Saturday, 3 December 2011

Singapore determined to do well in Malaysian league

Singapore Lions, as the republic's team in the Super League will be called, are sparing no effort in ensuring a decent outing in the coming season while the Young Tigers  prepare for their S-League debut.

The Lions have been strengthened by the inclusion of internationals Safuwan Baharuddin, Shahril Ishak, Khairul Amri, Isa Halim, Juma'at Jantan and Shaiful Esah while former Kedah, Pahang and Singapore striker V. Sundramoorthy is expected to be named coach of the side.

The Young Tigers, in contrast, have stayed true to their belief in youth as coach Ong Kim Swee prepares to blood new players to replace those being released following the expiry of their contracts.

Muslim Ahmad, Abdul Shukor Jusoh, Faizal Muhammad and Affize Faisal Mamat have joined FA Cup winners Terengganu, K. Gurusamy has penned a two-year contract with Selangor and goalkeeper Zamir Selamat has moved to Johor FC, now helmed by former Selangor coach K. Devan.

Kim Swee will name a pool of 30 players for the S-League campaign with several promising players from the Young Tigers B squad in the Premier League expected to be promoted while Kuala Lumpur hot-shot Ahmad Hazwan Bakri is another potential candidate for inclusion.

The Lions will mark Singapore's return to Malaysian football after a 17-year absence although the Young Lions featured in the 2005 FA Cup, reaching the semi-finals.

Their return was made possible after the FAs of Malaysia and Singapore signed a four-year deal in July to promote the game between the two neighbouring countries.

The Lions will play their home games at the Jalan Besar Stadium as will the Young Tigers, who will fly in and out of Kuala Lumpur on match days.

Singapore's return is expected to generate great interest among fans, which should lead to a rise in attendance with Lions defender Safuwan rating the M-League higher than the S-League.

“It's probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” the former Courts Young Lions player told the Today newspaper. “If I miss this, I may never get the chance to experience this again.

“And the standard of football in the M-League is probably higher than the S-League. That's why I decided to go for it. Furthermore, quite a few of the national players are in the team, so it's a good chance to gel with them.”

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