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Baihakki wants Singapore to go in as 'underdogs' for 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

Baihakki wants Singapore to go in as 'underdogs' for 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

Zeng Liwei

The experienced defender feels that Singapore are long shots for the tournament after the team's performance in recent matches

Singapore centre-back Baihakki Khaizan has downplayed Singapore's chances for the Suzuki Cup 2012.

Baihakki had experienced euphoria with the Lions in the 2005 and 2007 editions of the tournament, when Singapore won back-to-back titles.

However, the poor performances in the 2008 and 2010 editions and international matches have led the LIONSXII skipper to temper down expectations for the tournament.

"We like to come into the tournament as underdogs because [for] the previous two years we have not been getting the results that we wanted," he said.

"Our friendly results have been neither here nor there, so I hope [for] this AFF we have to be at the right game at the right time.

"I want to go as far as we could, we can say we want to go and be champions, but we don’t want to be too ambitious."

However, being a long-term stalwart of the national team, Bahaikki feels he can contribute to the squad much better now, especially in terms of helping the younger squad members. 

"The last two Suzuki Cup were disappointing, of course I want to come back stronger, and I think I am stronger now," Baihakki explained.

"I think they (the younger players) respond to our commands and they give their best to try, they want to fight as how we call them to. It's good because one day they will be the ones taking over from us, and they need step up their game as well and everyone as a team blends really well."

The defensive lynchpin has also emphasised on the need for the team in being clinical with their chances for the tournament, and believes Singapore is prepared well for the Suzuki Cup 2012.

"Conceding goals is part and nature of us defenders accepting it," the 28-year-old said.

"What is important now is because tournaments are different from cup games. This is a tournament that you need points, [which] is as important as goals as well.

"The team knows well what problems we have and we are doing everything [we can] about those problems during trainings. We are on the right track."

Singapore will face arch-rivals Malaysia later today in their first match of the campaign.

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