Experience key for Lions at Suzuki Cup

Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic has backed his experienced players to deliver the goods after naming his 22-man squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup on Wednesday.


By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Seven players with over 50 caps have been called up for the region's premier international competition, including captain Shahril Ishak, centre-back Baihakki Khaizan and striker Khairul Amri.

SAFFC duo Daniel Bennett and Fazrul Nawaz, Tampines Rovers anchorman Mustafic Fahrudin and Home United midfielder Shi Jiayi round off the list of players who have passed the half-century mark for the Lions.

There is also a place for 42-year-old veteran Aleksandar Duric, who some believe will retire from international duty at the end of the tournament despite having agreed to play on for Tampines Rovers in 2013.

Nonetheless, Avramovic has also given the nod to several up-and-coming youngsters including LIONSXII centre-back Safuwan Baharudin, and Courts Young Lions midfielder pair Zulfahmi Arifin and Fazli Ayob.

A few eyebrows have been raised given only five defenders have been named in the squad but Mustafic and 22-year-old midfield general Hariss Harun are both capable of doing a role in the heart of defence should the need arise.

It also remains to be seen who will be in goal for Singapore given Izwan Mahbud and Hyrulnizam Juma'at, who were both part of the LIONSXII side that finished runners-up in the Malaysia Super League this season, have had their fair share of action throughout the year.

Eight members of the current squad were part of the side that emerged victorious in the 2007 edition, including Shahril, Baihakki, Amri and Isa Halim.

Singapore squad for 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

Goalkeepers: Izwan Mahbud, Hyrulnizam Juma'at (both LIONSXII), Joey Sim (Balestier Khalsa)

Defenders: Baihakki Khaizan, Shaiful Esah, Irwan Shah, Safuwan Baharudin (all LIONSXII), Daniel Bennett (SAFFC)

Midfielders: Hariss Harun, Firdaus Kasman, Isa Halim, Shahril Ishak, Shahdan Sulaiman (all LIONSXII), Hafiz Rahim (Gombak United), Fazli Ayob, Zulfahmi Arifin (both Courts Young Lions), Mustafic Fahrudin (Tampines Rovers), Shi Jiayi (Home United)

Forwards: Aleksandar Duric (Tampines Rovers), Fazrul Nawaz (SAFFC), Khairul Amri (LIONSXII), Qiu Li (Home United)

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