|What's next on Coach Stange's (right) plan? (file)|
In a media released issued on 1st of July by the Football Association of Singapore, a total of 41 players from mainly the LionsXII and Courts Young Lions (based on one glance at the list since the name of the clubs of the selected players were omitted) are being grouped into the "Singapore National Team" (Lions) and "Under-23 National Team" (Cubs) for this Austrian trip from July 7-23.
According to the statement, the objective of this trip to central Europe is "part of their preparations for the year-end ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup and next year’s South East Asian Games."
On the look of things, it would be seen as "killing two birds with a stone" when a number of senior players will be readily to give a guiding hand to their junior peers (like how Warriors' Hassan Sunny was called up to help Courts Young Lions in their pre-season Turkish tour), although I would think there might be a confusion here and there given the composition of the two squads.
|"Cub" eligible Sahil Suhaimi is a "Lion" (file)|
It is never unheard of to combine two teams to head off to the training tour and one can't help but ask if this is delicate balancing act to juggle the interest of both "Lions" and "Cubs" at the same time?
Another question would be why six SEA Games eligible players are placed under the "Lions" umbrella and instead of staying with their peers in the Cubs when it was stated that the preparation of the SEA Games is being one of the objectives, shouldn't players be given a task to be focused on?
Not to forget Coach Stange stated one of his aims is to see Singapore play in the Incheon Asian Games in mid September, for that being also an under-23 event and further mystified the placement of that six players (i.e.: Anumanthan Kumar, Sahil Suhaimi, Shakir Hamzah, Faris Ramli, Shahfiq Ghani and Al-Qaasimy Rahman) on the "Lions" list.
|17-year-old Irfan Fandi (middle) is named as a "Cub" (file)|
Just in case you may be wondering who is that 15-year-old in the "Cubs" list - it's Ikhsan Fandi Ahmad, who alongside with his elder brother Irfan are the youngest two in the 20-man contingent.
Friendly Fixtures of Both Teams During Tour (via FAS)
|11 July||Under-23 National Team||FC Pribram (Cze)|
|12 July||National Team||FC Brno (Cze)|
|15 July||Under-23 National Team||Borussia Dortmund Under-23 (Ger)|
|18 July||National Team||Torpedo Moscow (Rus)|
|20 July||Under-23 National Team||TBC*|
|21 July||National Team||Dinamo Moscow (Rus)|