The Lions will be taking on Hong Kong on June 1 in an international friendly that's bound to stoke the interest of the home supportersThe Lions travel to Hong Kong for the first of their three international friendlies, with only 19 from the squad list of 27 making the flight given National Service and injuries.
The national team looks set to put behind the horror of the 7-1 drubbing by Iraq earlier this year in the World Cup Qualifiers, focusing instead on the upcoming friendlies against Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Coach Raddy Avramovic has said he will be using the friendlies as an opportunity for the squad to gel, in preparation for the 2012 Suzuki Cup, which will be held in Malaysia and Thailand at the end of the year.
Deprived of key players like Hariss Harun and Khairul Amri, due to National Service and injury respectively, Avramovic will be looking to in-form LionsXII pair Sufian Anuar and Agu Casmir to lead the charge in Hong Kong.
With a core group of players from the Malaysian Super League squad, and a mix of youth and experience from the S.League, the current group of players look to be perfectly balanced. In their last training match against the Cubs, the Lions looked sharp, with crisp exchange of passes in midfield, and intelligent attacking runs made in the final third.
Tampines Rovers midfielder Mustafic Fahrudin impressed in a deep midfield position, orchestrating the team’s play with simple but incisive passes. Home United’s Qiu Li also looks to impress in the forthcoming games. His versatile attacking abilities and physical presence might be Avramovic’s trump card off the bench.
Whatever the result in the friendlies, the gaffer will be hoping to give his players time on the pitch, in order to formulate the nation’s bid for Suzuki Cup triumph. The onus is now on the players to impress, and show that they have what it takes to be the champions of ASEAN.