fitness, but everything else must be on par with other players, if not there was no point for Sundram to call us up.”

Shahfiq also expressed confidence that the Lions will be able to beat Cambodia on Sunday, although they lost to the Angkor Warriors in July — the Republic’s first in 42 years.

The Geylang midfielder’s confidence stemmed from the fact that he played Cambodia in September for his club in a match friendly, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

“Recently when I came back from injury, I played against Cambodia for 90 minutes,” Shafiq continued.

“The intensity was high, but at the end of the day, we faced them before and know how to cope and what to expect from them.”