He was described as the game-changer for Singapore. A substitute who could alter the course of the game for the Lions in the AFF Suzuki Cup but unfortunately for Shahril Ishak his AFF Championship campaign is over.
Indeed for Fandi Ahmad, Shahril’s absence will be a big blow for the team but worryingly it highlights the lack of depth in this Singapore team. Before the tournament started, Fandi noted how he doesn’t have a big talent pool to choose his players from.
He is not wrong there especially when one considers how there are only seven local clubs in the Singapore Premier League. Now compare this with the Thai League where they have 16 teams playing and also includes a system of relegation and promotion which Singapore’s top-tier does not have.
Again such a situation shines the platform on the long-standing troubles of Singapore football. Currently Fandi has three forwards in Ikhsan Fandi, veteran Khairul Amri and Iqbal Hussain. Adding to his woes is Faris Ramli’s fitness issues after he pulled his hamstring against the Philippines.
When taking a look at Fandi’s forwards, it seems as if only Ikhsan seems to be dependable as Amri can’t last for 90 minutes while Iqbal is still untested at this level of competition. Is it any wonder why the Lions felt wounded after their trip from the Philippines?