Despite the extended injury list, Singapore Captain Baihakki Khaizan remains confident that the players will rise to the occasion.
With attacking players such as Khairul Nizam and Sufian Anuar joining Shahril Ishak and Khairul Amri in the treatment room, the Lions look bereft of options up front.
"While we don't have a complete selection of players, I believe that the players that are stepping in will be fully committed to the upcoming games" said the towering centre half.
The Causeway Challenge kicks off this Friday, with the first leg being played at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, followed by a return leg in Shah Alam on Monday. The Lions look to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Hong Kong with a win against their arch-rivals.
“It wasn’t a disaster” he said, explaining that the game was an opportunity for Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic to try out new tactics and players.
The games against Malaysia on the other hand, are a different story.
“There’s a lot of pride at stake, just look at the history between the countries” said Baihakki.
Coach Avramovic retained his stoic professionalism, saying that “any international game is an international game and we will look to win it.”
Pointing to the statistics, he said that Singapore has not been beaten by Malaysia since 2004, and that these games have always been crowd pullers.
“Games against Malaysia have always been quality games; I don’t see any reason why it would be any different now.”
He’s also looking to fine tune the balance between youth and experience in the team, and will be making a total of six changes for the upcoming game. When quizzed on which of the Singapore players he felt had developed the most over the year, Avramovic responded with a shrug, saying that he could only judge them based on their international performance.