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The Courts Young Lions centreback has no qualms playing with the LionsXII star as both have been on the same team before, in what is likely a first-choice pairing for the SEA Games

Cool, calm and composed, Afiq Yunos cuts a formidable figure at the heart of the Courts Young Lions defence. The centreback has been in sparkling form ever since returning to S.League action a few months ago, having sat out the first few rounds due to National Service commitments.

It is testament to his ability that he was named in new coach Bernd Stange's first Singapore squad since taking over as he travelled to Myanmar and Laos for friendlies, and it is no surprise that Under-23 coach V. Sundramoorthy has selected him for the provisional SEA Games squad as well.

Afiq will pair up with a familiar face and friend in Safuwan Baharudin and he is looking forward to resuming their partnership against Indonesia this Saturday.

"Safuwan and I have been in the same team [in Young Lions] before, and I believe we have a decent bond between ourselves," the 22-year-old pointed out, before adding that he was not surprised at how well his junior (by one year) has developed.

"Age is never a factor. Everyone knows that Safuwan has been performing outstandingly well throughout the year. With his experience in the national team and the LionsXII, he is definitely someone whom I can look up to."

He might be one of only two non-LionsXII players in the squad, along with Geylang International's Delwinder Singh, but Afiq feels the both of them will have no problems assimilating with the rest.

"Definitely not," he responded when posed the question.

"We have all been in a same team before, and our friendship has never been affected despite being in different teams [so] bonding with the rest shouldn't be an issue."

With the Singapore National Olympic Council set to decide on the U23s' SEA Games participation after the result of the Indonesia game, Afiq says that he will not put undue pressure on himself.

"As much as I feel that this match against Indonesia is important, I will not put so much pressure on myself," he insists.

"With that, I know the team, including myself, will give our 101 per cent for this upcoming match.

"The team should be well prepared to fight against Indonesia, as we have the full strength of players [available]."

The Singapore U23s will kick off their friendly against Indonesia at 8.45p.m. on Saturday at the Jalan Besar Stadium.