By Khalis Rifhan
After an impressive season with the LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League, Shahdan Sulaiman has cemented his spot in the Singapore national team as coach Raddy Avramovic has put his faith in the player during the recent series of friendly matches.
The midfielder has recently become a regular for the Lions, playing alongside veterans such as Mustafic Fahrudin, Qiu Li, Shi Jiayi and captain Shahril Ishak after making his debut against Thailand in 2010.
Although recent results have not gone their way, Shahdan feel that it will have little impact on his teammates as they head into their crucial AFF Suzuki Cup opener against Malaysia on November 25.
“As for friendly matches, it has little effect on the morale of the team and we are eager for the first game in the Suzuki Cup,” Shahdan asserted.
“[For the] first game against Malaysia, definitely some [of us] may feel nervous but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Singapore's statistics in recent times is worrying, with only three wins in their previous nine ‘A’ international friendlies, with those coming against lowly opposition in the form of Hong Kong, India and Pakistan.
The playmaker however insists that those results matter little, and personally aims to do better than their previous Suzuki Cup outing in 2012, where they were knocked out during the group stages.
“I would want to make it through to the semi-final as [during] my first experience [two years ago] we were out of the group stages. So I do not want that to happen again.”
Singapore open their AFF Cup campaign against Malaysia on November 25, before taking on Indonesia three days later. Their final group game will be on December 1 against Laos.