LionsXII to play friendly against Persis Solo

The Malaysian Super League champions will be having a training tour of Indonesia to prepare for the upcoming season, beginning with a game against the Indonesia Premier League side

The LionsXII will be looking to kick-start their three-match Indonesian training tour with a win against Indonesia Premier League (IPL) side Persis Solo FC.

The friendly at the Manahan Stadium on Saturday afternoon will also be the LionsXII’s first match since their 3-1 defeat to the Courts Young Lions on Tuesday.

However, their task will not be made easier by injuries to four players, including central defender Safuwan Baharudin, who injured his knee in Tuesday’s defeat.

The other three players expected to miss out through injury are Shahfiq Ghani (back), Khairul Nizam (knee), Shakir Hamzah (hamstring).

In addition, newly appointed coach Fandi Ahmad will also be unable to call on the services of defender Madhu Mohana and winger Faris Ramli who are both not travelling to Indonesia because of National Service commitments.

The LionsXII arrived in Yogyakarta on Friday and proceeded to have a short training session, although they will not have time to familiarise themselves with the field conditions in Manahan as they will only travel to Solo on match-day.

Fandi will hope the 2013 Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions will be able to display improvements in their finishing, an area he identified they needed to “fine-tune” after their loss to the Young Lions.

He had also told the official LionsXII website that their fitness had been a bit suspect in the second half.

“We need the competitive matches to get the players in the right frame of mind before the MSL season starts," Fandi said at his squad’s training session on Thursday. "It’s also about team bonding and giving the players opportunities to get to know each other better.”

Persis has printed 23,000 tickets for the match, which is scheduled to kick off at 3p.m. Tickets will cost between $10,000 Rp (approximately SGD$1.00) and $20,000 Rp.

The LionsXII will complete the rest of their tour with two more friendly matches on January 7 and 10 before opening their 2014 MSL campaign against Pahang on January 17 in the Charity Shield.