Sundramoorthy: Bulk of Suzuki Cup squad finalised

The Suzuki Cup is still more than two months away, but Singapore coach V Sundramoorthy has revealed that he has already selected the “majority” of the players that will feature in the tournament.

Singapore will face Bahrain in an international friendly on Thursday as part of their preparations for the competition, and Sundramoorthy has confirmed that the squad will consist of the same players he will pick for the Suzuki Cup.

However, Sundramoorthy confirmed that strong showings in the closing stages of the S.League could see players elevated to the national team.

“You can take it that majority of these players here will be heading to the Suzuki Cup, and we will add on in certain positions if needed,” Sundramoorthy told Today. “We’ve more or less finalised the squad, but maybe we’ll add on a couple of others like Faris Ramli (injured) and a few other players who impress in the S.League in the next couple of months.

“It doesn’t matter how old they are, because age is just a number. As long as a player can perform on the pitch and achieve what I want, they’ll be donning the Singapore jersey.”

The 50-year-old plans to use the game against Bahrain, who are ranked 126th in the world and 33 places above Singapore, to get his side accustomed to the tough competition they will face in the Suzuki Cup, where the Lions have been drawn with defending champions Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.

“We’ll be going to take on Bahrain with our main objective to better prepare the players for the Suzuki Cup,” he said. “We’ll see how Bahrain play and we’ll plan for them tactically. We will keep it tight and make sure all the players understand our game plan.”

Singapore’s form has been inconsistent of late as they finished as the runners-up in the AYA Bank Cup in June before losing 3-2 to the Niigata University of Health and Welfare and 2-1 to Cambodia in an international friendly in July.

Despite this, Sundramoorthy believes that his side is on the verge of being ready for the Suzuki Cup in November.

“We did well in the recent AYA Bank Cup — we lost in extra-time, but it was a good start for me as a national coach,” he said. “We missed a lot of players during the training tour (in Japan), but it was important to get exposure for the other (fringe) players so that we could take a closer look at them.

“I’m just about three months into the job, but I think we’re more or less ready to go to the Suzuki Cup and do our best.”