|By Khalis Rifhan
Philippines will be no stranger to the Singapore team, with the Lions experiencing some bitter moments against the basketball-loving nation earlier this year.
After a forty-year wait for a win against Singapore, the Azkals registered successive victories against the Lions in friendly matches, first in September and then in Cebu, prior to the AFF Suzuki Cup.
After their last Group B match against Laos, coach Radojko 'Raddy' Avramovic is crossing his fingers that the players will be able to recharge themselves as soon as possible before the semi-final tie.
Raddy feels that it will be a different ball game against the Philippines as compared to the other countries in the region.
“I just hope [that] physically our players can come back, as they were exhausted in the last game,” the Serbian said.
“It is not [a typical] South-east Asian game against Philippines. It is physical and [they have a] different type of movement going forward and also different type of tactics; most teams are affected by that.”
To Raddy, revenge against the Philippines should not be the sole motivation for the players to perform, as he emphasized that they have to constantly be aiming for victory.
“If you need to specially motivate the players to go to the final, then I don’t think it’s right," he pointed out.
“Thailand is by far the best team. If we are good enough, at the end we [still] have to play them.
“Every one of them should want to go the final and [maybe] play against Thailand. After a few years [of not making it], I hope we can be in the final and if it is Malaysia, it's [also] fine with me.”
Singapore will meet Philippines on December 8 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, before hosting the return leg on December 12 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.