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The Lions are looking to progress to the next round as group winners against the likes of Australia, Japan and Indonesia

The Singapore U22 squad will be taking on their counterparts from football minnows East Timor in their opening match at the AFC U22 Qualifiers.

Mike Wong's boys will be taking on the Timorese on Thursday evening at Riau Main Stadium, Pekanbaru, 4pm local time.

The former Geylang coach is optimistic to get the three points, despite a
less than ideal preparation phase.

"The competition in this group is pretty tight," said Wong.

"All the teams in the group have a chance to qualify. But Australia and Japan are tough opponents and Indonesia can not be taken lightly as well."


Wong also highlighted the relative youth of his squad and the problems that had plagued his side in preparations.

"The average age of the players we brought is 19 and they play in the youth league in Singapore," he added.

"Some of our core players couldn't participate because they had problems with National Service commitments."


Wong also added that he was unfamiliar with his side's opponents on Thursday and cautioned against taking things lightly.

"Timor Leste can be referred to as being new to the world of international football," he said at the pre-match conference on Wednesday.

"But, it's not a reason to say that we will easily win. We must be aware of them, because it would be their motivation to get better."


East Timor coach Sukitate Nario meanwhile is taking the campaign as a learning experience and admitted that his team were nowhere close to being favourites to progress.

After taking on the East Timorese, the Lions will take on favourites Japan on Saturday July 7 at the same venue. The Japanese incidentally also boast a squad that's largely made up Under-19 players as their U-22 team is in preparations for the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

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