Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Singapore targetting top-five finish in the Super League next season

Singapore's  LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy believes his team are capable of making an immediate impact in the upcoming M-League season.

Sundramoorthy named a 28-member squad to challenge for titles on their return to Malaysian football after 17 years.

The team, led by Shahril Ishak, will compete in three domestic competitions -- the Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup -- which begin next month.

Sundramoorty said a top-five finish in the Super League would be a realistic target.

"Our ambition is to finish in the top five and we will try our best to qualify for some of the Cup finals too," said Sundramoorthy recently.

"I have a new team but we have a lot of good and experienced players and with good training, we should be able to achieve it.

"It's a realistic target for the first year considering that we have a brand new team gelling together and especially after being out for 17 years.

Sundramoorthy, a pro diploma in coaching holder, was named as coach by the Singapore FA for his experience as head coach of S-League side Jurong FC and the Young Lions.

He was one of two Singapore players, along with Fandi Ahmad, to have played in Europe when he had a stint back in the 1980s Swiss club FC Basel.

The team have been strengthened by the inclusion of internationals Safuwan Baharuddin, Shahril, Khairul Amri, Isa Halim, Juma'at Jantan and Shaiful Esah while forwards Agu Casmir, G. Pravin and defender Sevki Sha'ban are surprise inclusions.

Sundramoorthy was also confident of the groundwork undertaken by his coaching staff to adequately prepare his team against their Super League rivals.

"We have been keeping tabs on our rivals and we know them inside out. We have done our research," he quipped.

He, however, said his side would need to adapt to the partisan and raucous atmosphere generated by the Malaysian fans.

"Certain sides will be difficult for the players with the crowd being noisy but that's the beauty of football. It will be good for the players to experience such atmospheres," he added.

The LionsXII team members are relishing the prospect of playing against Malaysian sides.
"It's good to be here and I signed a one-year contract and I'm looking forward to playing in the M-League," said Shahril,

The Squad -- Goalkeepers: Izwan Mahbud, Hyrulnizam Jumaat, Al-Faiz Ishak;
Defenders: Safuwan Baharudin, Juma'at Jantan, Shaiful Esah, Irwan Shah, Shakir Hamzah, Sevki Sha'ban, Shahir Hamzah, Madhu Mohana;
Midfielders: Hariss Harun , Safirul Sulaiman, Izzdin Shafiq, Isa Halim, Taufiq Rahmat, Raihan Rahman, Shahdan Sulaiman, Yasir Hanapi, Shahril Ishak , Firdaus Kasman, Pravin Guanasagaran;
Strikers:Khairul Amri, Gabriel Quak, Fazli Ayob, Khairul Nizam, Agu Casmir, Sufian Anuar.

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