National football icon Fandi Ahmad had done a remarkable job in steadying a sinking ship that is the Singapore national football team, guiding the team through a promising showing in last November’s ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup following the free falling reign under V.Sundramoorthy. With the managerial job an interim appointment for Fandi Ahmad, the head coach position remains vacant as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) continues searching for a suitable candidate. Amidst the uncertainty surrounding the national team, we take a look at five of the best local footballers who could have huge roles to play in reviving the Lions.
The second oldest son of Fandi Ahmad, Ihksan Fandi has showed immense potential playing as a striker in recent years. He was recently signed on a two-year contract by Norwegian first division side Raufoss IL, making him the first Singaporean to play in Europe in 30 years. With a composure in front of goal that belies his age, fantastic acceleration and aerial abilities, he is set to lead the line for Singapore in years to come. Having already opened his accounts for both club and country, the future is for the taking for the 19 year old prodigy.
Gabriel Quak Jun Yi
The former Catholic High School Alumni has improved by leaps and bounds since the days where he was fined for being involved in the infamous on pitch fight between the Young Lions and Chinese side Beijing Guoan Talent. The fleet footed winger possesses a flair rarely seen amongst local footballers, often embarking on dazzling runs, and also possesses a good cross with his left boot. He chose to sign for S.League side Warriors FC in the offseason after spending a year in the Thai league, rejecting offers from overseas clubs to spend more time with his family. He is the first Singaporean Chinese who has featured for the national team on a consistent basis in recent years, and at 28 years of age, he is right in his prime.
For all of Singapore’s footballing troubles, one position in which our nation has been blessed with over the years is none other than the goalkeeper. We have developed quality custodians, from the likes of David Lee in the 80s, Lionel Lewis in the early 2000s to current no.1 Hassan Sunny. He has endured a difficult spell with injuries previously, allowing younger compatriot Izwan Mahbud to steal the limelight in recent years (who can forget his 18 saves against Japan?). However, Hassan Sunny has played himself back to his best with Thai outfit Army United FC, and has re-established himself as the nation’s top custodian most recently in the AFF Suzuki Cup. The only goalkeeper to win S-League’s player of the year award with Warriors FC in 2014, his quality is undoubted and at 34, he still has years ahead of him.
Singapore’s very own ‘Total Footballer’ is only 27 years of age and is set to remain a key player in the national set up for years to come. Whilst primarily deployed as a centre back for the national team, he often plays as a defensive midfielder for his current club, Malaysian side Pahang FA. He possesses the technical ability and physical attributes to play many positions, from centre back, right back, central midfield to a striker – a position which he played while on loan with Australia’s Melbourne City FC in 2015. During the stint, he managed to score two goals in six appearances, demonstrating his goal scoring prowess, something which he has shown for club and country. Known for his timely tackling and aerial ability, the highly talented central defender is the bedrock of the Lions.
Singapore Football’s ‘Captain Fantastic’, the all action central midfielder Hariss Harun currently plies his trade with Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim. He remains the youngest ever Singaporean to make his full international debut at the age of 16 years and 217 days, and with all the right reasons to do so too. Over the years, the 28 year old has established himself as one of the best box to box midfielders in the region, with boundless energy on the pitch. Strong in his tackles, and with fine passing abilities, it is little wonder he has made the central midfield position his own for both club and country.Leave a comment