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The team will be comprised mainly of Under-23 players as part of preparations for the SEA Games in December and will still be led by V. Sundramoorthy in their second MSL season.

By Khalis Rifhan
khalis.rifhan@goal.com
@KhalisRifhan

The LionsXII squad for the 2013 Malaysian Super League [MSL] season was officially unveiled at a press conference held at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The team will still be helmed by former Singapore international V.Sundrammorthy, with former Gombak United coach K. Balagumaran assisting him.

The squad, largely made up of under-23 players, will be boosted by the inclusion of five senior players in captain Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan, Isa Halim, Hariss Harun and new addition Fazrul Nawaz.

Despite having a relatively younger squad compared to the previous year, Football Association of Singapore [FAS] president Zainudin Nordin believes that they will be up for the challenge.

“While there will be more young players below the age of 23, we are confident that they will put up their best performance in the league and continue to attract Singaporeans to their matches," he stated.

“While the LionsXII players will strive for success in the MSL and the Cup competitions, it is our objective to pepare them for the SEA Games later this year.

“We are confident that the experience and exposure in the MSL will benefit our LionsXII U-23 players, most of whom are likely to represent Singapore at the SEA Games in December.”

The new Lions in the team, such as Fazrul, Iqbal Hussain and Hafiz Sujad are expected to provide fresh inputs alongside tried-and-tested members like Hariss, Irwan Shah and Safuwan. The senior members of the team of the team will anchor the squad and boost their chances of besting the opposition. 

Despite having a new squad to work with, Sundram promised that his charges would put up a good display in the league and cup competitions.

“The LionsXII squad has been working together as a team and we have remained unbeaten in our pre-season preparations, which serves as an excellent opportunity for us to build on for 2013 season," he said.

“We are ready for the MSL and we will put up a consistent good display for our fans from the first game [onwards]."

The LionsXII will travel up to Negeri Sembilan on Wednesday to face 2012 Malaysian Cup runners-up, Malaysian Armed Forces [ATM] in their league opener.

ATM lifted the first title of the year as they beat defending league champions Kelantan on penalties in the curtain-raiser Piala Sumbangsih Cup on Saturday night at Shah Alam Stadium.

The LionsXII's first home game will be on January 12 against arch-rivals Selangor FA at the Jalan Besar Stadium at 7.45pm.

Full LionsXII squad

Head Coach: V Sundramoorthy

Assistant Coach
: K Balagumaran

Goalkeepers
: Khairulhin Khalid, Neezam Aziz, Syed Sufiyan, Izwan Mahbud

Defenders: Faritz Hameed, Shakir Hamzah, Ali Hudzaifi, Baihakki Khaizan, Irwan Shah, Safuwan Baharudin, Madhu Mohana, Faris Azienuddin

Midfielders: Shahril Ishak, Hafiz Sujad, Zulfahmi Arifin, Aqhari Abdullah, Nazrul Nazari, Faris Ramli, Gabriel Quak, Izzdin Shafiq, Safirul Sulaiman, Isa Halim, Hariss Harun, Raihan Rahman

Forwards: Iqbal Hussain, Shahfiq Ghani, Syafiq Zainal, Fazrul Nawaz, Khairul Nizam

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