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Centreback Afiq Yunos, in red, has been tipped by Aide to be key player at the year-end SEA Games

Young Lions have improved, says Aide

Centreback Afiq Yunos, in red, has been tipped by Aide to be key player at the year-end SEA Games

Stanford Sng

The ex-Singapore captain believes his charges have got better as the season has progressed, with the team's ultimate objective being to provide the SEA Games team with a wider pool

Currently rooted to the bottom of the S.League table with nine points from 23 games and only two victories all season, the Courts Young Lions have not had the best year so far.

But with those wins both coming in the past month, it appears that the team has been putting in better performances as compared to the start of the campaign when they went 12 matches without a point.

Their coach, Aide Iskandar, clearly believes his charges are much improved, as he spoke to media after their narrow 3-2 loss to Brunei DPMM on Friday night.

"I think the objective of this team is to prepare the players for the SEA Games [in December]," he pointed out.

"Players like Afiq [Yunos], Raihan [Rahman], Al-Qaasimy [Rahman], Syazwan [Buhari]; 99 per cent of these boys qualify to play in the SEA Games this year. Afiq especially, I think he will be a key player.

"As I’ve said earlier this year, we are a developmental team and we are trying to create a wider pool of players for the SEA Games team. These are the matches they need: tough matches and playing against experienced teams.

"For me, I think they have learnt a lot and they have definitely improved."

Aide also admitted that National Service commitments, amongst other issues, have made it impossible to field a settled team.

"We have our limitations as well, with irregularity of attendance with the players," he said.

"It’s very difficult but we have to work around it, we have to make do with whatever we have. For example, the last game I had [Nur] Na’iim [Ishak] who played really well, but today he can’t come because of National Service.

"Sahil [Suhaimi] just finished his one on September 12 so that’s the reason why he’s been playing regularly, Syazwan had only two trainings this week so I had one training session without any goalkeepers because Rudy [Khairullah] had to play in a school game.

"We can’t keep the same team all the time and there is no consistency but I believe the management also agree that [forming] this [team] is to actually give them playing time."

With only four games left to play, yesterday's loss condemned the Young Lions to a last-place finish.