Aide backs cubs against United, Liverpool

Singapore Youth Selection head coach Aide Iskandar has backed the his boys to prove themselves against tough opponents in the NexLions Cup.

NexLions Cup
Kelvin Yap

By Kelvin Yap

Liverpool, Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon - three top clubs whose academies produced the likes of Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo - will take part in the inaugural NexLions Cup alongside a Singapore Youth Selection squad.

Aide has backed his side to give a good account of themselves as Singaporetake on a Liverpool side featuring Adam Morgan and Samed Yesil - players with first team experience under their belt.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for the boys - I wish l had a chance to play against Liverpool when I was 19.This is something I told my boys to take this opportunity. 

"It [the tournament] is all about the development. I think that's where we allow the youths from all the teams here to showcase. We're talking about the next generation of young players who are will be playing for the first team, and the next generation of the national side for Singapore."

Despite having to overcome jet lag and acclimatise to the hot and humid weather, both Manchester United and Liverpool's Academy Managers Brian McClair and Frank McParland are bullish about their teams' chancesy.

Both are targeting to win their opening matches against Sporting Lisbon and Singapore Youth Selection respectively - a prospect which will set up a mouth-watering final on Sunday against each other.

Asked how his team is adapting to the local weather since they have just arrived from near wintery conditions, former United striker McClair joked that the rainy weather here is actually "like Manchester".

On a more serious note, he signaled their clear intentions for this tournament when he added: "It's a big challenge for us as we are going up against a team that has produced some very good players, but we are looking forward to that and we would like to win."

He tried to downplay the rivalry between the two Northwest clubs however and insisted that at this level such talk is not really relevant and the most important thing is the development of the young players in such tournaments.

But his counterpart McParland threw down the gauntlet when he said that as far as Liverpool is concerned, they always derive pleasure in beating their neighbours and close rivals.

He said: "No doubt we have a friendly relationship with all the other academies, but the boys always enjoy getting one over United as the two clubs have such a traditional rivalry."

Liverpool Under-19 skipper Morgan, who is one of four players in the squad who has already had a taste of first team action under Brendan Rodgers, agreed with McParland. He said: "You want to win the tournament and you don't go into a tournament wanting to get second or third. We are here to win it. We know it's for development but as young lads, we want to win."

Not that Sporting Lisbon Under-19 and Singapore Youth Selection are prepared to just lie down and let the English clubs have everything their way.

Said the Portuguese side's Under-19 coach Abel Ferreira: "We respect Manchester United and Liverpool, but we have met them before and we are up for the challenge. We are definitely targeting to win the tournament."

Buoyed by the senior national side's victory over Philippines the night before, Singapore Youth Selection head coach Aide believes that his young charges will give Liverpool a good fight in their match-up and not make it easy for the Anfield club.

"The team's morale is definitely boosted because of the win yesterday against the Philippines. The boys are getting a lot of confidence from the Lions' performance and are motivated to do well against Liverpool as this is a great platform for the players, especially as they will no doubt have aspirations to make it to the senior national team some day."


The first round of the NexLions Cup will see Singapore take on Liverpool while Manchester United play Sporting Lisbon on Friday at Jalan Besar.

Timings for the matches are as follows:

14 December 2012, Friday
Match 1 (Singapore vs. Liverpool) : 6.15pm
Match 2 (Manchester United vs. Sporting Lisbon) : 8.45pm

16 December 2012, Sunday
3rd Placing: 4.45pm
Final: 7.15pm 



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